Stacey Abrams announced as keynote speaker for Tulsa Race Massacre event

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TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission announced on Wednesday that Stacey Abrams will be the keynote speaker for the centennial anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

It has been nearly 100 years, but city leaders in Tulsa say they are still searching for closure after the 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.ADVERTISING4 people, including 2 children, killed in Custer County crash 

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.

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

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.

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

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

Although there are estimates regarding the casualties that occurred during the attack, officials have been working for more than a year to find all of the victims.

Crews have been excavating Tulsa cemeteries in search of unmarked graves that may contain the remains of the massacre victims.

In October, excavations began on two parts of the Oaklawn Cemetery.

In this July 14, 2020, file photo, workers climb out of the excavation site as work continues on a potential unmarked mass grave from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, at Oaklawn Cemetery in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)
In this July 14, 2020, file photo, workers climb out of the excavation site as work continues on a potential unmarked mass grave from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, at Oaklawn Cemetery in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)

As the search for victims continues, officials say it is time the nation learned about the dark day in Oklahoma history.

The nationally-televised ‘Remember & Rise’ event will commemorate the centennial anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

The event will feature keynote speeches from national civic leaders and musical performances from additional artists.

It will also honor distinguished guests including survivors and descendants of the massacre.

“As a community, we will gather and remember the deadly days of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. We will share examples of how the community rose from those ashes to rebuild while also providing a message of unity and hope for the present and future generations of Black Tulsans, Oklahomans and Americans,” said 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission Project Director Phil Armstrong.

ONEOK Field, an outdoor venue in the Greenwood District, will host the event on the 100-year anniversary of the massacre, which falls on May 31, 2021.

Captured at Private Home in Atlanta, Georgia, USA — settings: Camera: ILCE-9, focal length: 135mm, SS: 1/320, Aperture: f/4, ISO: 200, Flash: off — by Kevin Lowery

Abrams, a voting rights activist, served for 11 years in the Georgia House of Representatives and was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2018. She was the first Black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States. She was also the first Black woman and first Georgian to deliver a Response to the State of the Union.

“We are honored to welcome Stacey Abrams to Tulsa for the Centennial,” said Phil\ Armstrong, Project Director for the Centennial Commission. “Her tireless efforts to create equity and access for Black Georgia voters has inspired the entire country to reenvision what inclusive structures, systems
and communities should look like. We are excited to hear from Stacey in person and apply her tenacity and dedication to the reconciliation of Greenwood beyond this year.”

Abrams is best known for a decade of voter-access and political infrastructure work that turned the state of Georgia democratic in 2020.

“The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre is a story of remarkable loss and tragedy, but it also speaks to the
resilience and strength of the Greenwood community. This Centennial commemoration compels us to reflect on this tragic history, without which reconciliation is impossible. Its reverberations continue across communities today, where too many Black Americans face economic hardship, disproportionate police and gun violence, and assaults on their freedom to vote,” Abrams said. “I join in the recognition of what Tulsa’s Black families endured 100 years ago, knowing that together, we can create a more equitable nation where systemic racism is conquered at last.”

The formal program will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Musical performances will continue throughout the evening before a candlelight vigil is held on the streets of the Greenwood District.

To reserve a ticket, visit the commission’s website.

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

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