An American Holocaust: Mass Murder in Tulsa

May 31st, 2021 - by Hon. Barbara Lee / House of Representatives

Justice for Greenwood. The Centennial of a Racist Massacre

Hon. Barbara Lee / House of Representatives

(May 30, 2021) — Tomorrow marks the 100 year anniversary since the Tulsa Race Massacre — the single largest act of domestic terrorism in our nation’s history. It is an anniversary of pain, grief, and forgottenness.

Greenwood — known also as Black Wall Street — was an affluent, self-sustaining Black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma that was a beacon of burgeoning success and economic power for Black families.

But this success came with white resentment. And in 1921, after a white woman made a false rape allegation against a Black Greenwood resident, white mobs flooded to Greenwood in response.

White residents, police officers, Oklahoma National guardsmen, and Ku Klux Klansmen alike firebombed the Black neighborhood, destroying over 100 businesses and burning 40 city blocks to the ground.

By morning, Black Wall Street — the single greatest model of Black prosperity at the time — was reduced to rubble. Over 300 Black Tulsans were murdered. And not a single white perpetrator was arrested for their crimes that day.

No arrests. No convictions. And to this day, no reparations for the 10,000 displaced residents or the $100 million in property that was lost.

Tomorrow, I’ll be attending a centennial commemoration of the Tulsa Race Massacre with a heavy heart and fierce determination for justice.

And this week especially, I’m thinking about Justice for Greenwood, an organization fighting for financial compensation for the victims and their descendants, accountability for the perpetrators, documentation and publication of victims’ stories, and the truth about what happened during and after the 1921 massacre.

We cannot let ourselves forget this painful history.

ACTION: If you would like to support their ongoing work on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, I encourage you to click below and make a contribution to Justice for Greenwood.

Thank you, and I hope you join me in lifting up the stories of the victims and their descendants.

In solidarity,

Barbara Lee