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1) What really sparked my interest in this project . . . was meeting the survivors of this incident. They were all in their seventies and early eighties, people like Minnie Lee Langley and Wilson Hall and Arnett Goins, and I stayed there and interviewed them about their experiences as children being chased in the swamps right after New Years. It was so horrifying, I just felt it was a story that really needed to be told. (John Singleton, qtd. in Dauphin)

2) The film transcends racial divisions by bestowing equally hopeless dialogue on both sides. (Janet Maslin)

3) Singleton’s Florida was a place where whites and blacks shared a common culture of hard work and rural isolation, but it was also a land where even a single breach of racial etiquette could provoke unspeakable brutality and repression. (Raymond Arsenault)

4) I gasped when the white mob shot Aunt Sarah. Even the Sheriff seemed to disapprove of the fact that she as shot. Of course I didn't expect the white men to listen to what she was saying and go home, but it was a huge turning point in the movie. The white people crossed a line I never thought would be crossed. It is one thing to kill a black man whom they suspect has beaten up Mrs. Taylor, but another thing altogether to kill an innocent black woman that most of them have known since they were little boys. (Sarah Ballan, Lehigh University)

5) In the film, most of characters are recreated historical figures but Mann. Mann is a fictional hero that rescues surviving victims. Singleton explains the reason to put a fictional hero. "One difficulty," Singleton says, "arose from a need to find something positive in the black response. This led to recreations of historical characters being augmented by an invented figure played by Ving Rhames . . . who had discharge bonuses in their pockets and a newfound pride that led them to stand up to racism." (John Singleton, qtd. in Carr 96)

6) But if the movie were simply the story of this event, it would be no more than a sad record. What makes it more is the way it shows how racism breeds and feeds, and is taught by father to son. (Roger Ebert)

7) Minnie Lee noted that "All our houses [were destroyed]. . . they burned every house in that town." That included "Churches and everything, they left nothing. . . . Took all our chickens and cows and everything from us. . . . . We see the fire burning, when sister came up there to get us, that fire just leaping over the railroad. . . . Yeah, bloodhounds, we seen them. They had bloodhounds. . . ." (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

8) When asked why Americans should see this disturbing film, Mr. Voight pauses reflectively before responding. "If this film produces nothing but despair and anger, it would be a failure," he says finally. "The value of it, I see, is that this is a true aspect of our history. We dare not hide it, which in some way has been done." (Mensah Dean)

9) Such theorists have been decoding "whiteness" as a racialized category in cinematic and literary narratives. They see it coded most often as orderly, rational, controlled, civilized, and fully privileged, while "blackness" has been often coded as chaotic, irrational, out of control, savage, terrorizing, depriveleged or disadvantaged, and, thus, almost always dangerous (Keating 1995, 907)-- or coded as responsive, even submissive, to whiteness or white control. In film, when whites lose their coded characteristics -- and take on the characteristics coded as black and often, as female -- they must be brought back into control through particular kinds of sanctioned punishments. (Jamie Barlowe)

10) Put simply, how does one make a slick, Hollywood action-adventure-entertainment flick, with big box-office expectations, about one of history's ultimate nightmares: genocidal racism? . . . Singleton answers the challenge of his material by casting this true and horrific tale in the mold of the Hollywood revisionist Western, with its lone, gunslinging hero "aimin' to settle down" in a prosperous little town in need of his talents and abilities. This Western is revisionist because the hero is black; the cultural focus is on African America; the scene is the South in the 1920s; and the issue is lynching and mass murder. (Ed Guerrero)

11) Singleton's Florida was a place where whites and blacks shared a common culture of hard work and rural isolation, but it was also a land where even a single breach of racial etiquette could provoke unspeakable brutality and repression. Gregory Poirier's script allows both white and black characters to exhibit psychological complexity and individuality, and several characterizations, most notably John Wright (played by Jon Voight) and Sheriff Rob Walker (Michael Rooker), are subtle and sophisticated. (Raymond Arsenault)

12) Tracey Barone, the film's executive producer and president of Peters Entertainment, thinks that [meeting with the survivors] had a profound effect on Singleton. "When you hear these people and witness what they go through emotionally in order to recreate the story, it's a very powerful experience," she says by phone from Los Angeles. "I think that cemented something in him that was greater than just the telling of this movie. It was a commitment to these people." (Jordan Levin)

13) The money, of course, could never erase their memories, heal their scars, or replace the loss of family members and property. Nor could the money restore the sense of community and legacy that they were unable to pass down to their children. (Maxine D. Jones)

