100 years later: Several events honor lives lost during 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Tulsa Race Massacre

TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – Several events in Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District on Monday honored the lives lost during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre for the 100th anniversary. 

 “They couldn’t ever really replicate what they lost here,”  Dr. Keesha Powell-Roach, a descendant of survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, told News 4. 

Powell-Roach is talking about her great grandparents, who miraculously survived the massacre. 

“At the time of the massacre, they were able to escape in the back of a hay truck under hay. They went to St. Louis and then they relocated in Chicago,” she said. 

Powell-Roach and her family are still living in Chicago. This trip to Tulsa for the 100th anniversary of the massacre is her first time visiting a place that forever changed her family’s legacy. 

“I knew about it from my family. It was never in our history books. It was just really sad because if I would ask anybody if they knew about it, tell somebody about it, they would think I was creating an urban legend,” Powell-Roach said. 

Powell-Roach joined other descendants of massacre survivors on Monday who gathered in Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District to honor and remember the lives taken and changed on one of Oklahoma’s darkest days. 

Several religious leaders, including Reverend Jesse Jackson, spoke at the Prayer Wall for Racial Healing dedication ceremony at Greenwood’s historic Vernon A.M.E. church, which is the only black-owned structure left standing from the Black Wall Street era. 

The Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus was also in Greenwood on Monday for the remembrance events. 

“Despite the damage done, the race massacre remains one of the least known incidents of racial violence and injustice today,” Rep. Jason Lowe, (D) Oklahoma City, said. 

 “We also know there can be no justice without reparations. It’s real simple,”  Rep. Regina Goodwin, (D) Tulsa, said. 

A cry for justice, following something many are calling one of our country’s greatest, darkest secrets. 

“It’s not something that you can continue to push under the rug, or push away or write out of the history,” Powell-Roach said. 

President Biden will be visiting Tulsa’s Greenwood District on Tuesday. KFOR will have full coverage on air and online.

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