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Anthony T. Browder is an author, publisher, cultural historian, artist, and an educational consultant. He is a graduate of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts and has lectured extensively throughout the United States, Africa, Caribbean, Mexico, Japan and Europe, on issues related to African and African American History and Culture.
THIS TULSA VIDEO IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE TV DOCUMENTARY
"4 THE HARD WAY: AGAINST ALL ODDS"
Video Production: Bob Lott - Editing by Sharon "Sparkle" Cobb
The Tulsa race massacre (also called the Tulsa race riot, the Greenwood Massacre, or the Black Wall Street Massacre) of 1921 took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
After shots were fired and chaos broke out, the outnumbered group of black men retreated to Greenwood.
Over the next several hours, groups of white Tulsans—some of whom were deputized and given weapons by city officials—committed numerous acts of violence against black people, including shooting an unarmed man in a movie theater.
The false belief that a large-scale insurrection among black Tulsans was underway, including reinforcements from nearby towns and cities with large African-American populations, fueled the growing hysteria.
As dawn broke on June 1, thousands of white citizens poured into the Greenwood District, looting and burning homes and businesses over an area of 35 city blocks. Firefighters who arrived to help put out fires later testified that rioters had threatened them with guns and forced them to leave.
In the hours after the Tulsa Race Massacre, all charges against Dick Rowland were dropped. The police concluded that Rowland had most likely stumbled into Page, or stepped on her foot. Kept safely under guard in the jail during the riot, he left Tulsa the next morning and reportedly never returned.
The “official” tally of deaths in the massacre was 36 people killed, including 10 white people. Even by that estimate—which historians now consider much too low—the Tulsa Race Massacre stood as one of the deadliest riots in U.S. history, behind only the New York Draft Riots of 1863,
which killed at least 119 people.
For decades, there were no public ceremonies, memorials for the dead or any efforts to commemorate the events of May 31-June 1, 1921. Instead, there was a deliberate effort to cover them up.