1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: The Damaging Truth

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: The Damaging Truth

The 1921 Tulsa race riot is the deadliest one-day civil disturbance in American history. In that year, the Ku Klux Klan, in an effort to fuel the state of Oklahoma’s economy by driving African Americans out of the state, staged a race riot in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over the course of 2 days, the riot killed at least 300 people( that number is possibly much more), while another estimated 1200 people were injured. The riot destroyed much of the African American community in Tulsa.

The Effects of the Tulsa Race Massacre

The Tulsa race massacre destroyed an entire generation of African-Americans, shattering their dreams and their outlook on the future. The Tulsa race massacre divided the city. African Americans could no longer take shelter in their own neighborhoods, and had to endure the humiliation of not being allowed to come home after dark. Many parents left their children behind so that they wouldn’t have to experience what they had. The Tulsa Race Massacre affected both of the African American families in Tulsa. Many of the victims had children who were younger than 10 years of age, and the impact that this one incident had on the future of African-Americans was devastating.

A Mistake America Keeps Making

While there is no justification for an unjustified act of terrorism, no matter who committed the act, we must realize that the fact that the 1920s Klan was able to instigate such a bloody and well-publicized riot in a state with a population less than 1% African American is not a coincidence, but a testament to the extent to which racism continues to affect our lives today. The fact that most Americans are blissfully unaware of the devastating racial injustices that many American citizens face on a daily basis is as much a reminder of how far we have come as it is a reminder of how far we have yet to go. The fact that over 100,000 African Americans were killed in interracial crimes during the 20th Century shows how far we have yet to go as a nation.

The Future

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “All we say to America is be true to what you said on paper.” African-Americans have contributed very much to America. Our ancestors practically built America and still has nothing to show for. I recently saw a statistic on CNN in regards to the wealth gap. It’s numbers are alarming!

Civil Rights activist fought for economic justice years ago and we still are dealing with it now. There is a lot of work to be done! A lot of people are against reparations but there is something to needs to be done to ensure economic development for the black community! Here were are 100 years later and the Greenwood area which was the Black Wall Street is now been minimized to just a few buildings that descendants have to hold on to to preserve family history. It is my hope that the Lord will shift things for African-Americans. I still have faith that we as a people will get to the promised land.

What was Black Wall Street?

The Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Black Wall Street is the name given to the neighborhood of African-American businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the early 20th century. The neighborhood was the largest and wealthiest black community in America at the time. Black Wall Street was a symbol of black success and a powerful economic engine for black entrepreneurship. This prosperous community was founded in 1904 by two men, Robert Reed Church and his brother-in-law, Jesse O. McKee, and included a professional school, a lawyer’s association and newspaper, the Booker T. Washington Savings Bank, and the offices of black physicians, dentists, lawyers, real estate agents, and many other professionals.

During the early 20th century, it was considered the “Rome of Black America.” But beginning on June 1, 1921, during the racially-motivated Tulsa Race Massacre, the district was destroyed by whites.

Perhaps no other riot in U.S. history destroyed as many lives and as much property. More than 800 people were injured; at least 800 black men and women were left homeless; 35 city blocks were destroyed; and at least 35 black-owned businesses were looted. The riot was the culmination of three days of racial violence in the boom town. It began when rumors spread that a black teenager had assaulted a white elevator operator. A mob of angry white men stormed the police station looking for the boy. To this day that once prosperous Black Wall Street never really fully recovered.

Black History is American History

February is Black History Month in the United States. It’s also a time to reflect on the contributions African Americans have made to our culture. The first Black History Month took place in the U.S. in 1926, after the scholar Carter G. Woodson first proposed it in 1915. At the time, the term “Negro History Week” was used. The first week of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of two men: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, and Frederick Douglass, an African American social reformer. Although many people across the U.S. have heard of Black History Month, many are unaware of its historical origins.

The story of African-Americans is in many ways a very American story. It is a story of adversity, of perseverance, of sacrifice, of progress, of renewal. It is a story of America. There is no other group in American history that has had more influence on the country than African-Americans, or that has contributed more to who we are today. We are a life-giving people. We are a people who have shaped every element of this nation. We are a people who have fought for freedom and equality since the beginning of this nation. We are a people who have contributed to the growth of this nation in many unique and special ways. We are a people who have been at the helm of every movement for freedom and justice.

African Americans have contributed so many things to the United States. Our history is rich and even though we as a people have gone through several trials and tribulations, the Lord always allows us to prevail! Black History is not just a month but it is an everyday thing for me!