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Race Riot: Blacks Slaughtered in Tulsa, OK., 1921

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June 1, 1921

June 1, 1921

I don't recall anything about this in American History books. It was like it never happened and the coverup was so extensive that it took 100 years for it to be widely known.

The scope of the destruction caused by racist whites and the KKK is numbing. Whites burned down 35 blocks of Tulsa, the Greenwood section, where there was a very thriving Black community, called Black Wall Street. Some 300 innocent people were killed, another 8-10,000 made homeless, 1,470 homes destroyed by fire and thousands put in internment camps. Some 24 grocery stores were destroyed, 31 restaurants, and 4 drug stores were torched.


According official accounts, the fuse was lit on May 30, 1921, when a Black shoe shine teen, Dick Rowland (19) was entering an elevator operated by a White teen girl, Sarah Page (17). Rowland tripped upon entering and accidentally grabbed Sarah's arm during the fall. She screamed. Rowland ran away out of fear from Whites who saw it . The next day in the Tulsa newspaper the headline indicated something far more horrible had happened enraging Whites. Many Blacks then gathered at the Sheriff's office offering to defend Rowland (many had fought in WW1). It was during this gathering where Whites and Blacks faced off, a White man attempted to disarm a Black veteran. In the scuffle, the gun went off. That was enough to cause the KKK and other White racists (many were jealous of the success on this thriving community) to enjoin forces and begin destroying the Greenwood section of Tulsa with fire. Much of the action was at night and imagine the shock of those innocent black citizens being dragged out and shot or hanged and their home set on fire. It was a White rampage that fed upon itself via hate and racism. To add to the chaos, airplanes were flown and dynamite bundles were dropped. The destruction continued into the daytime hours and few Whites tried to prevent the tsunami of hate in fear of being killed themselves. The destruction ended only when there was nothing left to destroy in the Greenwood area! After the event, it was well covered up, many out of fear of retaliation. It was never even discussed in schools.

Today, only a few survivors are still alive. Reparations are in order for the destruction 100 years ago. It truly is a horrifying event in American history about racism.


MG Singh from UAE on June 03, 2021:

Perrya, no way my friend, 'dreams die first' wrote Harold Robbins.

perrya (author) on June 03, 2021:

Thanks, you are correct, let's just hope the US continues to improve

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on June 03, 2021:

I only learned about this in my adult year having grown up in a school district in the South where I attended school with a Confederate soldier as the mascot with the team called the Rebels. I still love my school thought

Racism is an awful blight on our society that we can learn to avoid for the future by remembering past sins. Hopeful, we will never do anything like this again in America. We have come so far in race relations in the last 100 years and have much opportunity to go further in a good direction. Thanks for sharing this.

perrya (author) on June 02, 2021:

Not so sure about us boomers, there were plenty of civil right supporters to enable blacks, but the racism was there long before even the boomers got to school and it was they that set school agendas as to what is taught.

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Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on June 02, 2021:

We need my generation (Baby Boomers) to die off so the last remnants of segregation experiences can disappear. I'm sure we've had an influence on our children, but hopefully that poison we had injected into our minds has been watered down significantly. That's been the goal of many of us, but for some racism is too deep seated not to be a default setting. It's unsettling that so many of these tragedies took place in the "Bible Belt". Seems in every generation there are segments of religion that fail to live what they claim to believe.

perrya (author) on June 02, 2021:

It remains unclear whether this new revelation will promote a healing or simply make things much worse. The way many Republican states are trying to make voting more difficult for people of color, because they vote Democratic, is NOT a good sign. Many in OK are still silent racists, no doubt. This kind of hatred is hard to understand.

Leslie McCowen from Cape Cod, USA on June 02, 2021:

Jason Elias:

“A lot of us recognized that what happened at the US Capitol was the same energy that was unleashed at the Tulsa Race Massacre. Different times, the same anger.“

MG Singh emge from Singapore on June 01, 2021:

I have not heard of this massacre though I was aware of the hanging of many Negro soldiers in I think in 1915. But in all my visits to America, I have seen an undercurrent of hostility to the black man and that in the 21st-century. I will relake a small incident. One of the persons known to me always talked of discrimination against the black man, but when his daughter expressed the desire to marry a black man he took out his gun and threatened to shoot the man dead.I dont think this undercurrent of hostilty is going to end, it is made worse by blacks reacting with arson and riots.

Rupert Taylor from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on June 01, 2021:

It was right here on Hu8bPages

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on June 01, 2021:

Likewise, I had never heard of this one but was aware of a few in Florida and one in North Carolina. It turns out these mass killing of Blacks happened all across the United States.

I will bet if one starts digging, they will find several where Chinese were slaughtered, at least in the Western States where they were so hated.

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