I love history and understand that generally speaking, history is “his-story” and written by those in charge, or as recently noted, “history is written by the winners.”
While likely true, it doesn’t mean that things that happened didn’t happen; it just means the accounts may not be written or included whenever the story is told or retold — possibly in an attempt to erase history, not have it not believed or otherwise have it unknown to generations that follow.
Nevertheless, knowledge is a power that can bring about awareness, compassion, and change. Just as many Blacks may not be aware of the Greenwood, Oklahoma, this story is likely unknown or understood by Whites and others. I share this for enlightenment and understanding for all.
While frequently not told, this often unknown period was a demonstrative reflection of a people engaging in the inalienable rights available to American citizens, until…
Until the massacre and, as if the massacre itself wasn’t bad enough, several other notable things occurred following the massacre. 1) Klansman Tate Brady joined the Tulsa Real Estate Exchange Commission, created by Tulsa Chamber of Commerce to in part assess the loss and property damage, but also 2) force Blacks off their property and 3) make it difficult for them to rebuild their community.
How? Although White mobs came into this Black area and bombed, burned and massacred US citizens, the Exchange deemed the event a “riot.”
What’s in a word? Classified as a riot, insurance claims were denied, because in their determination, policyholders’ “participated” in the event. Without insurance settlements, Greenwood’s Black citizens did not have the money to rebuild their homes and businesses. Adding insult to injury, the Exchange also tried to force Blacks to clean up after the lynch mob’s destruction. And while later court cases intent on reparations for impacted Blacks were lost, this case, argued before the Oklahoma Supreme Court was not.
I would ask, if this information is known to you, share it with someone unaware. If it is not known to you, be open to understanding the hurt, pain, and privilege contained therein.
So, what happened in Greenwood, Oklahoma, in 1921? What was the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that left hundreds dead? Click here to learn more and remember to share if you care.
Lynn F Austin, MBA, is an author and speaker. Her messages reflect her courage and commitment against fear, doubt, and disbelief. Dedicated to serving causes impacting domestic violence and at-risk youth, she strives to inspire others to live their purpose.
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