OCOEE, Fla. – It’s been 100 years since the Ocoee Massacre.
City and county leaders organized a memorial ceremony to recognize the victims and descendants of the killings which drove the black community out of Ocoee.
On Nov. 2, 1920, a black man from Ocoee, Florida, went out to cast his ballot in the presidential election but was turned away.
To prevent him from voting he was threatened and intimidated with violence.
In an effort to resolve the incident he went to his friend Julius “July” Perry’s home to ask for counsel.
A mob of white men lynched Perry, set fire to homes in the black community, and forced families out of the city.
A hundred years after the deadliest Election Day community members and faith leaders gathered in remembrance of victims and descendants of the massacre.
Kenneth Thompson is a descendant of victims killed during the massacre and was in attendance for the ceremony.
“If you don’t reveal it has a tendency to repeat itself, we don’t want this history repeated,” Thompson said.
Thompson joined more than 50 people who walked side by side with candles in hand to reflect and acknowledge the atrocity.
“I’m just privileged to just take a small part along with my family, this significant and relevant event that is taking place right now,” Thompson said.
The names of 252 victims affected by the horror were read aloud. Lawmakers participated in the memorial ceremony and gave remarks about the community’s commitment to repair the damage caused.