"Nigger. It’s just another word for guilty."
Description: Esther Rolle as Aunt Sarah, a black woman who knows the ways of the white man in the motion picture Rosewood (1997).
In 1923, a white racist lynch mob burned the town of Rosewood, Florida. Their motivation: A white woman who was beaten by a white man tells the locals she was attacked by a black man. Subsequently, the town turns violent.
Frigthened about what was happening in the community, a young black girl says, “Oh Lord, Auntie. They’re likely to come in here and kill us all. You got to tell them that man was white.”
Sarah knew it was a white man who had left the woman's house and not a black man, but she was conditioned through years of injustice towards blacks to be indifferent about doing the right thing. Working in the kitchen, Aunt Sarah tells the girl:
“Child, you don’t think they’re going to listen to old Aunt Sarah? They’d just as soon string me up…like they done Sam Carter. You ain’t never seen crackers act the way I know. When I was a little girl, about 7, still on the Willowbrook plantation, old massa’s son stole $20 out of the family chest for a cockfight. Massa knew he took it, as blue as Jesus’ eyes, he knew. But just the same he whipped my daddy half to death . It don’t matter what man was beating on Fancy Taylor. Nigger. It’s just another word for guilty.”
Note: The title cards at the end of the film read:
“In 1993, 70 years after the massacre, the Florida House Of Representatives granted reparations to the Rosewood families, spearheaded by Philomena's son, Arnett Doctor. The success of the case was due largely to the sworn testimony of several SURVIVORS, who were children at the time of the massacre, and to the deposition of one WHITE citizen who testified on behalf of the victims."
“The official death toll of the Rosewood massacre, according to the state of Florida, is eight... two WHITES and six BLACKS. The survivors, a handful of whom are still alive today, place the number anywhere between 40 and 150, nearly all of them AFRICAN AMERICAN.”