The city of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s racist and violent past has been all over the news lately.
That’s because last weekend was the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Survivors and descendents of the attack on Tulsa’s Greenwood district, a wealthy and thriving Black community known as Black Wall Street, hosted people like President Joe Biden for the Black Wall Street Legacy Festival.
Citizen Ed contributor and “Talk Dat Real Sh*t” co-host Nehemiah Frank was one of the chief organizers of the festival. He’s also a descendant of those whose lives and generational wealth were stolen in a single 18-hour period of violence 100 years ago.
When Frank moved back to his hometown of Tulsa in adulthood, he said the events of that day in 1921 were regularly described as a “riot,” but it was so much more, so he began the Black Wall Street Times in part to tell the real stories.
“That wasn’t a riot, that was a massacre,” he told Cross. “Three-hundred Black people lost their lives.”
And yet, Frank didn’t learn about this in a formal education setting until he was a legal adult.
“I had not learned about the massacre until I was in college,” he said, which is why he is so adamant about the fight for reparations for survivors and descendants of not only the Tulsa Race Massacre but others like it throughout American history.
“The city is responsible for the massacre,” Frank said because the names, addresses, and professions of massacre perpetrators are still available in university files of KKK members of the time. So Frank says it’s time for the city and the country as a whole to respond adequately to “our national shame.”
After all, the city spent a century hiding this deadly attack.
“We never learned about it is because why would our enemies want to teach the children of greatness, right?” Frank said. “Why would they want to teach them how great they can become once again?”
For more information about the massacre, there is a feature-length NBC documentary called “Blood on Black Wall Street,” which you can watch on their website.
CNN also produced a documentary on the massacre called “Dreamland.”
BWST Was Everywhere In Tulsa Over the Weekend
Seriously, check out all the eyeballs that were directed to this long-obscured piece of hard truth about America, and about the current issues harming Black and brown communities today.
The Black Wall Street Times hosted a Black Lives Matter panel discussion featuring family members of those gunned down by police.
They honored the victims whose identities were never learned.
They reiterated the power of Black-owned media to give Black people the power over their own stories they often lack in American history.