'We must not forget': Historical marker unveiled to honor Ocoee race riot victims

July Perry among dozens killed during 1920 massacre

By Ezzy Castro - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - City of Orlando and Orange County officials gathered on Friday to honor Ocoee Massacre victim July Perry.

Perry was a businessman, a landowner and an African American voting rights activist in the 20th century.

Perry's death occurred after his friend, Mose Norman, a black farmer, tried to vote in Ocoee, but was turned away. That's when a mob of white men ambushed Perry's home, believing Norman had taken refuge there on Nov. 2, 1920.

Perry killed two men while protecting his home.

The back of the historical marker to honor July Perry, who was killed during the 1920 Ocoee massacre. (Image: Orange County Regional History Center)

The next morning, Perry was lynched near downtown Orlando. His death marked one of the nation's worst incidents of racial violence.

"Freedom has always been an expensive thing. History is fit testimony that freedom is rarely gained without sacrifice and self denial," Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said. "We must not forget the sacrifice of July Perry, his family and other African Americans killed in this horrific massacre as we stand here today to honor their memory."

Perry's historical marker is located outside the Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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