ASU professor discusses effects of Tulsa Massacre more than 100 years later

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More than 100 years ago, white residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma looted, burned and bombed a business section of the city occupied by African Americans.

Hundreds of residents of the Greenwood District were killed and much of what was known as the “Black Wall Street” was destroyed. We talked about the legacy of what happened in Tulsa with ASU Professor Rashad Shabazz.

After white residents looted, burned and killed over 300 members of the Greenwood community and ran many others out of town, they then bulldozed the town and built over it, erasing the history of the horrific crime, Shabazz said.

Shabazz explained that the police, the mayor, the city council and the press buried what happened, destroying documentation in an attempt to erase it from the town’s history.

There were no arrests made and no repercussions- those who perpetrated this crime got away with it, and not only did they get away with it, but vast members of the broader community were able to steal their land, Shabazz said. 

Wealth in the form of land acquisition was stolen from members of the Greenwood community, and it is yet to be repaid. That stolen land was used to build wealth for white residents in Tulsa for generations, Shabazz said. 

“What needs to happen is that the greenwood community and black Tulsans need a material reparation in a form of land, housing subsidies, buildings, and helping to rebuild businesses that were lost in that time,” Shabazz said.

Rashad Shabazz; ASU Associate Professor, African and African American Studies.

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