Valencia’s Peace & Justice Institute to Lead Community Discussion about Election-Day Massacre of 1920

Orlando, FL – Aside from Florida history scholars, most Floridians have never heard of the Ocoee massacre of 1920, which was sparked when a black man attempted to vote.

Now, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Florida Humanities Council, Valencia’s Peace and Justice Institute, in partnership with the Valencia College Foundation, will facilitate a series of community conversations about Central Florida’s racial history.

The events will include screenings of the documentary, “Ocoee: Legacy of the Election-Day Massacre,” followed by community conversations and a panel of local historians, scholars and activists. These discussions will take place across Central Florida in spring 2018 and are open to the public.

“What we are trying to do is talk honestly about the past and the history of race relations in Central Florida,” said Rachel Allen, director of Valencia’s Peace & Justice Institute. “Our aim is to educate the community, reconcile, heal, and ultimately address current practices that mirror the injustices of our past.”

The project stems from the Equal Justice Initiative Orange County Task Force, a group of community partners including the Democracy Forum, Bridge the Gap Coalition, Hannibal Square Heritage Center, the Peace and Justice Institute and the Human Relations Diversity Board in Ocoee. This task force is partnering with the Equal Justice Initiative’s project to create a national memorial for peace and justice.

Below is the schedule of upcoming events:

Date: Monday, Feb. 12, 2018

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.)

Location: Ocoee High School cafeteria, 1925 Ocoee Crown Point Pkwy, Ocoee


Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.)

Location: Callahan Neighborhood Center, 101 North Parramore Ave., Orlando


Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.)

Location: Woman’s Club of Winter Park, 419 South Interlachen Ave., Winter Park


Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018

Time: 7 – 9 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Location: Seminole State College, Building C, 110A/B, 100 Weldon Blvd. Sanford


The project is being facilitated and led by Allen, Valencia College history professor Heather Bryson and Josie Lemon Allen from Bridge the Gap Coalition.

Bryson earned her master’s and doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Central Florida. She currently teaches early and modern American history and early and modern Western civilization. She is also a member of the American Historical Association and the Alabama Historical Association.

Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.