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CherryBlossom View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 12:52pm

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Remembering the Destruction of Black Wall Street and the Tulsa 'Race Riots'

 photo raceriots.jpg

On this day in 1921, the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, often called Black Wall Street, was destroyed. Hundreds of Tulsa's white residents  descended on the prosperous community following allegations that a black man, shoe shiner Dick Rowland, sexually assaulted Sarah Page, a white elevator operator. What actually happened in the elevator remains unconfirmed. By some reports, Rowland stepped on Page's shoe causing her to scream out, and by others he grabbed her arm.

Reports of the attack spread swiftly, and the following day, the Tulsa Tribune printed an article titled "To Lynch Negro Tonight"  Rowland was apprehended. A white mob showed up to the Tulsa Courthouse, but was prevented from lynching Rowland by the police and a group of armed Black men. A shot was fired.

Frustrated, the white citizens turned their violence on the wealthy Black community.  Tulsa's police force allowed and encouraged the violence that ended in estimated 300 dead and thousands injured.

 photo businessmen.jpg

Black Wallstreet was the wealthiest Black community in the United States. Whites demolished 35 city blocks of land including 1200 houses, 600 businesses, 30 grocery stores, 21 churches and restaurants, 2 movie theaters, a hospital, bank, post office, and libraries. 

In these events we saw the early use of militarized force on American citizens. Military planes dropped firebombs on the district's structures.

 photo x-1982335-race-riot-fire-sm.jpg
Greenwood homes on fire

8-10,000 Black residents were left homeless and destitute following the attacks. They lived in tents around the city through the winter of 1921 where they were monitored by police (the same police that encouraged the attacks) and members of the National Guard.
 photo tenthome.jpg
Tent home
Dick Rowland was exonerated, but an all-white jury found Black Tulsans responsible for the attack

This was a clear example of White American terrorism. This tragedy is often billed as the worst single incident of racially motivated violence in American history. Many of those killed in the attacks were buried without proper record. 

Not until 2012 was the "race riot" included in Tulsa school curriculum and no reparations have been paid to those who lost their homes and businesses. The exclusion of these events from history texts only reminds us of how diligent we must be in telling and retelling the stories.

For more information on the Race Riots, read Jim Madigan's The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.


Photo credit: Oklahoma Historical Society

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Alias_Avi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote Alias_Avi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 12:54pm
I'm glad this event is being uncovered with some of the survivors still alive

Americans should know of the first time the American government has dropped bombs on it's own citizens





Edited by Alias_Avi - Jun 01 2014 at 12:55pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote AwesomeAries Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 12:56pm
I can't be reading sheit like this before work tomorrow Unhappy
and I am going to exit because I have nothing nice to say about the white man Disapprove
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote callmeDEva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 1:03pm
BHM taught me this story sometime last year. I would have never known about it if not. I asked my elders if they knew about it and they did not smh.

This story makes me sad and hopeful at the same time. I'll keep believing we can one day have entire towns and communities filled with successful Black families again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Benni Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 1:14pm
   

My first time knowing of this story.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SeeminglySweet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 2:38pm
And the source of all this destruction was one white woman.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (7) Thanks(7)   Quote rickysrose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 2:52pm
A great example that puts the "bootstraps" argument to rest


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote sexyandfamous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 3:29pm
*say something nice week participant here*

What we can learn from this story, besides what has already been stated in another thread that has discussed it before, is that blacks CAN work to become wealthy and have their own wealthy community, without relying on whites.

Many blacks nowadays think the only way to be rich is by being a baseball/basketball player or some r&B/hip hop artist, when there is many other ways to do so. If those people were able to be wealthy in 1921, when lynching, segregation and crappy education for blacks was still happening, nowadays we can achieve way more.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote carolina cutie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 3:35pm
Well said and very positive sexyandfamous.Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote PurplePhase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 3:37pm
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