Biden to Recognize Tulsa Massacre’s Centennial in Visit to City
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden plans to travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 1 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of a race massacre that wiped out one of the nation’s most prosperous Black neighborhoods.
Beginning May 31, 1921, a White mob destroyed Tulsa’s predominantly African-American Greenwood district, known as “Black Wall Street” for its abundance of Black-owned businesses. An unknown number of people were killed, with estimates ranging from 50 to 300, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Biden has made racial equity a centerpiece of his presidency. African-American voters resuscitated his flailing primary campaign and propelled his electoral victory in November. On Tuesday, Biden met with members of George Floyd’s family at the White House, on the first anniversary of his murder at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer.
Floyd’s death sparked the largest wave of racial protests since the Civil Rights era.
The Tulsa massacre was one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history, but for decades was little known outside Oklahoma. The incident has received more public attention recently, even featuring in the plot of the 2019 Emmy-winning HBO series “Watchmen.”
Former President Donald Trump was criticized last summer for holding a campaign rally in Tulsa during the weekend of Juneteenth, a date celebrated by Black Americans to commemorate the end of slavery.
Last week, a 107-year-old survivor of the massacre, Viola Fletcher, recounted having to flee her family’s home in testimony to a House subcommittee.
“I will never forget the violence of the White mob when we left our house,” she said. “I still see Black men being shot, and Black bodies lying in the street. I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I live through the Massacre every day.”
“Our country may forget this history,” she told the subcommitee. “I cannot. I will not. The other survivors do not. And our descendants do not.”
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