A century after the massacre, the black Tulsans fight to be heard | national

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Tulsa, Oklahoma (AP) —In early Oklahoma, an angry white mob fueled by rumors of a black uprising burned a thriving African-American community in the oil boom town of Tulsa. The neighborhood was quietly rebuilt and experienced a Renaissance in the years following the genocide of 1921, but the struggle between blacks for their place in the city has not ended.

This month, local and state leaders officially recognize and redeem the massacre that claimed the lives of hundreds of people in a series of ceremonies, including a keynote address by national suffrage advocates. Stacey Abrams. President Joe Biden Also comes The White House announced to the city. But the Black Tulsans, in kind words, say that direct and subtle efforts are always aimed at curbing their influence and refraining from the equitable distribution of power.

Oklahoma history

Prior to the state of 1907, Oklahoma was home to Native American tribes that had been forced out of other areas by the expansion of whites. Later, the government also decided to open up the land, making it attractive to former slaves fleeing persecution in the south. Black species A person brought into the territory by a slave tribe.

Some African Americans participated in the Land Rush in the late 1800s. They included EP McCabe, the leader of the movement that wanted Oklahoma to be the majority of the black nation freed from white oppression.

“(McCabe) recruited black people to actually come to Oklahoma, based on the theory that Oklahoma is a new promised land for these people,” several books on black history in Oklahoma have said. The author, Oklahoma historian Hannibal Johnson, said. Obviously for this claim. “

Instead, large numbers of white settlers from surrounding Confederate states flocked to the territory, making them feel like inferiors who had to watch over blacks. The first law approved after Oklahoma became a state was the law. Jim Crow. Need for separation Railcars and depots.

“Oklahoma is not, in many ways, a southern state in racial politics, but has started to emulate the Deep South,” Johnson said.

Tulsa racial massacre

1920s, supposedly the rebirth of Harlem When African Americans migrated from the South, Tulsa had a black community of nearly 10,000 people north of the Frisco railroads. The city was inundated with money from the booming oil fields, and black residents worked as hotel porters, auto mechanics, laborers and domestic workers. Known as Blackwall Street, the Greenwood neighborhood was the wealthiest black community in the United States, with its own black-owned stores, restaurants, and other businesses.

On May 31, 1921, a black resident cart was armed and rushed into a downtown sheriff’s office to confront a white man who was allegedly rounded up to kidnap and lynch a black prisoner in prison. A shootout erupted and within 24 hours a white mob, rumors of a black riot, attacked the Greenwood area, burning it down and destroying the 35 square blocks. Estimates of those killed ranged from 50 to 300.

Today’s black community

One hundred years later, African Americans still live in the northern part of the city, making up about 16% of Tulsa’s population, or 400,000, which is double the proportion of Oklahoma as a whole. The median income of black households is $ 25,979, about half that of white households in Tulsa County.

In the decades since the massacre, doctors, ministers, and lawyers took charge of Booker T. Washington High School’s undergraduate department and editor of the Oklaho Maigle newspaper. However, Tulsa voted widely on the city committee, so black residents had little to say in city government. Election After the introduction of the parish system, he was sent to parliament until 1990.

According to community activists, the black community of Tulsa is more politically involved than before. In 2020, 34 year old black man Those who came to Tulsa as part of the Teach for America program are 30-year-old black community organizers who won Democratic nominations in the Tulsa parliament seat race. Finished in 2nd place To the race of the mayor of the city.

Charles Wilkes, a 27-year-old community organizer, said the murders of two unarmed black men by white law enforcement officers in Talsa have spurred some young black voters in recent years.

In 2015, a white sheriff’s warrant officer was shot dead Eric harris, 44 years old, arrested. A year later, a policeman, Betty shelby He killed the Terence Clutcher who raised his hand. Shelby said he thought he was trying to get a gun.

“We’ve seen shootings time and time again,” Wilkes said.

The black community of Tulsa has seen an influx of foundations and nonprofit funds to improve public schools and fight poverty. In 2018, the city was named National top philanthropy By readers of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and the organization of the black community has doubled.

Monroe Nichols, a Democrat from Tulsa, said the black community should now focus on increasing turnout – in Oklahoma as a whole. The participation rate is the lowest Across the country in 2020.

“I think the interest is there. I don’t think the commitment is there yet, ”he said.

Conservative opposition

Oklahoma’s predominantly white, conservative rulers no longer deny the genocide that was briefly mentioned in the state’s history books for decades.

The state and local authorities have supported the celebration of birthdays. A new multimedia museum was adopted as a step towards recognizing the lessons of the incident. Republican U.S. Senator James Lankford is a member of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.

But the atonement of the past does not mean the end of the current hostile movement, members of the black community say. They challenge the Oklahoma Republican Party’s support for a national GOP effort to limit voting opportunities, particularly the recognition of the 2020 presidential election for ballots in black-populated cities, the plan. Rankford. Is cited.

Rankford withdrew these plans after the rebels attacked the United States Capitol. I apologized To Black Tarsan.

“Of course, my intention to speak to the Oklahoma that asked the question was not to weaken the voice of black Americans,” he said.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt was also a member of the committee, Deleted After signing the invoice Prohibit the teaching of specific breed concepts Racism in public schools.

Meanwhile, Republican-controlled state legislatures are cracking down on Black Lives Matter protests against social injustice. To the demonstratorsUnder a new law, blocking the street is an offense punishable by up to one year in prison. The bill may also grant legal immunity to drivers who encounter protesters on the road.

“If a crowd surrounds someone’s car and threatens that person, they have the right to protect their family,” he said. Twitter review By the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., who signed the bill.

Oklahoma’s election law is also one of the most restrictive laws in the country, with just three and a half days of face-to-face voting anticipated. The mail-in ballot must be notarized, Nichols said, especially for low-income people.

Although less politically influential than blacks in the Old South, which has a large black population, African Americans in Oklahoma are more likely to elect more Democrats in large cities in combination with highly qualified white voters. This shows many possibilities. Tulsa and Oklahoma City are now increasingly democratic, with seven African-American lawmakers.

But the conservative Republican leadership in Congress is pushing this group to the limit. According to an Associated Press analysis, 72 of 81 bills submitted by black lawmakers this year have not been heard by the Commission. Only two people arrived at the governor’s office.

“We cannot respect the experience of blacks or the voice of blacks,” Nichols said.

Republican Leader John Schools, the leader of the House of Representatives, said black lawmakers could be distracted as they push for more liberal bills in the conservative parliament.

“It’s not a racial characteristic,” he said.

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Find full AP coverage below on the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre: https://apnews.com/hub/tulsa-race-massacre

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