NOTE: The above video is presented with permission from KJRH.
TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – It was a solemn day of remembrance and reflection in Tulsa as community leaders, elected officials and descendants of Tulsa Race Massacre victims gathered for the dedication of the Greenwood Rising Center.
The dedication was held Wednesday, one day after the Tulsa Race Massacre’s two-day centennial.
Greenwood Rising Center gives visitors a minute-by-minute account of the horrors that occurred during the Tulsa Race Massacre, which lasted 18 hours from May 31 to June 1, 1921.
The Center will have audio accounts from those who survived the massacre, according to KJRH.
Brenda Nails-Alford, a descendant of a Tulsa Race Massacre survivor, told KJRH her family owned several Greenwood District businesses that were destroyed during the massacre.
“I want to honor the strength, courage and tenacity of my family members,” Nails-Alford said.
Go to KJRH for the full story on the Greenwood Rising Center dedication.
The dedication is the latest in a series of June events to commemorate the Tulsa Race Massacre, which occurred after a young Black teenager named Dick Rowland was accused of sexually assaulting a young white woman named Sarah Page.
A white mob laid siege to Tulsa’s Greenwood District, a prosperous Black community referred to as Black Wall Street. The mob killed and wounded scores of Black community members and looted and set fire to homes and businesses.
The 35-block district that had boomed with hundreds of thriving black businesses was reduced to charred ruins. Amid the destruction, hundreds of Black residents were killed and 800 others injured.
The 18 hours of unfathomable horror became mostly forgotten, and the Greenwood District, a shining beacon of Black prosperity and emergence during a time of immense racial suppression, never fully recovered.
Historians believe as many as 300 people were killed in the massacre.
Page later recanted her claim that Rowland assaulted her.
Now, crews search for victims of the massacre.
The City of Tulsa, on Tuesday, began a full excavation and analysis of Oaklawn Cemetery, the site where the original 18 victims, who listed in a funeral home ledger as killed in the massacre, are buried.
Experts believe the excavation could take weeks or even months depending on the needs in the field due to the size of the grave shaft and anticipated number of burials.
President Joe Biden and the Rev. Jesse Jackson were in Tulsa on Tuesday for the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Biden delivered a speech, saying that the Tulsa Race Massacre, long ignored in history books, must never be forgotten again.
“To all the descendants of those who suffered – to this community – that’s why we’re here, to shine a light, to make sure America knows the story in full,” Biden said.
Jackson remained in Tulsa on Wednesday and protested at City Hall for reparations for Tulsa Race Massacre survivors and descendants of victims.
Following the protest, he attended a City Council meeting to discuss a resolution that includes the city’s acknowledgement of and apology for the Tulsa Race Massacre and calls for a community-led process toward reconciliation efforts. The resolution unanimously passed, according to KJRH.
However, most of the people who attended the meeting said more needs to be done, calling for reparations.
“We have not seen justice yet,” said Jackson, who spoke during the meeting. “And until we see justice, we are the land of the oppressors and the home of the cowards.”
The remaining June events commemorating the Tulsa Race Massacre are as follows:
Thursday, June 3 – Sunday, June 13
- “Tulsa ’21: Black Wall Street” – Tulsa PAC
Friday, June 4 – Saturday, June 26
- Tulsa Artists’ Coalition presents Race Massacre exhibit – 9 E. Reconciliation Way
Sunday, June 6
- “All Rise” with Wynton Marshalls – 3 p.m. – BOK Center
Saturday, June 12
- “Legacy of the Tulsa Race Massacre” Roundtable Discussion – 1:30 p.m. – Oklahoma History Center
Saturday, June 12 – Monday, June 14
- Greenwood Film Festival – Greenwood Cultural Center and Circle Cinema
Friday, June 18
- BWS100 Cycling Event – 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Greenwood District
- Dedication of Historic Greenwood District Boundary Markers – 3:30-5:30 p.m. – 10 N. Greenwood Ave.
Saturday, June 19
- Juneteenth Festival – 9:21 a.m. – 10:21 p.m. – Greenwood District