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Fri May 31, 2019, 06:52 AM

98 Years Ago Today; Terror and Tragedy in Tulsa

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsa_race_riot



The Tulsa race riot (or the Tulsa race massacre) of 1921 took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of whites attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is considered one of the worst incidents of racial violence in the history of the United States. The attack, carried out on the ground and by air, destroyed more than 35 blocks of the district, at the time the wealthiest black community in the United States.

More than 800 people were admitted to hospitals and more than 6,000 black residents were arrested and detained, many for several days. The Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics officially recorded 36 dead, but the American Red Cross declined to provide an estimate. When a state commission re-examined events in 2001, its report estimated that 100-300 African Americans were killed in the rioting.

The riot began over Memorial Day weekend after 19-year-old Dick Rowland, a black shoeshiner, was accused of assaulting Sarah Page, the 17-year-old white elevator operator of the nearby Drexel Building. He was taken into custody. A subsequent gathering of angry local whites outside the courthouse where Rowland was being held, and the spread of rumours he had been lynched, alarmed the local black population, some of whom arrived at the courthouse armed. Shots were fired and twelve people were killed; ten white and two black. As news of these deaths spread throughout the city, mob violence exploded. Thousands of whites rampaged through the black neighborhood that night and the next day, killing men and women, burning and looting stores and homes. About 10,000 black people were left homeless, and property damage amounted to more than $1.5 million in real estate and $750,000 in personal property ($32 million in 2019).

Many survivors left Tulsa. Black and white residents who stayed in the city were silent for decades about the terror, violence, and losses of this event. The riot was largely omitted from local, state, as well as national, histories: "The Tulsa race riot of 1921 was rarely mentioned in history books, classrooms or even in private. Blacks and whites alike grew into middle age unaware of what had taken place."

In 1996, seventy-five years after the riot, a bi-partisan group in the state legislature authorized formation of the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (renamed to Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Massacre in November 2018). Members were appointed to investigate events, interview survivors, hear testimony from the public, and prepare a report of events. There was an effort toward public education about these events through the process. The Commission's final report, published in 2001, said that the city had conspired with the mob of white citizens against black citizens; it recommended a program of reparations to survivors and their descendants. The state passed legislation to establish some scholarships for descendants of survivors, encourage economic development of Greenwood, and develop a memorial park in Tulsa to the riot victims. The park was dedicated in 2010.

Monday, May 30, 1921 – Memorial Day
Encounter in the elevator
It is alleged that at some time about or after 4 PM, 19-year-old Dick Rowland, a black shoeshiner employed at a Main Street shine parlor, entered the only elevator of the nearby Drexel Building at 319 South Main Street to use the top-floor restroom, which was restricted to black people. He encountered Sarah Page, the 17-year-old white elevator operator on duty. The two likely knew each other at least by sight, as this building was the only one nearby with a restroom to which Rowland had express permission to use, and the elevator operated by Page was the only one in the building. A clerk at Renberg's, a clothing store on the first floor of the Drexel, heard what sounded like a woman's scream and saw a young black man rushing from the building. The clerk went to the elevator and found Page in what he said was a distraught state. Thinking she had been assaulted, he summoned the authorities.

The 2001 Oklahoma Commission Final Report notes that it was unusual for both Rowland and Page to be working downtown on Memorial Day, when most stores and businesses were closed. It suggests that Rowland had a simple accident, such as tripping and steadying himself against the girl, or perhaps they were lovers and had a quarrel.

Whether – and to what extent – Dick Rowland and Sarah Page knew each other has long been a matter of speculation. It seems reasonable that they would have least been able to recognize each other on sight, as Rowland would have regularly ridden in Page's elevator on his way to and from the restroom. Others, however, have speculated that the pair might have been lovers – a dangerous and potentially deadly taboo, but not an impossibility. Whether they knew each other or not, it is clear that both Dick Rowland and Sarah Page were downtown on Monday, May 30, 1921 – although this, too, is cloaked in some mystery. On Memorial Day, most – but not all – stores and businesses in Tulsa were closed. Yet, both Rowland and Page were apparently working that day.

Yet in the days and years that followed, many who knew Dick Rowland agreed on one thing: that he would never have been capable of rape.

The word "rape" was rarely used in newspapers or academia in the early 20th century. Instead, "assault" was used to describe such an attack.

Brief investigation
Although the police likely questioned Page, no written account of her statement has been found. It is generally accepted that the police determined what happened between the two teenagers was something less than an assault. The authorities conducted a low-key investigation rather than launching a man-hunt for her alleged assailant. Afterward, Page told the police that she would not press charges.

Regardless of whether assault had occurred, Rowland had reason to be fearful. At the time, such an accusation alone put him at risk for attack by white people. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Rowland fled to his mother's house in the Greenwood neighborhood.

