Biden… the first American president to commemorate the ethnic massacre in “Tulsa”
A hundred years after a crowd of whites burned and destroyed Black Wall Street, killing and wounding an estimated hundreds of African Americans, and forcing thousands to leave their homes, US President Joe Biden is visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tuesday, to commemorate one One of the bloodiest racial massacres in the history of the United States.
Biden will deliver a speech on the centenary of the attack and speak to the three survivors who are still alive, now between 101 and 107.
On Monday, the White House issued a proclamation calling on Americans to “commemorate the massive loss of life and security that occurred during these two days in 1921, to celebrate the courage and resilience of those who survived and sought to rebuild their lives, once again, and to commit together to eliminate systemic racism and aid.” In rebuilding societies and the lives that they destroyed. ”
“We respect the legacy of the Greenwood and Black Wall Street community by reaffirming our commitment to promoting racial justice in our entire government and working to eradicate systemic racism from our laws, policies, and our hearts,” the statement added.
By talking about the history of black perseverance and racist backlash, Biden will pledge to the last survivors of the massacre, stressing that “the nation will never forget this event.”
The Tulsa Massacre of May 31, 1921, was largely ignored by US presidents for a century, and they did not make a single trip to honor those killed in the once-thriving black Greenwood neighborhood.
Immediately after the massacre, the then US president, Warren J. Harding, he is “shocked” and expressed his hope that “such a scene will never be witnessed again in this country,” an appeal that the federal government did little to secure.
The massacre wiped out the fortunes that African Americans had accumulated over decades in Tulsa, which was booming at the time, and was estimated at more than $ 200 million in the current currency’s value.
Former US President Donald Trump visited Tulsa last June to attend his first election rally amid the emerging coronavirus pandemic. He faced criticism for his visit coinciding with the day of the celebration of the emancipation of slaves in the United States.
But Trump did not mention the massacre in his statements, which made headlines due to his announcement that he wanted to slow the pace of Covid-19 tests.
US Today quoted a University of Michigan professor and author of “Death in the Promised Land: The Racial Riots in Tulsa of 1921”, Scott Ellsworth, saying that “it is essential for the president of the United States to come here.”
Ellsworth said that Biden’s visit to the city on the anniversary of the massacre, describing it as “the worst incident of racial violence in American history,” was important to focus on the major efforts to address the past failures of racial equality.
The story of the massacre
The killings began during the Memorial Day weekend of 1921 when black shoe rider Dick Rowland was falsely accused of attempting to rape the 17-year-old white girl, Sarah Page.
Fearing Roland’s summary execution, about 75 black men gathered with their weapons in the courtroom to guard him, confronting about 1,500 white people.
Although black men withdrew to Greenwood, whites pursued them, looted and burned homes and businesses, and shot the black residents indiscriminately.
The violence killed nearly 300 people, displaced thousands, and destroyed the personal wealth of African Americans in the city, including savings that residents kept in homes because they mistrusted white-owned banks.
The three surviving survivors testified last month before a judicial subcommittee in the House of Representatives. “I’ll never forget the violence of the white mob when we left our home,” said Viola Fletcher, 107.
Fletcher added that she still saw “black men being shot, black bodies lying in the streets,” adding: “I still smell smoke and see fire, I still see black businesses being burned.”