99 years ago today, the Greenwood District of Tulsa, also known as Black Wall Street, burned to its ground after a mob of angry white people torched Black businesses and left 36 Black people dead.
What started the massacre? It’s a phenomenon that is still happening. A white woman, Sarah Page, basically cried wolf on May 30, 1921, when a young Black boy named Dick Rowland entered an elevator in the Drexel Building. Onsight, Page screamed once Rowland entered the elevator. He got startled and ran off.
Who knows that Page told her fellow white people what happened, but a newspaper headline declared she was sexually assaulted. Eventually, the town’s racist idiots formed a lynch mob to find Rowland, who had already been arrested.
The white angry mob attempted to get Sheriff Willard McCullough to hand over Rowland, but he did not. Black men in the town offered help in protecting Rowland, but he declined.
On June 1, the white angry mob grew angrier, they brandished weapons and fire. It is estimated that about 1500 white men were involved in the attack on Greenwood.
What was once a prosperous city, was burned to the ground. And to this day, although there are historical societies built around teaching people the history of the Tulsa Race War, you’ll be hard-pressed to find this history being taught in the classroom.
As cities across the country continue to burn, with people rioting and protesting about something that should be an inalienable right, remember the history of those who came before us. Remember their legacy. And remember that backing down isn’t an option.