Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Tulsa Race Riot Cover Up

  Not many years after 1907 statehood, a race riot in 1921 convulsed Tulsa. The triggering event, inflamed by local newspaper reports, was an accusation that a black man had sexually assaulted a white woman. Racial tensions, abetted by growing Ku Klux Klan activities, had been on the rise for some time. Some commentators have described the riot as one of the nation's worst. The body count is uncertain but ranges from seventy or eighty to as many as three hundred. A destructive fire raged through the Greenwood District, destroying homes and a prosperous business section. Thousands of blacks were rounded up as "suspects" and jailed, some for a week or so. At the time, many whites reacted with horror. But a veil of denial, created mainly by public officials, descended.


History books usually gave this episode only passing mention. Not until the late 1990s was the riot reexamined and made the subject of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission that undertook further inquiry, including consideration of possible reparations. Whatever else might be said, the veil of denial had been lifted.


Here's a research paper, presented by an undergrad student at the University of Tulsa, nearly 70 years later.

THE TULSA RACE RIOT OF 1921

BY I. MARC CARLSON

  The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 is a little-known and somewhat misunderstood event in the history of the United States. It is generally considered, on those rare occasions it is discussed, to have been an isolated event in Tulsa's past that resulted in death and considerable destruction. The theories about what happened and why are divers and often conflicting. With the paucity of information available, it is difficult to determine absolutely the course of events. Enough evidence exists, however, to justify the drawing of certain limited conclusions.The conclusions presented in this paper stem from a view the Tulsa Race Riot, not as a single occurrence, but as two separate but linked events. Each event evolved from separate sets of causes. Each set of causes originated in the social context that existed prior to the events. It should be possible to determine some of these causes and from there interpolate other logical causes.In the years bridging the second and third decades of the twentieth century, episodes of racial tension and violence were frequent. In July of 1917, East St. Louis, Illinois erupted into a bloody battle between blacks and whites after an aluminum plant began to hire black workers to break a strike.

Read more, here...

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