14) Consequently, Rosewood's spectacle of violence is decidedly not escapist entertainment in that mainstream-cinema sense. Violence, here, demands a regurgitation of barely hidden collective nightmares and guilty complicities, as well as a painful examination of the national conscience. These are all things we as a national audience don't like to face, even in the darkness and anonymity of our cinemas. These concerns are symbolized in one of the film's closing scenes, when the rabid Duke, proud of his crimes, forces his young son to look at a pile of black bodies awaiting disposal. Here, all of humanity's body counts are evoked, from Auschwitz, to Wounded Knee, to My Lai. Singleton's obvious point--as the child rejects his father's wretched path and runs away from home--is that hope resides in the next generation. (Ed Guerrero)

15) [Minnie Lee Langley] was the one on the 60 Minutes episode about Rosewood who tells Ed Bradley when he asks if she had any advice for the young children: "Never live in a place where there's a whole lot of white people, where you're surrounded, because if something happens, you'll be the first to go." Going to the funeral [Minnie's] gave me the strength to fight for my vision and what I felt the scope of this picture should be. (John Singleton, qtd. in Dauphin)

16) For many Americans in the late twentieth century, Rosewood became a defining event in American race relations during the era following World War I. (David R. Colburn)

17) According to Minnie Lee, Sylvester had a repeating Winchester rifle [or a shotgun] that he held over her shoulder and fired at the assailants as they approached. Minnie Lee said, "he was popping everyone he [saw], if they come in that door, he killed them." Arnett T. Goins, who was in the house, declared in 1993 that Sylvester Carrier was the dwelling's only black who did any firing. Minnie Lee was asked if many whites rushed the door. "Yeah, they done knocked that door down." Answering the question if the black man shot the whites, she replied, "Yeah, killing them, pile them up on the porch." Then "one of the men say let's us go, they done kill almost all us. And I heard the car crank, the truck they had, they crank it up, and they left." (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

18) In spite of the rhetoric and apparent national unity of the war years, however, all was not well within the fabric of American society. By fostering unity, the patriotic fervor of the war years also glossed over and suppressed difference. Moreover, despite government efforts to bring all Americans together in the struggle against German barbarism and its anti-democratic institutions, government and private sector leaders did almost nothing to offset racism and discrimination in American society or to include African Americans in war mobilization. The superiority of the American way of life was not so obvious if one looked below the surface and especially if one talked to black Americans. Racial and ethnic tensions were widespread, and no amount of rhetoric could hide or diminish them. (David R. Colburn)

19) Rosewood, putting aside all accusations of “going Hollywood,” and the caricature of some of the main characters (especially the Sheriff), represents what is positive about learning about history through film. The most astute scholar can read all sorts of data and primary and secondary sources about the realities of Jim Crow South but will still feel as if punched in the chest by some of the gut-wrenching images Rosewood presents. One can’t help but to research this topic in an effort to find out how much of what the film depicts actually happened. (Patrick O'Brien, Lehigh University)

20) Autonomy, choice, and resistance are exercised within a framework of social structures shaped by history. (Gregory Streich)

21) Rosewood, like the events that occurred throughout the South and the nation, was a tragedy, and revealed the powerful commitment to racial exception in a nation committed to democracy and freedom. (R. Thomas Dye)

22) If historical films serve an important historical purpose, they do so not because they accurately reproduce the details of the past in ways that satisfy specialists; few do. Instead, films serve history by reminding audiences ignorant of, indifferent, and increasingly even hostile to considerations of past events, of the way people not unlike themselves lived in other times. (Cottrol and Diamond)

23) Singleton says that economic tension is what led to the riot. Florida, in early 1900s, was a state where a lot of Hispanics, Blacks, and Whites migrated to vie "for employment in the lumber and turpentine business." In this case, Rosewood was a prosperous black town whereas Sumner, a white town, was not doing as well as Rosewood. "You had a lot of whites thinking, 'Well, if I'm not better than nigger, what am I better than?'" (John Singleton, qtd. in Carr 95)

24) A spokesman for blacks, the New York Age, compared the racial discord in Chicago in 1919 with that in Rosewood: "In Chicago . . . the Negro was not afraid to fight back and when the fight was over he felt that he had something pretty near a fair chance before the law. Those are two conditions which the suffocating, damning atmosphere of the South does not permit." The Age mentioned that "the newspapers this week carry the name of a Florida riot, the culmination of a series of lynchings, which included men not even alleged to have committed any crime. In this riot a whole Negro community has been wiped out, their homes and their churches destroyed by fire, and the Negroes themselves are hiding in the woods like hunted animals." (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

