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When the town's black citizens rallied together to defend themselves against further attacks, a mob of several hundred whites combed the countryside hunting for black people, and burned almost every structure in Rosewood.
Survivors from the town hid for several days in nearby swamps until they were evacuated by train and car to larger towns.
Prior to the massacre, the town of Rosewood had been a quiet, primarily black, self-sufficient whistle stop on the Seaboard Air Line Railway.
Trouble began when white men from several nearby towns lynched a black Rosewood resident because of unsupported accusations that a white woman in nearby Sumner had been beaten and possibly raped by a black drifter.
In 1993, the Florida Legislature commissioned a report on the massacre.
Racial disturbances were common during the early 20th century in the United States, reflecting the nation's rapid social changes.
Florida had an especially high number of lynchings of black males in the years before the massacre, including a well-publicized incident in December 1922.
The Rosewood massacre was a violent, racially motivated massacre of blacks and destruction of a black town that took place during the first week of January 1923 in rural Levy County, Florida.At least six blacks and two whites were killed, and the town of Rosewood was abandoned and destroyed in what contemporary news reports characterized as a race riot.