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Film / Rosewood

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Rosewood is a 1997 American historical drama film directed by John Singleton. While based on historic events of the 1923 Rosewood massacre in Florida, when a white mob killed blacks and destroyed their town, the film introduces fictional characters and changes from historic accounts.

Ving Rhames stars as Mann, an outsider and WWI veteran who comes into Rosewood and inspires its residents to self-defense, wielding his pistols in a fight. The supporting cast includes Don Cheadle as Sylvester Carrier, a resident who witnesses—and defends his family from—the riot; and Jon Voight as John Wright, a sympathetic white store owner who lives in a nearby village. The three characters find themselves entangled in an attempt to save people from racist whites attacking the blacks of Rosewood.


Tropes in Rosewood include:

  • Angry Black Man: Mann and Sylvester Carrier justifiably become this.
  • Angry White Man: A majority of the white men around Rosewood become this.
  • Based on a True Story: While Mann obviously didn't exist, Rosewood is the story of the actual massacre.
  • Bald of Authority: Mann is the leader of the group and doesn't have a hair on his head.
  • Blind Black Guy: James Carrier.
  • False Rape Accusation: While Fanny said a black man had only beaten her, the nature of a gossiping crowd added rape in there.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Since the film takes place in 1923, we already know that the Rosewood massacre is going to happen.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Sylvester's wife is looked down upon because while she's half Native, she's still half-black as well.
  • Hate Sink: While the members of the lynch mob are utterly unsympathetic, Duke Purdy easily stands out as being the most reprehensible of the group, with absolutely no redeeming qualities.
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  • The Klan: The Ku Klux Klan was very powerful by in 1923 and took part in the massacre.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Mann tries to leave Rosewood before the situation escalates, but once it does, he returns and fights the Mann.
  • Mammy: Auntie Sarah.
  • Salt and Pepper: While Mann and John Wright are different, they do join up to defend the black folks.
  • Saved by the Coffin: The hero's mother is killed by white racists attacking the black town, and the hero himself is smuggled out in her coffin.
  • Scary Black Man: Mann, but in a badass way.
  • Scary Minority Suspect: Jessie Hunter, who had escaped from a chain gang, is the unseen suspect for Fanny's beating.
  • Soul Brotha: Mann