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Yesterday, This Was Home: The Ocoee Massacre of 1920

Special exhibition on display through April 4, 2021

The 1920 Ocoee Massacre in Orange County, Florida, remains the largest incident of voting-day violence in United States history.

Events unfolded on Election Day 1920, when Mose Norman, a black U.S. citizen, attempted to exercise his legal right to vote in Ocoee and was turned away from the polls. That evening, a mob of armed white men came to the home of his friend, July Perry, in an effort to locate Norman. Shooting ensued. Perry was captured and eventually lynched. An unknown number of African American citizens were murdered, and their homes and community were burned to the ground. Most of the black population of Ocoee fled, never to return.

This landmark exhibition by the Orange County Regional History Center marks the 100-year remembrance of the Ocoee Massacre. The exhibition explores not only this horrific time in our community’s history but also historical and recent incidents of racism, hatred, and terror, some right here at home.

The content will encourage reflection on a century of social transformation, the power of perspective, and the importance of exercising the right to vote, and will ask what lessons history can inspire for moving forward.

To promote safe distancing, we have implemented new ticketing procedures for this special exhibition. For the run of the exhibition, we will have extended operating hours to create a safe viewing experience for a greater number of people, opening two hours earlier on Sundays at 10 a.m.

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Be a part of creating access to this story!

The History Center wants to make this story known and available to everyone, especially Florida’s educators, even after our physical exhibition has closed. An intriguing, digital storytelling website would allow us to share our unparalleled research collection, which includes dozens of oral histories with survivors and decedents of the massacre, artifacts and images, and hundreds of primary sources. This includes our interactive land deed map below!

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1920 Ocoee Land Ownership Map

Due to increasing interest, the History Center has made our interactive land deed map available outside of the exhibition so that all may learn about this deeply important aspect of this story.

Explore our map!

Exhibition programming

Coffee with a Curator
Sunday, October 4, 2020 (view recording)
Saturday, January 9, 2021

Celebrating Black Culture: Music, Storytelling, and Poetry (view recording)
Evolution of Music
Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Legacy of Ocoee: A Panel Discussion (view recording)
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Lunch & Learn: Crafting the Ocoee Exhibition (view recording)
Friday, November 6, 2020

The Destruction of Rosewood (view recording)
Sunday, November 15, 2020

Family Days: Growing a Better Tomorrow
Saturday, November 21, 2020
Saturday, February 6, 2021

Celebrating Black Culture: Music, Storytelling, and Poetry
Storytelling & Poetry (view recording) 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Programming supported by