CINEMA: SHADOWS FROM THE PAST

JOHN SINGLETON GIVES NEW LIFE TO THE BURIED STORY OF A BLACK TOWN VICIOUSLY DESTROYED BY WHITES

More than 70 years ago, two tiny hamlets stood virtually side by side at the edge of the central Florida swamps. One of them, Sumner, was populated completely by whites. The other, Rosewood, more prosperous and civilized, was almost entirely black. During the first week of 1923, the citizens of the former community rose up against the latter, razing most of it, killing many of its residents and driving off the rest of them. In a matter of days, a ghost town was created.

Even in an era when lynchings were commonplace in the South, this genocidal frenzy was astonishing in...

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