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PHOTOS: The Tulsa race massacre 100 years ago

Remembering the riot that destroyed “Black Wall Street”

Outside the Tulsa Convention Hall on June 1, 1921 Associated Press/University of Tulsa McFarlin Library Special Collections

PHOTOS: The Tulsa race massacre 100 years ago

Officially, 36 people died in the attack on the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Okla., on May 31 and June 1, 1921. But historians and scholars agree the city vastly underestimated the actual death count, which could range from 75 to 300.

White vigilantes burned and destroyed 35 city blocks that held 191 businesses and roughly 10,000 African American residents. The neighborhood, known as “Black Wall Street,” bustled with grocery stores, cafes, rooming houses, and a movie theater. The destruction of property and businesses affected the prosperity of African Americans in Tulsa for generations.

On May 31, a mob of white people gathered outside the Tulsa jail, where police held a black 19-year-old accused of assaulting a 17-year-old white girl. Concerned the mob would kidnap and lynch the suspect, two dozen armed black men went to the jail, too. The groups clashed, and the violence spread. Over 18 hours, white people carried out a scorched-earth campaign against Greenwood. Here are photos of the historic day and efforts to commemorate it.

You sure do come up with exciting stuff to read, know, and talk about. —Chad

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