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The Implications of the Rosewood, Florida Reparations as a Public Policy Model for Sundown Towns in the United States

Posted on April 12, 2011

Paper and Panel Presentations | Media Center, Balfour-Hood

2:50-3:20 pm
The Implications of the Rosewood, Florida Reparations as a Public Policy Model for Sundown Towns in the United States
Eric Eid-Reiner ‘11

Primarily from 1890 to 1930, at least several hundred towns in the United States forced their black residents to leave through a range of official policies and private actions. These towns are often referred to as “sundown towns,” because while most black people knew to avoid them completely, they were particularly dangerous after dark; some even had signs warning, “Nigger, don’t let the sun set on you in [town].”  Local mayors, sheriffs, governors, and other government officials rarely intervened to protect black residents from losing their property, possessions, jobs, and community as these citizens were violently chased out of the hostile places they had once called home.  Such blatant government neglect of its responsibility to protect its citizens in the mostly black town of Rosewood, Florida, in 1923, led the survivors and descendents of former residents to seek reparations from the state in the early 1990s, which they eventually, remarkably received.  In this senior honors thesis, the author examines the various policy and political factors that contributed to the success of the Rosewood reparations, and analyzes the prospects for similar approaches to be taken with regard to Forsyth County, Georgia, and Corbin, Kentucky, where similar racial cleansings occurred.

 

Nominated by Professor Marcus Allen (Political Science)

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