Landmark Exhibition Examines Ocoee Massacre of 1920, Ignited After a Black Citizen Tried to Vote
The Orange County Regional History Center announces a landmark exhibition, Yesterday, This Was Home: The Ocoee Massacre of 1920, that examines the largest incident of voting-day violence in United States history. The exhibition marks the centennial of the event — once hidden history in Central Florida — and will be on display from Oct. 3, 2020, through Feb. 14, 2021.
The Ocoee Massacre was ignited on Election Day of 1920, when Moses Norman, a Black citizen, attempted to vote in Ocoee and was turned away. After a white mob came to the home of his friend, July Perry, in search of Norman, gunshots erupted. An unknown number of people were killed, including Perry, who was lynched in Orlando in the early hours of the next day. Eventually, the Black population of Ocoee fled, never to return. In telling the story, History Center staff have relied extensively on original research into primary sources and oral histories.
Yesterday, This Was Home explores not only this horrific event in Central Florida’s past but also other historical and recent incidents of racism, hatred and terror. One of the exhibition’s recurring themes is the oppression of the Black community and their battle to rise above it, from enslavement, to the impact of the Ocoee Massacre, to the Black Lives Matter movement today.
History Center staff have also designed Yesterday, This Was Home to encourage reflection on a century of social transformation, the power of perspective, and the importance of exercising the right to vote. Multiple interactives about voting, videos and digital maps enhance the visitor experience.
To follow social distancing, the History Center has implemented new timed ticketing procedures for the special exhibition Yesterday, This Was Home: The Ocoee Massacre of 1920. For safety purposes, capacity will be limited in our exhibit hall. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Media tours are available by appointment the week of Oct. 5, 2020.