Ocoee Scholarship-The Orlando Times

The Orlando Times

Ocoee Scholarship

Sen. Randolph Bracy’s Ocoee Scholarship Program
BY DR. BARBARA J. MCLEAN-SMITH
scholar1Photo Cutline 1: Left to right Senator Randolph Bracy, Ocoee Commissioner Larry Brinson and Ocoee Massacre Descendants
Photo Cutline: Ocoee Commissioner George Oliver
Photo Cutline: Day of Remembrance An Official Formal Apology
OCOEE - Branded by Senator Randolph Bracy, III the “Ocoee Massacre Scholarship Program” was
presented via a news conference on June 3, 2021 by Ocoee’s Commissioner George Oliver,
Commissioner Larry Brinson and State Senator Randolph Bracy.
Senator Bracy said of the Scholarship Program “That he was prompted some years ago to introduce
reparation legislation relative to the Ocoee Massacre of 1920. “Being a member of The Florida House of
Representatives, initially, and serving on several committees (including the Budget Committee) gave me
opportunity to learn much about the 67counties of Florida. More specifically, I learned additional
information about the disparities, inequalities and of what could have been “public” history of the many
residents, our descendants, who were literally run out of Ocoee, Florida during the November 2, 1920
Massacre. I felt driven to promote and receive restoration for the families of the descendants.”
Through the Budget Committee and from “Specific Appropriation 72” of Senate Bill 2500 grew the
Randolph Bracy Ocoee Scholarship Program. On Thursday, June 3, 2021, on the steps of Ocoee,
Florida’s City Hall’s steps a press conference was held to announce the details of the now SB 678
(Florida Senate – 2021 by Senator Bracy).
SB 678 is “an act, approved by the Florida House and Senate (and is included in the State Budget)
relating to the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots”. SB 678 has many deletions and additions to the original
bill that highlight economic and educational “opportunities for the descendants of the 1920 Ocoee Riotscholar2s”.
Specifically, the abstract of the bill reads as follows:

“A bill to be entitled

2 An act relating to the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots;
3 amending s. 288.7102, F.S.; requiring the Department
4 of Economic Opportunity to prioritize certain
5 applications for the Black Business Loan Program;
6 creating s. 1009.551, F.S.; creating the Ocoee
7 Scholarship Program for specified recipients;
8 directing the Department of Education to administer
9 the program; specifying annual award amounts to
10 recipients participating in the program; requiring the
11 department to rank applicants; providing for
12 transmittal of an award payment to a participating
13 institution; prescribing eligibility criteria for
14 award recipients; authorizing the State Board of
15 Education to adopt certain rules; providing for
16 program funding; providing an effective date.”
Ocoee’s Commissioner George Oliver and Commissioner Larry Brinson along with Senator Randolph
Bracy gathered with some of the descendants and students to explain the bill as it is now written signed
and presented. ‘The Randolph Bracy Ocoee Scholarship Program’ is an annual program that will
“provide $305,000 for 50 scholarships to be awarded to African American students who reside in Ocoee
and who are descendants of the victims of the 1920 Ocoee Massacre”. The scholarships will be available
on July 1, 2021. “The annual scholarship award may be up to the amount of $6,100 per student but may
not exceed the amount of the student’s tuition and registration fees.”scholar3
According to Commissioner George Oliver “The Ocoee Massacre Scholarship is a long time coming but
it is some form of reparations to the descendants of Ocoee. I’m glad to know that the Scholarships will be
open to more students as they learn about the Ocoee Massacre. I believe all students of Florida should be
eligible to apply since it’s a part of our history”.
The Scholarship application will become available on July 1, 2021. Commissioner Oliver went on to say
that the criteria to complete the application will be identified on July 1, 2021 and will be listed under the
‘Florida Student Scholarship & Grant Programs’ where State Scholarships like Bright Futures and
Rosewood Family Scholarships are listed”. The Ocoee Scholarship will be added to this list. Please visit
website: floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org to apply.
Local students and two of the Descendants of the victims, namely Mrs. Gladys Franks Bell and Mr.
Kenneth Thompson, who attended the News Conference on Thursday have impassioned feelings and
views about the Ocoee Scholarship Program. Both of them recognize the Scholarship Program as a
“beginning to more to come.”
Mrs. Bell says of “SB 678, it’s a start but we want reparations. We had acres of land taken from us and
now the city as it sits is built on our property.”
In reference to SB 678, Mr. Thompson says “Senator Randolph Bracy did a marvelous job in introducing
the bill and I believe that much good will come from it now that it is passed. Since I proudly own a home
and live in Ocoee, I am happily waiting for Ocoee to be a friendly city that will welcome all people with
peace.”
For more information on SB 678, please contact Ocoee Commissioner George Oliver at 407-717-6550 or
407-905-3112 and goliver@ocoee.org