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Oklahoma City Community College Keith Leftwich Memorial Library

Tulsa Race Massacre - 1921

What's in this Guide

Image of the front page of The Black Dispatch from June 11, 1921.

This guide will walk you through how to find books, articles, and websites on the Tulsa Race Massacre (previously called the Tulsa Race Riot) of 1921.

      "On May 30, 1921, the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Okla., was a thriving black community: a rarity in an era of lynchings, segregation and a rapidly growing Ku Klux Klan.

      By sunrise on June 2, Greenwood lay in ruins: burned to the ground by a mob of white people, aided and abetted by the National Guard, in one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history. The death toll may have been as high as 300, with hundreds more injured and an estimated 8,000 or more left homeless.

      Local officials, seeing a public-relations nightmare, expressed contrition and said they would rebuild the community. Instead, they destroyed documentation and spent the next 50 years pretending nothing had happened. Those who were there went silent, generations of children grew up oblivious, and anyone who dared raise the subject was told in no uncertain terms: We don’t speak of that here.

      Today, both the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum and the Oklahoma Historical Society discuss the massacre in detail, and the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission is working to commemorate the 100th anniversary next year. But the wound remains open."

Source: Astor, Maggie. “What to Know About the Tulsa Greenwood Massacre.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 June

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