Rosewood

Pre Scottsboro boys

Pre Emmett Till

  Photo credit: Public Domain

Yeah, this stuff still happened

In those good ‘ole days

 

We were allowed to be blatant

Decimate a town, make ’em flee

Because we were Worthy savages

Unquestioned, unreported

 

White woman in all of her weakness

Cries rape by a black man

This time in a mixed town

In a 1923 mixed southern town

 

Justify not her —

White woman cry

But her commodification

 

Protect not her

But the right for her to be owned,

enslaved by us,

deserving, well-meaning White men

 

Justify and protect

Our red, white, and blue right

With massacre,

Destruction

 

Create living Hell

For those borne black

Lest black body, black mind, black voice

Forget their pre-1865 destiny

 

A circular Fate

You don’t belong

(As equals)

No, you don’t

She doesn’t either

No, she doesn’t

We own you both

 

That white woman cry burns through Rosewood

The cry is white, alabaster, god-loving, virginal,

and voiceless

 

Cry is the only way she learned voice

Worth, place, attention

But men didn’t cry

Don’t cry

 

But that cry burned through the city,

Luckily it did

 

Images of crimson

Spattered against alabaster canvas

Contrasted with more veracity

Than thick-hanging fruit

or blood on the leaves

 

No need to put that to trial

The rumor alone

Denied my rights,

Denied me

 

And maybe untrue

But truth and evidence

Never were the origins of

An American justice

Of my justice

 

Let us be the rapists

The killers

The History writers

The voices

 

So that you know your place

And my descendants

(And even you)

Think it's your fault

 

Born guilty, die young

Not one

But a one forgotten unreported

Displaced black community of Rosewood, Florida


To the victims of the January 1923 Rosewood massacre, in memoriam.

by Vicky Munyoz