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Fri Jun 1, 2012, 01:35 AM

91 years ago...The Tulsa Race Riots (May 31 - June 1, 1921)

Many people aren't aware of this event. Being Oklahoma, I was surprised at the number of people here who had never heard of it. It is now being taught in public schools after years of never being mentioned. Here are a few educational/informational links.


The history of the United States has produced much in the way of race riots, from the New York City riots of 1862 to the Los Angeles riots of 1991, this country has experienced much civil unrest between blacks and whites. The year 1919 was particularly noted for the large number of riots in the urban areas of the North where returning white veterans of WWI competed with Southern Blacks for jobs during the post-war depression. Again, in 1923, a racial confrontation erupted in Rosewood, Fl. There eight blacks and two whites died during the destruction of the Black community of Rosewood. However, the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 was perhaps the costliest incident of racial violence in American history. At the same time, it is perhaps the most marginalized, being almost forgotten until this decade.

The Riot began on May, 31,1921 because of an incident the day before. A black man named Dick Rowland, stepped into an elevator in the Drexel Building operated by a woman named Sarah Page. Suddenly, a scream was heard and Rowland got nervous and ran out. Rowland was accused of a sexual attack against Page. One version of the incident holds that Rowland stepped on Page's foot, throwing her off balance. When Rowland reached out to keep her from falling, she screamed. The next day, Rowland was arrested and held in the courthouse lockup. Headlines in the local newspapers inflamed public opinion and there was talk in the white community of lynch justice. The black community, equally incensed, prepared to defend him. Outside the courthouse, 75 armed black men mustered, offering their services to protect Rowland The Sheriff refused the offer.

A white man then tried to disarm one of the black men. While they were wrestling over the gun, it discharged. That was the spark the turned the incident into a massive racial conflict. Fighting broke out and continued through the night. Homes were looted and burned.

http://www.mc.cc.md.us/Departments/hpolscrv/VdeLaOliva.html




The Tulsa Race Riot was a large-scale racially motivated conflict on May 31 and June 1, 1921, between the white and black communities of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which the wealthiest African-American community in the United States, the Greenwood District also known as 'the Negro Wall Street'[1] was burned to the ground. During the 16 hours of the assault, over 800 people were admitted to local hospitals with injuries, more than 6,000 Greenwood residents were arrested and detained at three local facilities.[2] An estimated 10,000 were left homeless, and 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire. The official count of the dead by the Oklahoma Department of Vital Statistics was 39, but other estimates of black fatalities have been up to about 300.[2]

The events of the riot were omitted from local and state history; "The Tulsa race riot of 1921 was rarely mentioned in history books, classrooms or even in private. Blacks and whites alike grew into middle age unaware of what had taken place."[3] In 1996, the state legislature commissioned a report, completed in 2001, to establish the historical record. It has approved some compensatory actions, such as scholarships for descendants of survivors, economic development of Greenwood, and a memorial park, dedicated in 2010, to the victims in Tulsa.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsa_race_riot




Historical events, be they great or small, do not exist in isolation, but are a product of the age during which they occurred. Often times, the reasons why a particular historical incident turned out the way it did can be readily located, while for others, the causes may be more difficult to locate. In both cases, one rule still holds true: that the events of the past cannot be separated from the era when they occurred.

The same applies to the Tulsa race riot as well. To understand the riot, one cannot begin with the first shot that was fired, nor even with the seemingly insignificant chain of events that led to the first signs of real trouble. Rather, we must begin with the spirit of the times. Only seeing the world as Tulsans did in 1921, and by grasping both their passions and their fears, can we comprehend not only how this great tragedy could occur, but why, in the end, that it did.

Of all the qualities that impressed out-of-town visitors about Tulsa in the days before the race riot, one of them was just how new and up-to-date everything seemed. From the modern office buildings that were rising up out of downtown, to the electric trolleys that rumbled back and forth along Main Street, to the rows of freshly painted houses that kept pushing the city limits further and further into the surrounding countryside, compared to other cities, Tulsa was nothing short of an overnight sensation. Indeed, Tulsa had grown so much and so fast -- in a now-you-don't-see-it, now-you-do kind of fashion -- that local boosters called it the Magic City.

The elixir which had fueled this remarkable growth was, of course, oil. The discovery of the nearby Glenn Pool -- reputed to be the "richest small oil field in the world" -- in 1905, and by the farsightedness of local leaders to build a bridge across the Arkansas River one year earlier, the sleepy rural crossroads known as Tulsa, Indian Territory. was suddenly catapulted into the urban age.

http://www.tulsareparations.org/TulsaRiot.htm



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Reply 91 years ago...The Tulsa Race Riots (May 31 - June 1, 1921) (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Jun 2012 OP
Solly Mack Jun 2012 #1
Behind the Aegis Jun 2012 #3
leftstreet Jun 2012 #2

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 03:05 AM

1. k/r

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 01:40 PM

3. Thanks!

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 03:18 AM

2. K&R

Thanks for posting this.

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