Tulsa City Council passes resolution to acknowledge, apologize for Tulsa Race Massacre, sets stage for reconciliation; the Rev. Jesse Jackson present

Tulsa Race Massacre

TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – The Tulsa City Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday night that acknowledges and apologizes for the Tulsa Race Massacre and sets the stage for reconciliation.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a Civil Rights icon, attended the City Council meeting to discuss the 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, according to KJRH.

However, most of the people who attended the meeting said more needs to be done, calling for reparations for survivors and descendants of Tulsa Race Massacre victims.

“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.”

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The Rev. Jesse Jackson at Tulsa City Hall. Photo courtesy of KJRH.

Jackson joined a protest at Tulsa City Hall prior to the Council meeting, championing the call for reparations, a day after he memorialized the victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre on the massacre’s centennial.

Go to KJRH for more information on the resolution.

Both Jackson and President Joe Biden were in Tulsa on Tuesday for the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, which lasted 18 hours from May 31 to June 1, 1921.

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President Joe Biden speaking about 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.

Biden also spoke about reparations for survivors, something the Rev. Jesse Jackson says needs to be accomplished. 

“People burned up and the insurance companies did not recognize their claims. We will get those claims back…restitution,” Jackson said on Tuesday. “It’s the right thing to do, you know, if we love one another and stop being angry and so mean, we will be better off.”

In this 1921 image provided by the Library of Congress, smoke billows over Tulsa, Okla. For decades, when it was discussed at all, the killing of hundreds of people in a prosperous black business district in 1921 was referred to as the Tulsa race riot. Under new standards developed by teachers for approaching the topic, students are encouraged to consider the differences between labeling it a “massacre” instead of a “riot,” as it is still commemorated in state laws. (Alvin C. Krupnick Co./Library of Congress via AP)
In this 1921 image provided by the Library of Congress, smoke billows over Tulsa, Okla. For decades, when it was discussed at all, the killing of hundreds of people in a prosperous black business district in 1921 was referred to as the Tulsa Race Massacre. Under new standards developed by teachers for approaching the topic, students are encouraged to consider the differences between labeling it a “massacre” instead of a “riot,” as it is still commemorated in state laws. (Alvin C. Krupnick Co./Library of Congress via AP)

The Tulsa Race Massacre 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.

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

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.

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