The Black Wall Street Massacre AKA Tulsa Race Riots AKA Greenwood Massacre occurred 99 years ago today. On May 30th, 1921, 17-year old Sarah Page, a white elevator operator, accused 19-year Dick Rowland of assaulting her in a Drexel Building elevator. The next day, May 31st, 1921, Rowland was arrested.
As the story spread about the alleged assault and became more embellished, the Tulsa Tribune inflamed
the situation by writing a story entitled, "NAB NEGRO FOR ATTACKING GIRL IN ELEVATOR." After that story, a white mob gathered in front of the courthouse where Dick Rowland was being held. The Sheriff ordered the crowd to disperse, but it was ignored. The Sheriff then took precautions to protect Rowland.
Historians say that a false report that whites had stormed the courthouse got back to Greenwood. Black men decided they needed to take a stand to prevent Rowland from being lynched. A group of armed Black men, including WWI veterans, went to the courthouse and offered their assistance to defend the jail. The Sheriff assured the men that Rowland would be safe, so the men returned to Greenwood.
As the white mob continues to grow in front of the courthouse, once again, word gets back to Greenwood that a lynching will happen. A group of armed Black men returned to the courthouse. They are turned away again, but as they are leaving, a white man goes up to a Black vet and said, "Where are you going with that gun, Nigger?" The Black vet said, "I'm going to use it if I have to." The white guy replied, "No, you ain't." That is was the beginning of the race riot began.
A white mob went to Greenwood to get payback. Many police abandoned their duties and sided with the white thugs. Members of the mob were deputized and given the authority to arrest Black men. This left Greenwood defenseless as many Black men were arrested.
On June 1st, 1921, with most community members in detention centers, the white mob started LOOTING and BURNING the homes and businesses of Black Wall Street. An estimated 300 Blacks were murdered, and 1k homes and businesses were destroyed.
Sarah Page refused to testify against Dick Rowland. Rowland was exonerated and left town.
In writing about the Black Wall Stree Massacre, I can't help but think about what is happening now with
Uprising 2020. We have white police officers pretending to be protesters, causing property damage and no telling who is starting these fires. Isn't this nothing more than the modern-day version of deputizing a white mob member?
Just like Blacks were blamed for the Tulsa Riots, we will be blamed for any violence or damage caused during Uprising 2020.
Stay Safe, Stay Alert
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