OU to host exhibit on Tulsa Race Massacre

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TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – A local university is hosting a panel discussion and library exhibit on one of the darkest days in Oklahoma history.

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

But, on June 1, 1921, the entire area was burned down as a result of a riot that began after a black man was accused of assaulting a white woman.

Tulsa Race Massacre
Tulsa Race Massacre

White residents attacked the community, 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.

“For decades, Oklahoma schools did not talk about it. In fact, newspapers didn’t even print any information about the Tulsa Race Riot. It was completely ignored. It was one of those horrible events that everyone wanted to just sweep under the rug and ignore,” U.S. Senator James Lankford said.

Even though it’s been nearly 100 years since the attack, leaders say the community never fully recovered.

Tulsa Race Massacre
Tulsa Race Massacre. Courtesy: Oklahoma Historical Society

Now, the University of Oklahoma will host a curators’ talk, panel discussion, and library exhibit to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the attack.

“As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, reflecting on this tragedy and fully understanding our history through ongoing, meaningful dialogue is one of the ways we can work toward building an inclusive culture on our campus and beyond,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr.

The event, which is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on Sept. 24, will be livestreamed.

The event will feature a livestreamed curators’ talk presented by Mechelle Brown and Karlos K. Hill, who curated Bizzell Memorial Library’s upcoming exhibit From Tragedy to Triumph: Race Massacre Survivor Stories.

During the talk, Brown, program coordinator and tour guide at Tulsa’s Greenwood Cultural Center, and Hill, chair of the Clara Luper Department of African and African American Studies at OU, will shed light on the exhibit, which will tell the story of the massacre through a combination of compelling photographs and vivid eyewitness accounts from survivors.

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