Chapter 18: Newspaper and Journal Coverage

In 1920, area newspapers framed the Ocoee Massacre in language that claimed “there is no trouble here.” Their coverage of the arson and murder that destroyed Black Ocoee placed the blame on a few, enraged, unnamed “outsiders” who descended on the town and engaged in hours-long violence against Black men, women, and children. In the words of one White observer, community leaders had to wait for the violence to play itself out before order could be restored. Although Orange County convened a Grand Jury, no one was arrested for the violence perpetrated against Black families or for the lynching of July Perry. Local newspaper editors quickly assured White Floridians and the nation that order had been restored, that Black laborers were ready to return to work, and that white supremacy was fully functioning.

In 2020, newspaper stories explored the racial context of the Ocoee Massacre and highlighted the violence perpetrated against Black citizens. They tied the violence to the inequities of Florida’s disfranchising laws. While correctly condemning the use of the poll tax to limit access to the ballot, news coverage did not invite conversations on current election laws, inherently suggesting equitable access to the ballot in the 21st century.

Note: Access to some newspaper articles is limited to subscribers.

Local Coverage

Click Orlando: “Ocoee Massacre: City marks 100 years since deadly Election Day” (November 2, 2020)

Nicholson Student Media, UCF: “UCF students and faculty reflect on the history of the Ocoee Massacre and voting” (November 3, 2020)

Orange Observer: “Truth and Reconciliation of the 1920 Ocoee Massacre” (October 28, 2020)

Orlando Sentinel (NOTE: Subscription req): “100 years after Ocoee Massacre, systemic racism still simmers” (October 29, 2020)

Orlando Sentinel (NOTE: Subscription req): “Story of Ocoee Massacre finally being told – 100 years after it happened. Special Report.” (October 30, 2020)

Orlando Weekly: “100 years ago in Ocoee, Black residents were murdered and driven off the land they owned, yet few know the story” (November 4, 2020)

Pegasus, University of Central Florida: “The Truth Laid Bare: Lessons from the Ocoee Massacre” (October 16, 2020)

Spectrum Local News: “City of Ocoee Pens Letter Formally Apologizing for Ocoee Massacre” (November 5, 2020)

Spectrum News 13: “Ripples of Pain: 100 Years Later, Ocoee Massacre Still a Stigma for Descendants, City” (November 2, 2020)

Star 94.5: “Why we produced the Ocoee Massacre story” (November 2, 2020)

WMFE NPR: “Intersection: Remembering the Ocoee Massacre, 100 Years On” (October 29, 2020)

State Coverage

ACLU Florida: “Remembering Ocoee” (November 2, 2020)

Allegiant Experts: “Remembering the Ocoee Massacre from 100 Years Ago” (November 4, 2020)

Florida Black Historical Research Project, Inc.: “Florida’s Ocoee Massacre 100 Years Later Do Black Votes Matter?” (October 27, 2020)

Fox 13 Tampa Bay: “1920 Ocoee Massacre: Largest U.S. incident of voting-day violence occurred in Florida 100 years ago” (November 2, 2020)

Miami Herald: “Florida adds 1920 Ocoee racial massacre to school studies” (June 25, 2020)

Poynter: “100 years after the Ocoee Massacre, a local TC station is telling the story” (November 19, 2020)

South Florida Times: “Florida’s Ocoee Massacre 100 Years Later Do Black Votes Matter?” (October 31, 2020)

Sun Sentinel: “An Ocoee Black man was lynched 100 years ago. Now there’s new racial tension among groups who can’t agree on how to remember him” (August 7, 2020)

Tampa Bay Times: “Remember the 1920 Ocoee racial massacre when you vote” (October 30, 2020)

WUFT: “‘The Night The Devil Got Loose’: Now, Some Floridians Are Shining Light On State’s Dark Past” (March 13, 2020)

WUSF NPR: “’The Night The Devil Got Loose’: How A Florida Tragedy Is Being Brought To Light A Century Later” (March 15, 2020)

National Coverage

Black Past: “The Ocoee Massacre (1920)” (October 31, 2020)

Blavity: “Florida Community Marks 100th Anniversary Of Ocoee Massacre In Which White Mob Killed And Terrorized Black Voters” (November 2, 2020)

CNN: “On this day 100 years ago, a White mob unleashed the deadliest Election Day violence in US history” (November 2, 2020)

History of Yesterday: “The Lynching of Julius ‘July’ Perry – 1920” (June 23, 2020)

KCTV 5: “On this day 100 years ago, a White mob unleashed the deadliest Election Day violence in US history” (November 2, 2020)

KMOV 4: “On this day 100 years ago, a mob unleashed the deadliest Election Day violence in US history” (November 2, 2020)

LA Times: “A Century Later, Florida revisits a shameful outburst of racial violence” (June 18, 2020)

Mental Floss: “100 Years Later, the Story of Florida’s Ocoee Massacre—an Election Day Attack on Black Citizens—Is Finally Being Told” (November 2, 2020)

Milwaukee Independent: “The 1920 Election Day Massacre: Remembering the Voters of Ocoee Who Were Slaughtered for Being Black” (November 2, 2020)

Momentum: “The Hidden History of the Ocoee Election Day Massacre” (November 2, 2020)

National Geographic: “Descendants of an Election Day massacre reflect 100 years later” (November 5, 2020)

Ozy: “A Forgotten Election Day Massacre in Florida That Still Haunts Today” (October 23, 2020)

Smithsonian Magazine: “The Little-Known Story of America’s Deadliest Election Day Massacre” (November 13, 2020)

Tellers Untold: “100th Year Anniversary of the Ocoee Massacre: Their Right to Vote!” (October 28, 2020)

Upworthy: “It’s been 100 years since the Ocoee Massacre, the bloodiest Election Day in US history” (November 3, 2020)

Washington Post: “A White mob unleashed the worst Election Day violence in US history in Florida a century ago” (November 2, 2020)

*Note: Academic journals forthcoming.