In Remembrance: 1921 Tulsa Massacre

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. If you go out and make good things happen, you fill the world with hope. And in doing so, you will fill yourself with hope.”

Barack Obama

These next two days mark the centennial of one of the worst racial massacres in U.S. history.  The cataclysm began with a story that played out several times throughout the 20th century: a young White woman claimed a Black man had assaulted her.  That launched an angry White mob in the pre-dawn hours of May 31, 2021.  And the result was a bloodbath that swept up an entire community; taking more than 300 lives; leaving a legacy of trauma, animosity and pain.

Only within recent years have the details of those events seen the light of truth.  The world of 1921 is considerably different than the world of 2021.

Despite the horrors of those days, we really have come a long way in race relations; that is the understanding of what it means to be human and what it means to be a community.  And we can only move forward.  The angry White gangs of 1921 Tulsa obliterated hundreds of innocent lives.  They destroyed an entire community.  But they couldn’t destroy an entire people.

Tulsa Race Massacre

7 Comments

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7 responses to “In Remembrance: 1921 Tulsa Massacre

  1. This is a shameful incident in history. So tragic. I can only hope that these and other racially inspired violent incidents are but stepping stones to better understanding between ethnicities.

    • Sadly, there are a slew of similar stories where entire autonomous communities in the U.S. were literally obliterated in the name of racial hatred. I didn’t learn of the Tulsa massacre until the 1990s. And that was a few years after I learned of a similar incident in Rosewood, Florida in 1923.

      Those are just two incidents from the 20th century. That doesn’t count the scores of Indigenous American communities destroyed by White settlers advancing across North America, starting in the 16th century.

      I must note individual communities were destroyed, but entire racial / ethnic groups weren’t destroyed. That’s an impossibility. But it’s only been within the past 30 years or so that the U.S. has begun to reconcile with its sanguineous past. Better late than never I guess!

      • Minorities or non white populations have often been decimated by others throughout time. We consider most of the world to be civilised now so that should put an end to this kind of hatred. We are still making baby steps but steps forward, nonetheless.

      • Yes, I’ve always thought it amazing how White European and American missionaries seem to feel they know what’s best for other societies and that – if the latter adopt Christian ideologies – their lives would be improved instantly. In other words, they’d stop being heathens or savages. But, in fact, many of those religious zealots are even more heathenous in their views and behavior.

      • That is true! There is a lot of hypocrisy in religions.

  2. On Montgomery AL is the Legacy Museum where the history of slavery and mass incarceration of Black people is on display. I’ve not been yet but I will go. I did learn from their web site of a lynching that took place in this town. No one here talks about it.

    • It seemed to take light-years to build any museum to honor the struggles of African-Americans and the brutal legacy of slavery; same with the National Museum of the Native American. Countless lynchings and other racial crimes have occurred throughout the U.S., but with little to no information on them. While nothing can ever be done to ameliorate those atrocities, we can acknowledge what we know has happened and continue moving forward.

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