25) As events in Chicago and East St. Louis made clear, black citizens had changed their attitude about white violence and intimidation. No longer content to sit quietly by while mobs stormed their communities and destroyed their property, blacks began to defend themselves against the mounting violence. Claude McKay paid tribute to this militant "New Negro" in a poem, "If We Must Die," written during the epidemic of race riots that were sweeping the country in 1919: "If we must die, let it not be like hogs / Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, / While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, / Making their mock at our accursed lot. / If we must die, O let us nobly die, / So that our precious blood may not be shed / In vain; then even the monsters we defy / Shall be constrained to honor us though dead! / O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe! / Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, / And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow! / What though before us lies the open grave? / Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack, / Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!" (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

26) It was a family secret that was stirred that spring of 1982, a secret that had been kept for sixty years by a family that included everyone touched by Rosewood, black and white, children and grandchildren, the living and the dead. Over the better course of the century, through twelve presidents, from Warren Harding to Ronald Reagan, the whites of Levy County, as well as the blacks who had fled, had kept their secret among themselves, some out of fear, some out of shame, and all, as the years went by, with the rooted belief that the thing was behind them, done with, a bad memory at worst and at best simply something to be forgotten. (Michael D’Orso 48)

27) The story of Rosewood is more than a simple story of racial violence in one small town. It represents an era when the law’s failure and white envy combined to make black life precarious. That history has been obscured, not only for the town of Rosewood but for similar communities in other states. (Cottrol and Diamond)

28) Since 1969, I have been studying how Americans remember their past, especially their racial past. Sometimes audiences or readers ask, “Why do you insist on dredging up the abominations in our past?” About sundown towns in particular, some people have suggested that we might be happier and better off not knowing about them … But I concluded that there were several reasons why the sad story of sundown towns should not be kept out of view. First – and most basically – it happened. Our country did do that. Surely the fact that since about 1890, thousands of towns across the United States kept out African Americans, while others excluded Jewish, Chinese, Japanese, Native, or Mexican Americans, is worth knowing. So is the panoply of methods whites employed to accomplish this end … It is also true that the powers that be don’t want us to learn about their policy of exclusion and have sometimes tried to suppress the knowledge. The truth about sundown towns implicates the powers that be. The role played by government regarding race relations can hardly be characterized as benign or even race-neutral … our governments openly favored white supremacy and helped to create and maintain all-white communities. (James Loewen 14-15)

29) It appears that among those coming from Gainesville were several members of the Ku Klux Klan, who had held a major rally in Gainesville on January 1, that was announced in the Gainesville Sun. A large crowd, including some Northern tourists, watched as an estimated one hundred Klansmen in full regalia paraded through downtown Gainesville. The white-clad figures carried banners proclaiming their opposition to bootleggers, gamblers, and cheating lawyers. One placard declared, "First And Always--Protect Womanhood." The KKK motorcade disappeared into Gainesville's black section only to emerge at the square an hour later. Then the hooded principals dispersed into the night. (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

30) Even those charged with remembering such events – the people who write history – even they had forgotten about Rosewood. There was no mention of it in any book on Florida’s past, no record in any account of the region’s racial relations. It was as if the historians, like the families themselves, had chosen to leave Rosewood behind, keeping the secret by joining the silence. (Michael D’Orso 48)

31) “Based on a true story” -- How many times have we heard that? I believe the public likes to know that somehow what they are watching has some link to the truth. I believe Aristotle says something about the truth of all stories. Literature is reshaped like the sculptor shapes stone. (Ed Tabor, Lehigh University)

32) On the contrary, all this residential exclusion is bad for our nation. In fact, residential segregation is one reason race continues to be such a problem in America. But race really isn’t the problem. Exclusion is the problem. The ghetto – with all its pathologies – isn’t the problem; the elite sundown suburb – seemingly devoid of social difficulties – is the problem. Exclusion is the problem. As soon as we realize that the problem in America is white supremacy, rather than black existence or black inferiority, then it becomes clear that sundown towns and suburbs are an intensification of the problem, not a solution to it. So long as racial inequality is encoded in the most basic single fact in our society – where one can live – the United States will face continuing racial tension, if not overt conflict. (James Loewen 17)

33) No longer confined to the region south of the Mason Dixon line, racial violence became a national epidemic. (R. Thomas Dye)

34) Neither skin color in itself, nor aesthetics, nor physical characteristics explain racism. History does. Events and processes in American history from the time of slavery to the present explain why we think it “natural” to differentiate based on skin color. (James Loewen 137-38)

