Remembering the Tulsa Race Massacre 100 Years Later
(KYMA/KECY) - May 31, 2021 marks 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre. It was one of the most violent racial attacks in American history. A white mob killed some 300 Black residents and destroyed the thriving Greenwood business district. "For all of it to be gone in the course of a day, it's just heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking then and it's heartbreaking now," says Major General Michael C. Thompson of the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard.
A headline event with entertainers and speakers planned for Monday was canceled, but the community is not letting the day go unmarked.
Two of the three living survivors attended a final soil collection on Standpipe Hill, honoring the remaining unknown victims who perished there. Kristi Williams is a Greenwood activist and community historian. She says, "I also call this the valley of the dry bones, and these bones have been speaking out for a very long time."
The emotional and economic effects have been felt for generations and sidelined in the history books.
"I remember specifically being told that they were not allowed to speak about any of the stuff that happened here. And that's like, not ok," says Jalen Riley. Jalen and Isaiah Riley's parents brought them to the only building that withstood the massacre, Vernon A.M.E. Church, for the dedication of a prayer wall where everyone is welcome to pray for racial healing.
President Biden will be in Tulsa on Tuesday (6/1) to pay his respects, the same day the city plans to start digging in an area that could contain a mass grave of victims from the massacre.