OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State and national leaders are praising the designation of a local park that honors the lives lost during the Tulsa Race Massacre as an official member of the African American Civil Rights Network.
Last week, President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt decided to designate the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park as an official member of the African American Civil Rights Network.
The African American Civil Rights Network Act authorizes the National Park Service to coordinate and facilitate federal and non-federal activities to commemorate, honor, and interpret this history of the African American Civil Rights movement.
“This site memorializes the tragedy of lives lost to racial violence and honors the legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin who transformed our understanding of American history through his scholarship and activism,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “At the direction of President Trump, it is my honor to designate the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park as the 29th addition to the African American Civil Rights Network.”
The John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park was built to remember the lives lost during the Tulsa Race Massacre and honor the legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin.
The Tulsa Race Massacre occurred on June 1, 1921 in the Greenwood District, which was known as ‘Black Wall Street.’
A mob of white residents attacked the community, burning down businesses, homes, and churches. Officials believe hundreds of black residents were murdered in the massacre.
Dr. Franklin, the son of a Tulsa Massacre survivor, transformed the nation’s understanding of American history through his activism.
“My father, historian John Hope Franklin, Chairman of the National Park Service Advisory Board from 1999-2001, would be pleased that the National Park Service is adding Greenwood’s story to the African American Civil Rights Network,” said Dr. John Hope Franklin’s son, Dr. John W. Franklin. “His father, my grandfather, Attorney Buck Coilbert Franklin, survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and assisted his neighbors in rebuilding their devastated community.”
John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park features Hope Plaza and the Tower of Reconciliation, which memorializes the history of African Americans in Oklahoma and honors the lives lost during the massacre.
The park is owned by the City of Tulsa and managed by the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, Inc.
“John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park is much more than a quiet place to visit and reflect. It serves as a challenge to people of all places and races to come together in the spirit of dialogue, understanding, and reconciliation,” said Sen. James Lankford. “Tulsa has seen the worst of racial hatred but as we approach the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, this park will help us show America the best of humanity by helping people overcome division and move forward in racial harmony. President Trump has ensured national recognition of this important part of Tulsa’s history, and we are grateful that he has designated this site as part of the African American Civil Rights Network.”
“By recognizing the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, President Trump is shining a light on one of the most moving, unique memorials in the United States,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe. “As is in its name, the park emphasizes the importance of reconciliation to promote healing in our community. It is a living monument in the spirit of John Hope Franklin, regularly hosting events, conversations and educational opportunities to promote engagement and a positive, bright future for Tulsa, Oklahoma and the nation.”
“Designating this site as an official African American Civil Rights Network will help ensure Americans are and remain aware of the tragic violence that occurred 99 years ago in Tulsa,” said Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. “This is a great step forward as we move toward a place of reconciliation and inspire generations to work together to fight injustice.”
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum says the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park will serve as the first Oklahoma site to join the federal register as an official African American Civil Rights Network site.
“I am calling on Oklahomans to carry out the Oklahoma Standard and ensure it extends to all,” said Gov. Stitt. “We must raise our children to love all people and educate them about our history so that future generations can avoid the division that has plagued us.”
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