Oklahoma’s Congressional Delegation passes resolutions to remember Tulsa Race Massacre

Local

WASHINGTON (KFOR) – As the Oklahoma community gets ready to remember one of the darkest days in state history, Congressional leaders have passed a resolution to accurately tell the history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

The Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma was once called the “Black Wall Street,” a 35-block radius in the segregated community that was thriving with hundreds of businesses.

3rd June 1921: injured and wounded men are being taken to hospital by National guardsmen after racially motivated riots, also known as the "Tulsa Race Massacre", during which a mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, US. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
3rd June 1921: injured and wounded men are being taken to hospital by National guardsmen after racially motivated riots, also known as the “Tulsa Race Massacre”, during which a mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, US. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

But, on May 31 through June 1, 1921, the entire area was burned down as a white mob attacked the community after a Black man was accused of assaulting a white woman.

White residents burned down homes and businesses, killing hundreds of Black residents and injuring 800 others.

Despite it being one of the worst instances of racial violence in the United States, the massacre was mostly swept under the rug.

“Next week is a somber anniversary—100 years since the Tulsa Massacre. Before 1921, Greenwood District, also known as Black Wall Street, was a vibrant, thriving prosperous Black community,” Inhofe said. “But then, the evening of May 31 into the early morning of June 1, 1921—there was a horrific massacre where hundreds of Black Tulsans were murdered and thousands were made homeless overnight. It was truly terrible and horrific. That’s why it is important to come together to honor the victims and their families and share their stories today and with future generations. I’m honored to co-sponsor Senator Lankford’s resolution today to remember this anniversary. Together, we can all work to lift up the story of Black Wall Street and use this anniversary to remember, reflect and work—as we do every day—towards reconciliation.”

On Tuesday the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation introduced and passed a resolution in the Senate to bright to light the events of that day.

The resolution also recognizes Oklahoma’s historically Black towns.

“This is our moment as a state to honor and recognize the lives lost, the survivors, and the continued growth of Greenwood on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre,” said Sen. James Lankford. “Oklahomans want the nation to know the accurate history of events 100 years ago, the growing economic development in the Greenwood District, and the continued work toward reconciliation. The importance of this work will grow after the anniversary, and I look forward to continuing to walk with my many friends in Greenwood as well as tell the story of tragedy to triumph.”

A similar resolution was also introduced in the House of Representatives led by
Rep. Kevin Hern, Rep. Frank Lucas, Rep. Tom Cole, Rep. Markwayne Mullin, and Rep. Stephanie Bice.

“The Tulsa Race Massacre is an important piece of our history, and it’s important to own that,” said Hern. “The destruction of Black Wall Street devastated economic opportunities for generations of Tulsa’s Black families. Our resolution honors the loss of those who were killed 100 years ago and acknowledges this painful memory in our city’s history as the horrific and race-motivated attack it was. 100 years later, we still have a long way to go. The centennial is an opportunity to remember, and this resolution helps us tell the world the accurate story of what happened on our streets in 1921 and how it shaped our city in the years after. As we move forward past this week’s centennial, we continue to strive for reconciliation. I’m proud of the recent investments in Greenwood to bring back Black Wall Street, and I hope to see it continue to grow and thrive at the heart of Tulsa.”

FILE - In this June 15, 2020 file photo, Freeman Culver stands in front of a mural listing the names of businesses destroyed during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in Tulsa, Okla. Attorneys for victims and their descendants affected by the 1921 massacre filed a lawsuit in state court on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, against the City of Tulsa and other defendants seeking reparations for the destruction of the city's once thriving Black district. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)
FILE – In this June 15, 2020 file photo, Freeman Culver stands in front of a mural listing the names of businesses destroyed during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in Tulsa, Okla. Attorneys for victims and their descendants affected by the 1921 massacre filed a lawsuit in state court on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, against the City of Tulsa and other defendants seeking reparations for the destruction of the city’s once thriving Black district. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)

“More than a century ago, Tulsa’s Greenwood District was defined by opportunity and prosperity for Tulsa’s Black community,” Lucas said. “As we approach the centennial, I’m honored to join Oklahoma’s Congressional Delegation in commemorating the somber anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. As Oklahomans and others from across the United States join efforts to amplify the voices of Black Tulsans and reconcile with the families who were devastatingly impacted, it’s incredibly important that we, as a community, continue to reflect and learn from history’s tragic events. Our efforts and healing will continue long after the 100th anniversary and I look forward to witnessing our community’s growth for years to come.”

“A century since the Tulsa Race Massacre, we recall with great sadness the series of events and incidents that led to one of the worst tragedies in American history,” said Cole. “We must never forget what happened over the course of those dark days 100 years ago. Indeed, we must always remember the historical significance of what occurred to ensure something like it never happens again. I am proud to join in solidarity with Oklahoma’s entire congressional to mark this centennial and to recognize our state’s historically Black towns.”

In this 1921 image provided by the Library of Congress, smoke billows over Tulsa, Okla. For decades, when it was discussed at all, the killing of hundreds of people in a prosperous black business district in 1921 was referred to as the Tulsa race riot. Under new standards developed by teachers for approaching the topic, students are encouraged to consider the differences between labeling it a “massacre” instead of a “riot,” as it is still commemorated in state laws. (Alvin C. Krupnick Co./Library of Congress via AP)
In this 1921 image provided by the Library of Congress, smoke billows over Tulsa, Okla. For decades, when it was discussed at all, the killing of hundreds of people in a prosperous black business district in 1921 was referred to as the Tulsa race riot. Under new standards developed by teachers for approaching the topic, students are encouraged to consider the differences between labeling it a “massacre” instead of a “riot,” as it is still commemorated in state laws. (Alvin C. Krupnick Co./Library of Congress via AP)

“The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre was the worst act of racial violence our country has ever seen,” said Mullin. “On the 100th anniversary of this solemn occasion, it is imperative we come together and remember what happened that day. As Oklahomans, we will continue to grow and move forward.”

“The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre was one of the darkest moments in our state and our nation’s history,” said Bice. “There is still much work to be done, in Tulsa, the state of Oklahoma, and nationwide, to heal our community, educate the public about the horrific events of the past, and ensure such a tragedy never occurs again. While significant progress has been made, this resolution allows us as Oklahomans to not only recognize the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, but to also ensure that victims and survivors’ stories are known to future generations of Oklahomans and Americans.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Featured

More Featured Stories

Latest News

More News

National News

More National

Washington D.C.

More Washington

Your Local Election HQ

More Your Local Election HQ

Daily Oklahoma Coronavirus Data

Contact In Your Corner Team

Latest News

More News

SCAN ME: KFOR App QR Code

image of QR Code

KFOR Digital Originals

More Digital Original

Popular

Follow @KFOR on Twitter

Border Report

More Border Report