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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.

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BCRA6831

As one who grew up in Tulsa in the 1970's, I was aware of the Tulsa Race Massacre, however, it is only in recent weeks that I have looked in further detail at what happened. It is devastating. The link I posted earlier https://www.okhistory.org/research/forms/freport.pdf is a very long report, but if you start at page 37, you'll get a good overview. Yes, it's true that history is full of brutality and injustice, but perhaps God calls us to lament that which occurred right in our own part of the world, even if it was a century ago. Incredibly, there are still 3 people alive who survived the massacre. This isn't ancient history to them. My hope is that Christians of all races will seek repentance, forgiveness and restoration. I'm praying that God will show me what that means in my own life.

Bix

Thanks to those who have commented.
Since it is indeed the 100th anniversary of this little-known event, it does seem appropriate that it is currently "in the news." And, if indeed, as I have heard elsewhere, no one was ever "brought to justice" for this, then it is even more appropriate that some sort of reparations be done.
But I would like to comment about KeithT's question, "Where is the lament?"
Yes, we should lament. Yes, regardless of my color, regardless of the victim or the perpetrator, we should lament evil.
But I am also lamenting the massacre's of millions in the USSR, Red China, and Germany in that same century. I lament the millions of Armenians killed in Turkey only a little more than one hundred years ago. I lament the millions killed in Cambodia, and the half to one million killed in 1994 in Rwanda. And I lament the 60 million fetuses/babies killed in the womb in the USA in my lifetime. And I lament the many Christians who are persecuted or killed in the past few years in Syria, Nigeria, North Korea, and other places.
I would be happy for "the justice system" in Tulsa to be held accountable. But having the mind of God in all things would make me lament all the lives lost to evil systems in the past 100 years

AMY MEDINA

Salty1, I'm assuming that the people you are referring to who are "using race as the wedge to divide this country" are black people. Yet history like this article speaks of shows us that it was the white people who made race an issue in America. So it's not fair for we white people to ignore or dismiss the wedge that we ourselves created.
You say "bringing up these issues at this time will likely not bring racial healing." So what will? The story of the Tulsa massacre was deliberately written out of American history for many years. Isn't that part of the problem? That white people want to ignore how racially gruesome our past really is?
I absolutely agree that the "solutions" proposed by secular liberals are just going to make the problem worse. But can't Christians agree that bringing our true history to light is a good thing, that coming to grips with what our "Christian" country was capable of is a first step towards repentance and reconciliation?

Salty1AMY MEDINA

Yes, some blacks but leftists in general are using race as a wedge to fundamentally change our country. Conservatives today have nothing to do with the wedge being used to tear our country apart. How exactly did you or I create this wedge? Why exactly are you or I required to bear responsibility for others past sins. But more importantly, how does playing the same narrative as those trying to destroy America really help us? The left wants us to believe that racism against blacks is a major issue today. In fact, they lie about racism and white supremacy on the right:

Biden: 'Terrorism from White Supremacy' the Most Lethal Threat to U.S.4,282

I would argue that racism against whites TODAY is far worse than racism against blacks. And we should include Asians and Jews as those seeing more racism. It is not coming from the right but the left.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/06/01/woke-culture-blm-intersectionality-has-contributed-to-rise-of-antisemitism-in-u-s/

And you want Christians to go along with the narrative about white privilege, systemic racism, BLM support and critical race theory? I would argue that those Christians who support this are the real racists who should be called out for it.

If we look at our history, there were some things that were unjust, but American haters want to only look at those things without looking at the many great things accomplished. Every culture has their sins, and today those sins are glaringly evident with the mass murder of babies in the womb that is far worse than slavery and past racism ever was. Let us fully acknowledge this if we aren’t pushing the leftist narrative.

not silentAMY MEDINA

I respectfully disagree that "conservatives today have nothing to do with the wedge being used to tear our country apart." For one thing, there is more than one thing that is being used to drive us apart. For another, I see and hear conservatives denying the feelings, past experiences, and traumas experienced by people they consider "liberal" all the time. To do that is unloving and worsens any divides that may already exist.

I also agree that there are people who are using the pain of others to cause additional discord. Some loot and steal, others riot, others seek to undermine our law enforcement and/or system of government. However, just because some are using the pain and trauma of others to further selfish goals, that does not mean the pain and trauma do not exist or that Christians should deny them.

There is biblical precedent in confessing the sins of our "fathers." In Daniel 9, Daniel confessed not only his sins but the sins of his fathers and of the entire nation of Israel over many years in the past.

Denying the pain and suffering of others is not helpful or biblical. If we claim to follow Jesus, we should be the leaders in recognizing injustice. No one group bears sole responsibility for our painful history. It can be overwhelming to confront these issues; but we, as Christians, can set an example of confession and of seeking God's will about the best ways to help those who are suffering and to bring healing through the gospel.

KeithT

I'm hoping that few people have read this article yet, as the lack of comments is deafening. Where are all the people who lamented over the various riots of the last year? The damage caused in the entire USA over the last year combined doesn't begin to match what happened in this single event. And this was not an isolated event. Devastating white on black riots happened throughout our nation over decades in various states. Where is the lament?

When will we white folk collectively admit that people who were white and because they were white have done grave harm to our fellow children of God? And please, don't use the "If I was there I wouldn't have done that" response. That doesn't work any better than "If I was in the garden I wouldn't have eaten the fruit."

Salty1KeithT

Yes, it was an injustice but so is the injustice of the people using race as the wedge to divide this country and bring revolution. The pushing of the race issue today is not about healing this nation but about tearing it apart. It is about making white people feel guilty so they go along with the insanity of getting rid of police, having a two tiered justice system, stealing elections, tearing down statues, erasing our history, pushing a godless secularism on our children, removing our Christian liberties, pushing a radical transgenderism, destroying the nuclear family, pushing homosexuality, pushing anti-Semiticism, transforming the nation with uncontrolled immigration and so much other garbage.

Unfortunately, bringing up these issues at this time will likely not bring racial healing as the author intends. It is a sad time we live in but we must use wisdom as we fight the cultural war.

KeithT

BCRA6831 - thank you for the link. Sobering reading.

BCRA6831

The following report was completed in February 2001, and is an important record of the massacre.
https://www.okhistory.org/research/forms/freport.pdf