Topic: Oklahoma/Task-force Tulsa
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Tulsa Race Massacre
The Tulsa race massacre (also called the Tulsa race riot, the Greenwood Massacre, or the Black Wall Street Massacre) of 1921 took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has been called "the single worst incident of racial violence in American history." The attack, carried out on the ground and from private aircraft, destroyed more than 35 square blocks of the district – at that time the wealthiest black community in the United States, known as "Black Wall Street".
More than 800 people were admitted to hospitals and as many as 6,000 black residents were interned at large facilities, many for several days. The Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics officially recorded 36 dead, but the American Red Cross declined to provide an estimate. A 2001 state commission examination of events was able to confirm 39 dead, 26 black and 13 white, based on contemporary autopsy reports, death certificates and other records. The commission gave overall estimates from 75–100 to 150–300 dead.
The massacre began over Memorial Day weekend after 19-year-old Dick Rowland, a black shoeshiner, was accused of assaulting Sarah Page, the 17-year-old white elevator operator of the nearby Drexel Building. He was taken into custody. A subsequent gathering of angry local whites outside the courthouse where Rowland was being held, and the spread of rumors he had been lynched, alarmed the local black population, some of whom arrived at the courthouse armed. Shots were fired and twelve people were killed: ten white and two black. As news of these deaths spread throughout the city, mob violence exploded. White rioters rampaged through the black neighborhood that night and morning killing men and burning and looting stores and homes, and only around noon the next day Oklahoma National Guard troops managed to get control of the situation by declaring martial law. About 10,000 black people were left homeless, and property damage amounted to more than $1.5 million in real estate and $750,000 in personal property (equivalent to $32.25 million in 2019).
Many survivors left Tulsa. Black and white residents who stayed in the city were silent for decades about the terror, violence, and losses of this event. The massacre was largely omitted from local, state, and national histories.
In 1996, seventy-five years after the massacre, a bipartisan group in the state legislature authorized formation of the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (renamed Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Massacre, in November 2018). Members were appointed to investigate events, interview survivors, hear testimony from the public, and prepare a report of events. There was an effort toward public education about these events through the process. The Commission's final report, published in 2001, said that the city had conspired with the mob of white citizens against black citizens; it recommended a program of reparations to survivors and their descendants. The state passed legislation to establish some scholarships for descendants of survivors, encourage economic development of Greenwood, and develop a memorial park in Tulsa to the massacre victims. The park was dedicated in 2010. In 2020, the massacre became part of the Oklahoma school curriculum.
- "Tulsa Race Massacre" | 2020-02-22 | 21 Upvotes 2 Comments
- "Tulsa Race Riot" | 2019-10-22 | 50 Upvotes 17 Comments