35) What gives us that extra jolt of unease in Rosewood, however, is the subtle current of repressed history running through the film, no matter how commercially masked, that resonates with the Holocaust, the evils of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, or the genocide/countergenocide of the Hutu/Tutsi disaster in Rwanda. That is to say, the film forces us to recognize all of that seething fear and hatred reserved for the other in the planetary political unconscious, waiting to explode in our collective faces at the next economic downturn, the next instance of racial scapegoating, or the next spell of "war fever" and communal suicide. At the height of the film's action, the disturbing sight of black men and women hanging from trees and telephone poles, highlighted by the flames of their burning community, seamlessly merges with those old Life, Jet, and archival photographs of real lynchings in America's historical gallery of horrors. Consequently, Rosewood's spectacle of violence is decidedly not escapist entertainment in that mainstream-cinema sense. Violence, here, demands a regurgitation of barely hidden collective nightmares and guilty complicities, as well as a painful examination of the national conscience. (Ed Guerrero)

36) By definition, docudrama is not documentary, so the validity of its view of history, its ‘cash value’ for its audience, remains problematic. (Steve Lipkin)

37) After watching this movie, there were a few things I was struck by. Even sitting here after the movie has ended, I feel haunted by the character of Sheriff Walker. It was terrifying to watch a man with a (very) small spark of goodness get trampled and snuffed out by the overwhelming vicious power of a lynch mob. The mob mentality is one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen (thankfully only in movies), and I think Singleton does a great job of portraying the true capability and horror of the lynch mob. Sheriff Walker seems to be the one voice of measurable reason (outside of Wright), and it seems significant that he is screaming to be heard, and, more often than not, drowned out and overpowered. His words have little to no effect on the mob, and he seems to be straining to hold on to what little power he has. I also think the Sheriff is an important foil character to John Wright. They both know what’s happening is wrong, but the Sheriff represents the hopelessness of the everyman. When you’re being overpowered by fifteen other blood-thirsty, strong, vicious men, what can a single man do? Not everyone can be the hero that men like Wright or Schindler represent. The Sheriff represents the countless others who feel helpless and hopeless, and, tragically, get quite literally swept up by the mob. (Katherine Prosswimmer, Lehigh University)

38) In telling the story we have tried . . . to not only re-create it as truthfully as possible, but to present it in a balanced light. The ultimate message is a hopeful one. (Tracey Barone, qtd. in Levin)

39) At least the violence I'm showing has a point. Only a few people in this movie get killed on screen, but it's real, it's emotional violence. You feel it. (John Singleton, qtd. in Levin)

40) Historical legacies embedded in the social structures of the present cannot be wished away or denied. Thus, we must be wary of arguments that we should forget the past, since they ask us to engage in such a denial. (Gregory Streich)

41) But the historical reality is that Rosewood constituted but one such event in an era of extraordinary racial anxiety and conflict. Why had American race relations turned so violent in this particular period? And why did these developments lead to the destruction at Rosewood and to racial violence in other areas of Florida? (David R. Colburn)

42) "The most powerful thing this movie has going for it is that it's true," screenwriter Greg Poirier says. "So it was really important to stick as closely as possible to the real thing, so people don't have that out of saying, 'Oh, they made a lot of it up, it wasn't that bad.'" (Jordan Levin)

43) In 1920 Rosewood had three churches, a train station, a large one-room black masonic hall, and a black school. There were several unpainted plank wood two-story homes and perhaps a dozen two-room homes that often included a lean-to or a half-roofed room. There were also a number of small one-room shanties, some of them unoccupied. (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

44) In the very end of the interview, John Singleton says it is his responsibility to make a motion picture about the incident and let people know about it, and the Rosewood massacre is just one of many disasters Blacks had to undergo. "It's like the Holocaust. You can never forget. Look at all those church bombings. Look at Susan Smith. She used a black man as a scapegoat for murdering her children. Look at that guy in Boston who murdered his wife and said a black guy in Roxbury did it. Everybody, every black face, was a suspect. Everyone was guity." (John Singleton, qtd. in Carr 97)

45) Rosewood ventures into uncomfortable territory by showing a piece of inhumanity not in Germany, South Africa, or Bosnia, but in our own history. (Jordan Levin)

46) Docudramas avoid a major, potential deception of reality TV forms because their modes of presentation and the conditions of their reception emphasize their status as works of narrative fiction. What they may assert because they are ‘based on’ fact is more problematic. (Steve Lipkin)

47) Both the real Carrier and his altered cinematic counterpart provide an important reminder of a time when the willingness and ability of African Americans to resist mob violence provided the only real impediment to the ever-present rule of Judge Lynch. (Cottrol and Diamond)

48) That is to say, the film forces us to recognize all of that seething fear and hatred reserved for the other in the planetary political unconscious, waiting to explode in our collective faces at the next economic downturn, the next instance of racial scapegoating, or the next spell of “war fever” and communal suicide. (Ed Guerrero)

