Interior designer to renovate homes for Rosewood descendants at no charge

Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 11:10 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Seeing African-American art and learning African-American history went hand in hand, specifically from those who descended from the rosewood massacre.

Lizzie Jenkins’ aunt was known as “Gussy” at the time of the massacre that killed 15 black families in 1923.

“She was a teacher there from 1915 to 1923 and survived the rosewood massacre,” Jenkins said.

The “Art, Wine and Design” event featuring a Black-owned, cereal bar, winery and artists hailing from Atlanta was a way to remember Jenkins’ family history.

“Especially history of sorts like Rosewood and other massacres, make sure that we remember those stories because it is not about me,” Jenkins said. It’s not my story. It’s our story.”

Related story: Friday marks the 98th anniversary of the Rosewood Massacre

Interior designer Melody Vaughn, who grew up partially in Gainesville, hosted the event after learning of the massacre as an adult.

“I didn’t know about rosewood until I moved to Atlanta,” Vaughn said. “Can you imagine no longer having a place to call home?”

With the proceeds from the art show and various donations, Vaughn plans to renovate the homes of those Rosewood descendants.

“I think the descendants of Rosewood deserve to live in a beautiful space and to honor their homes,” Vaugn said. “This movement, art, wine and design, healing homes by design. I am celebrating the fact that they survived and that they are not only surviving but thriving.”

Vaughn’s starting a non-profit, Healing Homes by Design for Rosewood survivors and said she has a descendant’s home picked for her first project, with plans to finish by the end of the year.

Related story: Rep. Ted Yoho introduces bill to make Rosewood a historic landmark

“She is excited and I am excited too and we are going to work together,” Jenkins added.

Vaugn’s goal is to raise $100,000 by next year to continue honoring their legacy.

You can send donations via CashApp at $HealingHomesbyDesign.

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