"It Was A Nigger!"



Entertainment Weekly: Rosewood (1997)
In 1923, the residents of Rosewood, a tranquil all-black agrarian village in central Florida, bask in their hard-toiling prosperity. Several generations removed from slavery, they have farms, businesses, a community. They have freedom — or, at least, a hermetic approximation of it. For it's a freedom they can share only with one another. In the adjacent, comparatively poor all-white town of Sumner, the citizens look at Rosewood with suspicion and envy. The very power of American upward mobility has shaken the firmament of Dixie — its racial-social hierarchy. ...... When one of the whites gets beaten up by her extramarital lover, she's so flooded with rage and guilt that her hysteria explodes like shrapnel at the most convenient available target. ''It was a nigger!'' she wails. There are rumors of a recently escaped black convict, and with this mythical culprit in mind, the men of Sumner form a lynch mob. They never do locate the suspect, but in a sense they start to see him everywhere — in the face of any innocent black man who knows nothing of the crime. Out for ''justice,'' the mob consumes its own purpose, becoming an end in itself, a jamboree of lynching, shooting, burning, slaughter.
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