49) This clumsy and ill-conceived tribute to avenging black manhood all but destroys the credibility of the film, robbing the real-life heroes of Rosewood of much of their dignity and historical agency. (Raymond Arsenault)

50) I really enjoy the character of the Sheriff. He is clearly caught in a moral dilemma, knowing he has to do the right thing but being faced with adversity in the sense of a mob of angry, drunk, white men staring back at him. He tries to help some of the black townspeople on several occasions and always seems to give them the benefit of the doubt. (Harrison Lawrence, Lehigh University)

51) Mr. Singleton said that in making Rosewood, he had been especially influenced by Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List. Mr. Singleton went so far as to enlist John Williams, who composed the music for the Spielberg film, to write the score for Rosewood. "I love the way Spielberg structured his scenes and the way he used music and how he didn't make his antagonists one-dimensional," he said. "Even the Ralph Fiennes Nazi character was deeper, three-dimensional. And I didn't want to make the white characters all fire-breathing racists and the black characters holier-than-thou, just singing in church and not shooting back when they're shot at." (John Singleton, qtd. in Weinraub)

52) For some reason, perhaps because Singleton and his colleagues do not believe that the real-life drama of Rosewood is sensational enough to sustain a Hollywood blockbuster, fictionalization and hyperbole dominate the film, especially during the final hour. Far too much of the plot dwells on invented characters such as Mr. Mann (Ving Rhames), a World War I veteran and black superhero. In a cartoon-like fantasy, Mann makes a miraculous escape from a lynch mob, mounts a superhorse that somehow outraces a speeding train, and almost singlehandedly saves the women and children of Rosewood, including a young schoolteacher who falls in love with him. This clumsy and ill-conceived tribute to avenging black manhood all but destroys the credibility of the film, robbing the real-life heroes of Rosewood of much of their dignity and historical agency. (Raymond Arsenault)

53) There were white men who declined to participate in the manhunt. One was the town barber of Cedar Key. Another resident of the town refused even to loan his gun to anyone. He did not want to "have his hands wet with blood," which seemed to be the clear intention of these white residents. (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

54) There’s a spine-tingling sense of history hovering over this movie, as if the ghosts of Rosewood are peering hopefully around the palmettos. (Jordan Levin)

55) The story of Rosewood is more than a simple story of racial violence in one small town. It represents an era when the law's failure and white envy combined to make black life precarious. That history has been obscured, not only for the town of Rosewood but for similar communities in other states. By bringing this history to light in a popular vehicle, John Singleton has done much to enhance the public's historical education.
(Cottrol and Diamond)

56) While the film makes visible the negative consequences of white supremacy and white privilege, that is not its focus; its "I" is that of the black characters, another departure from almost mainstream Hollywood film. (Jamie Barlowe)

57) Rosewood finds, in a shameful bygone moment, sources of pride for contemporary audiences. There are worse things to do with the past. (Richard Shickel)

58) Ironically, in forsaking realism he [the director, Singleton] has turned an extraordinary event into an ordinary film, demonstrating once again that romantic mythmaking, however well intentioned, is detrimental to the cause of racial justice and interracial understanding. (Raymond Arsenault)

59) He [Singleton] sees the movie as the final vindicating step in a series redressing all those years of silence. (Jordan Levin)

60) Justice in the present requires us to remember historical injustices and recognize how they continue to shape identities and structures in the present. (Gregory Streich)

61) [Singleton] said that the depiction of blacks in films remained troubling, and that some of the fault rested with black filmmakers. "It's commerce, everything is commerce," he said. "I mean there are black filmmakers trying to get paid just like white filmmakers. And not everybody comes to the table in a certain way in which they feel they have a responsibility to do anything except make a profit." (John Singleton, qtd. in Weinraub)

62) The scenes of burning and horrific torture certainly lead me to think of the Nazis and Kristallnacht. Things like this don’t just happen in fascist countries. Black residents of Rosewood, much like the Jews, become the scapegoat for all the crimes of the world. (Ed Tabor, Lehigh University)

63) A few out-of-state journals were equally guilty of distorting the news. The Chicago Defender, a black newspaper, ran a story by Eugene Brown, who filed his account from Tallahassee. Brown based his exaggerated report on what he was told from an on-the-scene informant. Supposedly, Ted Cole, an ex-soldier from Chicago had just come to Rosewood, and it was he who rallied the blacks to resist the attack on the Carrier house. According to Brown, the veteran used combat skills acquired in World War I to good effect, managing the stand-off exchange between blacks and whites. The reporter also claimed that nineteen people were killed. (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

64) They weren’t killing strangers, they were killing people they knew, that they saw daily. We can look at Bosnia and Rwanda to find contemporary echoes of genocidal rage. (Ann Ogidi)

