TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – It was supposed to be a nationally-televised, star-studded event commemorating a horrific tragedy in the Greenwood District of Tulsa. One hundred years after white mobs razed “Black Wall Street,” the highly-publicized Remember and Rise ceremony has been cancelled.
The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission cited “unexpected circumstances with entertainers and speakers.”
Monday’s grand event in Tulsa was years in the making with high anticipation and national interest. The shocking last-minute announcement Thursday caused much disappointment across Oklahoma and the country.
The Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday that the Tulsa Race Massacre commemoration events could be a target for white supremacists.
In an intelligence brief, DHS states that they haven’t seen any credible threats, but “the current Homeland threat environment remains heightened.”
Community leader and Oklahoma City Police Department Lieutenant Wayland Cubit expressed his disappointment in the cancellation.
“It’s a punch in the gut because it’s been a whole lot of build up,” he said. “I was looking forward to this day of remembrance – not necessarily celebration – to be with other people in the community in a show of solidarity to remember what happened. It’s really pretty disappointing and frustrating.”
He said the event was supposed to be a time of great acknowledgement and healing for not only Oklahoma, but also the entire United States.
“If there’s people out there attempting to derail it with threats or such – I’m not sure if that’s actually what caused it to be canceled – but let’s say if it was, that’s a sign for how much work we still have yet to do,” Cubit said.
The Commission will still hold some events such as a candlelight vigil on Monday night, but the main event is postponed.
Stacey Abrams was scheduled to be the keynote speaker and John Legend was set to perform during Remember and Rise.
President Joe Biden announced plans to travel to Tulsa to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre on Tuesday, June 1.
White House officials tell KFOR Biden is still scheduled for this visit.
Be sure to get fresh headlines delivered to your inbox weekday mornings! You can also sign-up for breaking email alerts! KFOR.com/Newsletters