The Massacre of Tulsa in 1921, OK’s Black Wall Street Echoes, May Finally Be Reckoned With

As President Trump kicks off his re-election campaign in Tulsa, OK today, there have been several media reports on the sad but buried history of Oklahoma, particularly a focus on the racist-led massacre of black businesses in June, 1921, along with the Trail of Tears perpetuated on Native Americans.

BBC: City Faces Up to Its Violent Past Ahead of Trump Rally. “On 1 June 1921, a white mob ransacked the prosperous black neighbourhood of Greenwood, killing an estimated 300 people and burning 35 blocks of homes and businesses to the ground. The bodies of the victims were buried in mass graves and, for decades, the memory of those fearful first few days in June were buried with them.” Following the massacre, the story was swept under the rug — both black and white found it too painful and were seeking to simply surive — and it was never dealt with. No reparations were ever paid to the families who were killed or to those who lost their businesses. Finally, nearly 100 years later,  plans are underway to “teach the history of Greenwood in all Oklahoma state schools. And the neighbourhood is being promoted as a cultural and tourism destination.”

Human Rights Watch: The Case for Reparations in Tulsa, OK

LA Times: One Newspaper — the Oklahoma Eagle — Has Never Forgotten the 1921 Race Riot

The video above is from Vox: “Nearly 100 years ago, a white mob destroyed an American neighborhood called “Black Wall Street,” murdering an estimated 300 people in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That incident — known as the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre — has been largely left out of US history books. Today, a century later, the city still has a lot of questions. For one, where are the bodies of the victims? As the city’s mayor re-opens the search for mass graves, we take a look at what happened back in 1921…and why finding these graves still matters to the people of Tulsa.”

For more reading, check out the links below: Vox’s reporting on an eyewitness account of the horrific attack: https://www.vox.com/2016/6/1/11827994…

The Washington Post’s in-depth story on the massacre and the current challenges of gentrification: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/l…

Tulsa’s Fraught Racial History, from Trail of Tears to 1921 Massacre to Resistance to Desegregation.

And to take a look through more digitized photos, audio, and documents from 1921, check out the Tulsa Historical Society’s collection: https://www.tulsahistory.org/exhibit/…

 

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