65) We live in the same country that existed seventy-three years ago. . . . If white men are still burning down churches in the South on a regular basis, then I don’t really think things have changed that much. (John Singleton, qtd in Levin)

66) I was dumbfounded when Mrs. Taylor ran outside her house screaming that a "nigger" had beaten her up when in reality it was her white lover. You see her black nannies sitting silently in horror as they listen to her cries for help. They know it is better to keep their mouths shut because society will believe the white woman over the black woman. Mrs. Taylor makes me sick. She is monstrous. She makes herself more and more hysterical as she feeds off of her own lies and gets defensive when the townspeople ask her what really happened. Why does she feel the need to lie? Is she terrified of what her husband will do to her if she told people the truth? (Sarah Ballan, Lehigh University)

67) According to Davis, it was a white man who visited Fannie Taylor that New Year's morning. Never identified by name, he supposedly worked for the Sea Board Air Line railroad. He got off the train and was seen entering the Taylor house by Sarah Carrier and her granddaughter Philomena. Sarah Carrier was employed by Fannie Taylor on a weekly basis to do her washing and ironing. On occasion but not that day Sarah took her youngest son and her grandson, Arnett Turner Goins, with her to stack wood for the Taylor household. She worked for other white employers as well. That morning the woman and the young girl had, as usual, walked from Rosewood and arrived at the same time that the white man entered the Taylor house. (Present day family members, including Arnett Turner Goins, declare that Sarah Carrier remembered having seen the same man visit Fannie Taylor on several previous occasions.) The white visitor remained a while, reemerged, and left sometime before twelve o'clock. It is not known if James Taylor came home for breakfast, but about noon he returned home (perhaps for lunch) and his wife told him that a black man had assaulted her. . . . Some African Americans in the area contended privately at the time, even as black descendants contend publicly today, that the man who visited Fannie Taylor was her white lover. For some reason they quarreled, and after physically abusing her, the man left. Then the white woman protected herself by fabricating the story of being attacked by a black man. (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

68) Duke Purdy, one the most despicable characters in the film, takes the night of the burning to give his son a lesson in lynching. A horrifying scene. I’m speechless for this. (Ed Tabor, Lehigh University)

69) Surprisingly, Mr. Singleton said that finding actors, black or white, for Rosewood was not especially easy. "Black and white actors were afraid because of the subject matter and because we didn't have a whole lot of money, " he said. "On the whole, people in this town don't like to make too much of a wave and are not inclined to do anything of depth." (John Singleton, qtd. in Weinraub)

70) When stories that victims tell become historical records, they raise further questions about whose stories are told and how. (Steve Lipkin)

71) It is in the depiction of that lynch fever that Singleton's direction provides its greatest value. Rosewood captures the culture of the lynch mob in a way few others, popular or scholarly, have been able to do. The sheer barbarity of the enterprise, its physical cruelty, is vividly on display. Most harrowing is the scene of the white father who drags his reluctant son to participate in a lynching as a kind of perverted rite of passage. (Cottrol and Diamond)

72) The quote that was foremost in my mind as I sat down to watch the fact-based Rosewood came from director John Singleton: "I am concerned about absolute historical accuracy to an extent, but I am really more worried about being truthful to the essence of what happened at Rosewood... I am making a movie that people will respond to." (James Berardinelli)

73) What appealed to me was that these people had no voice, there were no grave sites, no records, very little about what happened. It was a chance to make a contemporary movie. I didn’t want to make a popcorn movie. (John Singleton, qtd in Weintraub)

74) Singleton is at his best, however, not in creating the legend of the superheroic Mann but in his depiction of the genuine courage of actual blacks forced to defend home and family from the inhuman fury of the mob. Sylvester Carrier defends most of his family, preventing their murder. In the film, he successfully escapes the mob. The real story had a less happy ending: Carrier was reportedly killed in Rosewood, but he did save his family through armed resistance.
(Cottrol and Diamond)

75) Shot on location near the central Florida town of Sanford, Rosewood offers a carefully crafted (with the exception of an anachronistic pine tree farm and a spring garden blooming in January) and visually stunning reproduction of life and labor in the early-twentieth-century Jim Crow South. Drawing on various accounts of the Rosewood massacre and relying heavily on the technical advice of Arnett Doctor, the son of a Rosewood survivor, Singleton makes an honest effort to re-create both the horror of white supremacist rage and the matter-of- fact calmness that characterized most racial interaction. (Raymond Arsenault)

