Proposal seeks compensation for descendants of Ocoee Election Day violence

click to enlarge Photo via Florida History ProjectJulius "July" Perry, an Ocoee resident, was lynched in Orlando by a white mob after encouraging his African American neighbors to vote. A pair of bills seeking compensation for descendants of the 1920 Election Day race riots in Ocoee will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.The measures (SB 1262, SB 1264), sponsored by Orlando Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy, would set aside $25 million to create the Ocoee Election Day Riots Descendant Compensation Trust Fund within the Department of Legal Affairs. Up to $150,000 would be available for direct descendants of each person "killed, injured, or otherwise victimized" by the 1920 violence, which happened after a black man attempted to vote in the Central Florida community.Based on differing reports, between three and 60 African Americans died resulting from the violence on November 2-3, 1920, acording to a Senate staff analysis of the legislation. In the days following this violence, the remaining African-American residents fled Ocoee, leaving their homes and property, the analysis adds.The bill lays out requirements for applicants to prove their relationship to an Ocoee victim. The 1994 action also set up the Rosewood Family Scholarship Fund, which awarded up to $4,000 for tuition to eligible Florida students, with preference given to direct descendants of Rosewood families.State Rep. Kamia Brown, D-Ocoee, has filed House legislation similar to Bracys, which would also gives qualified businesses in areas affected by the riots priority under the Black Business Loan Program.

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