1935 event prompts actions for many
The Plantation City Council passed a proclamation in support of the city of Fort Lauderdale’s attempt to raise awareness of a 1935 lynching of a black man in Broward County. And a Plantation man has been inspired to write a play based on the event.
Rubin Stacy was a lynching victim on July 19, 1935, and documents related to a resolution passed by Fort Lauderdale are being collected by History Fort Lauderdale to build a collection of these proclamations to add to the museum’s historical archives.
Allegations by a white woman who lived on Old Davie Road (now Davie Boulevard) just Southwest of 31st Avenue led to Mr. Stacy’s arrest and ultimate lynching. Nearly 1,000 people went to see his mutilated body, which medical reports say included a broken neck and 17 gunshot wounds. It was common in lynchings to pass a gun around to create shared culpability, with each person firing a shot.
Since 2016, faculty and students from Plantation High have engaged in historic preservation projects at North Woodlawn Cemetery and Fort Lauderdale has designated the stretch of Davie Boulevard from I-95 to State Road 7 with the secondary street name of “Rubin Stacy Memorial Boulevard.”
Plantation resident Jeff Rusnak (pictured) was among those attending the council meeting on July 28. Rusnak, a former Sun-Sentinel sports writer, wrote a play based on the lynching of Rubin Stacy, titled “Unbearable Whiteness: The Resurrection of Rubin Stacy.”
Rusnak notes that he grew up in Plantation within a mile or so of the lynching site.
“Unbearable Whiteness: The Resurrection of Rubin Stacy” is a social-justice fantasy. Set in 1948, “Unbearable Whiteness” gives Rubin a second life through the remembrance of a white girl who witnessed the lynching with her family 13 years earlier, when she was just seven years old.
The play gives voice to the victim of a racial terror lynching while deconstructing the practice of white supremacy within a family, Rusnak says.
“Unbearable Whiteness is inspired in part by photographs taken at the lynching site, in which a group of onlookers, including children, are casually gathered in a wooded grove as the victim hangs from a tree behind them,” he said. The play incorporates fictional elements into historically documented events.
He is in the process of entering playwrighting contests and seeking a producer.
Here is a link to a Sun-Sentinel story on Rubin Stacy, including an actual photo of the event.