76) For a long time I've had a large amount of reservations about the Southern portion of the United states because i felt that a lot of the horror and despair that our people experienced was situated in the South. Growing up in the West, basically my attitude was just F' the south. I'll never do a movie there, I don't want to have anything to do with it. Meeting these people and doing this film, helped me deal with that attitude. Now I want to do a lot of films in the South because I think it's something people need to talk about. (John Singleton, qtd. in Dauphin)

77) As a national audience, both cinematic and televisual, we have become quite addicted and inured to the graphic verisimilitude of action-adventure violence as entertainment. (Ed Guerrero)

78) Y'all getup, they're shooting. . . . we didn't have time to put any clothes on. We just jumped up and ran out of the house and took off into the woods going toward Wylly. (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

79) Ironically, in forsaking realism he has turned an extraordinary event into an ordinary film, demonstrating once again that romantic mythmaking, however well intentioned, is detrimental to the cause of racial justice and interracial understanding. After decades of disrespectful silence, the people of Rosewood deserve better. (Raymond Arsenault)

80) While identities must be de-essentialized, they cannot be de-historicized. (Gregory Streich)

81) What actually happened to Fanny Taylor on that cold New Year’s morning will remain forever sealed in history, but the events that followed her alleged attack will not. (David R. Colburn)

82) One of the most chilling aspects of the Rosewood saga is the way public knowledge of the incident was buried. For decades the survivors refused to talk about what had happened. . . . But underlying guilt and a reluctance to acknowledge such a flagrant piece of racism’s violent history also kept it hidden. (Jordan Levin)

83) Those who survived Rosewood were held prisoner by their memories of that week of terror. Rosewood haunted them and refused to let go and many of them suffered in silence. It was a subject too painful to discuss for those who survived it and “a mistake” not to for many of their sons and daughters. (Maxine D. Jones)

84) The film is disturbing for other reasons, to do with the commercial exploitation of history, how a community’s experience is reduced to a commodity to be packaged and sold to your local multiplex (Ann Ogidi)

85) The hero of “Rosewood” is pure cowboy: a loner, home from the war, looking to settle down to a peaceful life if only his neighbors didn’t desperately need his help. But they do. (Janet Maslin)

86) I had a very deep -- I wouldn’t call it fear -- but a deep contempt for the South, because I felt that so much of the horror and evil that black people have faced in this country is rooted here. . . . So in some ways this is my way of dealing with the whole thing. (John Singleton, qtd in Levin)

87) Among scholars the episode was either unknown or thought to merit only a brief reference, as in George Brown Tindall's The Emergence of the New South, 1913-1945 (1967), which summarizes the Rosewood tragedy in one line. This neglect ended in 1982 when Gary Moore, an investigative reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, wrote a feature story on Rosewood. (Raymond Arsenault)

88) History has told us that unless you address an inequity, it is bound to repeat itself. Because if you allow something like this to pass, then what you are saying in essence is justice is not constant. And whatever was wrong in 1923 in Rosewood is wrong in 1996 (Arnett Doctor, qtd in Levin)

89) While there were many different types of lynchings, lynch mobs typically worked to ensure that black audiences were aware of the strength of white supremacy and the costs of violating the boundaries of the racial order; at the same time, they wanted to reinforce images of white men as chivalrous protectors of white women. (Jonathan Markovitz)

90) Many critics see Mann’s heroics . . . as diminishing the real-life heroics of those killed in Rosewood, as well as those who survived and escaped to Gainesville. But Singleton, his scriptwriter Gregory Poirier, his cinematographer Jensen, and his carefully chosen crew of actors viewed this film as not only the re-creation of an actual historical event, but also as part of film history. (Jamie Barlowe)

91) It’s one thing for Americans to watch Schindler’s List, or films about the wars in Bosnia and Chechnya. Horrible as those stories are, they didn’t happen here, and distances can provide a certain insulation. But there’s no way Americans can distance themselves from John Singleton’s Rosewood. (Jay Carr)

92) There had been something very eerie about this project. A stillness to it, not so much in terms of us suddenly being there with them in Rosewood but as if the ancestors have been here with us. (Ving Rhames qtd in Dauphin)

93) Doubtless, the key creative divergences from fact in Rosewood owe much to commercial considerations. (Charles Flowers)

94) Singleton also admirably resists the temptation to make his and history’s white southerners one-dimensional. . . . These individuals are not anachronistically made into late twentieth-century liberals; instead, Singleton wisely allows them to be men and women who are shaped by the confining racial sensibilities of their time and place but who also at critical moments manage to transcend those limitations. (Cottrol & Diamond)

95) Singleton’s intertextual dialogue is with history, with the continuing fear and despair he felt in the 1990s accounts by the survivors of Rosewood, and with a film history which has fully excluded black heroes. (Jamie Barlowe)

