The Tulsa Massacre, by white people, left Black Tulsans dead and a community destroyed

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100 years ago today, White residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma looted, burned and bombed a section of the city occupied by successful African Americans. Hundreds of residents of the Greenwood District were killed and much of what was known as the “Black Wall Street” was destroyed. President Biden called it an act of hate and domestic terrorism. We talked about the legacy of what happened in Tulsa with ASU Professor, Rashad Shabazz.

“What happened was a national tragedy. A thriving black section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as Black Wall Street, was burned to the ground and looted and innocent civilians were killed by a ruthless mob of white Tulsans who were intent on destroying this community. They felt some threat had been made or a violation had been made from a white woman who had accused a black man of assaulting her, As was the case in so many other instances such as this. A white vigilante group went to the courthouse to lynch this young man who had been accused of this crime. Black residents showed up to defend him. A gun went off, and the white residents looted burned and killed over 300 members of the Greenwood community, ” Shabazz.

Another tragic part of this time in history is that, “…there were there were no arrests made. There were really no repercussions. The members of the Greenwood community did press charges they did patient lawsuits, but there were there was no justice that was given and those who perpetrated this crime got away with it. Not only did they get away with it, but vast members of the broader community were able to steal their land. That’s one of the important things to remember here. In addition to murdering people for wealth in the form of land acquisition, stolen from the members of the Greenwood community, and it has never been repaid. And as stolen land was used to build wealth for white residents in Tulsa for generations, many of whom live on them,” Shabazz said.

Rashad Shabazz, ASU Assoc. Professor, African and African American Studies

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