96) Almost as bad as the atrocity itself was the silence that surrounded it for decades. (Jay Carr)

97) Nobody knows how many died, because the people of Rosewood scattered, never to come together again. Bodies may still lie in the scrubby woods or Suwanee River Swamp. (Richard Newman)

98) What had happened to the public’s commitment to make the world “safe for democracy”? black citizens asked. And why, after many blacks had fought overseas and others had contributed to the war effort at home, had white citizens turned against them in such fury? (David R. Colburn)

99) The obvious fate for Mann is that he will be accused of the rape. The auction scene, which is a play on the American dream of owning land, is expertly juxtaposed with the rape accusation. This scene starts out as a scene of black empowerment (at least through monetary means) but becomes a hopeless farce as the news of the rape arrives. Money doesn’t matter much in the face of the possible charges. (Ed Tabor, Lehigh University)

100) How the past is remembered and represented has powerful consequences for our current identities and perceptions. (Gregory Streich)

101) Through its created black hero, the story of racial injustice told in Rosewood is the least susceptible of these three films to the problem of appropriation. Asking whose story receives dramatic attention in Ghosts [of Mississippi] and Amistad points us toward how the narratives of Myrlie Evers and Cinque become, in these docudramatic versions, the stories of their white agents. (Steve Lipkin)

102) Lynching was always intended as a metaphor for, or a way to understand, race relations. (Jonathan Markovitz)

103) The white mob now acted without restraint. It is unknown what attempts Sheriff Walker made to stop the angry whites or what assistance Sheriff Ramsey was able to render. In any case, the mob burned the Carrier home so that "nothing but ashes was [sic] left to tell the tale of the gun fight." They next burned five more houses and a church in the black section. Lexie Gordon, about fifty, a black woman with a light complexion who had hidden under her house, fled when it was set on fire. She sought escape by running toward a clump of bushes in the rear of the blazing building, but was shot to death. Lexie Gordon became the sixth victim. (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

104) Because history is both interpreted and remembered, our interpretations differ depending on whether our social group was/is a beneficiary or recipient of historical injustice, discrimination, and oppression. (Gregory Streich)

105) But more than homes and furniture had gone up in smoke. A legacy, as well as hopes and dreams, had disappeared also. (Maxine D. Jones)

106) I'm having a really hard time watching this movie. It is extremely graphic. (Sarah Ballan, Lehigh University)

107) The white community was practically unanimous in its belief that the man who assaulted Fannie Taylor was black. That view was not challenged in contemporary accounts, but a number of blacks whose families were involved in the trouble disagree with the white version of events. (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

108) Given the historical legacies of inequality that shape our present conditions, the right to forget where we came from is too easily connected to the evasion of responsibility for rectifying these inequalities and too easily misappropriated by those who argue that we should forget the injustices of the past. (Gregory Streich)

109) There is but one way to know the truth, and that is not a golden one. It is fraught with toil and sacrifice and perhaps ridicule. The seeker of truth must be fearless, he must not be afraid to enter the innermost holies of holies, and to tear down the veils of superstition that hang about any human and so-called divine institution. It is the truth that makes men free. If the truth tears down every church and government under the sun, let the truth be known and this truth only will be known when men cease to swallow the capsules of ancient doctors of divinities and politics; and when men begin to seek the truth in the records of history, politics, religion, and science. (Charles Austin Beard, quoted in “Documented History”)

110) According to Fannie Taylor's version of events, a black male came on foot to her house that morning and knocked. When she opened the door the man proceeded to "assault" her. From most accounts the intruder did not consummate the act of rape, although he beat her about the head and face. Some versions of the event claimed that she was both raped and robbed. Fannie Taylor's cries for help attracted the attention of neighbors, and her assailant fled, supposedly headed south for Gulf Hammock, a dense expanse of swamps covered with jungle-growth vines, palmettoes, and forests. Although Fannie Taylor was not seriously injured and was able to describe what happened, the shock of the assault rendered her unconscious for several hours. Because no one ever disputed that some kind of physical attack took place, the incident was never referred to as an "alleged attack”. . . . Fannie Taylor's version of the assault was the one accepted by the white community of Sumner, and the news spread rapidly. (A Documented History of the Massacre which occurred at Rosewood, Florida, in January 1923)

111) Remembering and rectifying historical injustices requires the political mobilization of survivors and descendants, and the mobilization of alternative memories and interpretations of the past. (Gregory Streich)

112) Southern culture had been constructed around a set of mores and values which placed white women at its center and in which the purity of their conduct and their manners represented the refinement of that culture. An attack on women not only represented a violation of the South’s foremost taboo, but it also threatened to dismantle the very nature of southern society. (David Colburn)