Identity of the black rioters
The Morning Tulsa Daily World reported on the 3rd of June, major points of their interview with Deputy Sheriff Barney Cleaver concerning the events leading up to the Tulsa riot. Cleaver was deputy sheriff for Okmulgee county and not under the supervision of the city police department; his duties mainly involved enforcing law among the "coloured people" of Greenwood but he also operated a business as a private investigator. He had previously been dismissed as an investigator for the city police for assisting county officers with a drug raid at Gurley's Hotel but not reporting his involvement to his superiors. He had considerable land holdings and suffered tremendous financial damages as a result of the riot. Among his holdings were several residential properties and Cleaver Hall, a large community gathering place and function hall. He reported personally evicting a number of armed criminals who had taken to barricading themselves within properties he owned. Upon eviction, they merely moved to Cleaver Hall. Cleaver reported that the majority of violence started at Cleaver Hall along with the rioters barricaded inside.Charles Page offered to build him a new home.

The Morning Tulsa Daily World stated, "Cleaver named Will Robinson, a dope peddler and all around bad negro, as the leader of the armed blacks. He has also the names of three others who were in the armed gang at the court house. The rest of the negroes participating in the fight, he says, were former servicemen who had an exaggerated idea of their own importance... They did not belong here, had no regular employment and were simply a floating element with seemingly no ambition in life but to forment trouble." O. W. Gurley, owner of Gurley's Hotel identified the following men by name as arming themselves and gathering in his hotel: Will Robinson, Peg Leg Taylor, Bud Bassett, Henry Van Dyke, Chester Ross, Jake Mayes, O. B. Mann, John Suplesox, Fatty, Jack Scott, Lee Mable, John Bowman and W. S. Weaver.

Tuesday, May 31, 1921
Suspect arrested

One of the sensationalist news articles that contributed to tensions in Tulsa

On the morning after the incident, Detective Henry Carmichael and Henry C. Pack, a black patrolman, located Rowland on Greenwood Avenue and detained him. Pack was one of two black officers on the city's police force, which then included about 45 officers. Rowland was initially taken to the Tulsa city jail at First and Main. Late that day, Police Commissioner J. M. Adkison said he had received an anonymous telephone call threatening Rowland's life. He ordered Rowland transferred to the more secure jail on the top floor of the Tulsa County Courthouse.

Rowland was well known among attorneys and other legal professionals within the city, many of whom knew Rowland through his work as a shoeshiner. Some witnesses later recounted hearing several attorneys defend Rowland in their conversations with one another. One of the men said, "Why, I know that boy, and have known him a good while. That's not in him."

Newspaper coverage
The Tulsa Tribune, one of two white-owned papers published in Tulsa, broke the story in that afternoon's edition with the headline: "Nab Negro for Attacking Girl In an Elevator", describing the alleged incident. According to some witnesses, the same edition of the Tribune included an editorial warning of a potential lynching of Rowland, entitled "To Lynch Negro Tonight". The paper was known at the time to have a "sensationalist" style of news writing. All original copies of that issue of the paper have apparently been destroyed, and the relevant page is missing from the microfilm copy, so the exact content of the column (and whether it existed at all) remains in dispute.

Stand-off at the courthouse
The afternoon edition of the Tribune hit the streets shortly after 3 p.m., and soon news spread of a potential lynching. By 4 pm, local authorities were on alert. White people began congregating at and near the Tulsa County Courthouse. By sunset at 7:34 pm, the several hundred white people assembled outside the courthouse appeared to have the makings of a lynch mob. Willard M. McCullough, the newly elected sheriff of Tulsa County, was determined to avoid events such as the 1920 lynching of white murder suspect Roy Belton in Tulsa, which had occurred during the term of his predecessor. The sheriff took steps to ensure the safety of Rowland. McCullough organized his deputies into a defensive formation around Rowland, who was terrified. One of Scott Ellsworth's references in the 2001 commission report, The Guthrie Daily Leader, reported that Rowland had been taken to the county jail before crowds started to gather. The sheriff positioned six of his men, armed with rifles and shotguns, on the roof of the courthouse. He disabled the building's elevator, and had his remaining men barricade themselves at the top of the stairs with orders to shoot any intruders on sight. The sheriff went outside and tried to talk the crowd into going home, but to no avail. According to an account by Scott Ellsworth, the sheriff was "hooted down".

About 8:20 pm, three white men entered the courthouse, demanding that Rowland be turned over to them. Although vastly outnumbered by the growing crowd out on the street, Sheriff McCullough turned the men away.

A few blocks away on Greenwood Avenue, members of the black community and known criminals associated with underground gambling houses, gathered to discuss the situation at Gurley's Hotel. Given the recent lynching of Belton, a white man accused of murder, they believed that Rowland was greatly at risk. Many black residents were determined to prevent the crowd from lynching Rowland, but they were divided about tactics. Young World War I veterans prepared for a battle by collecting guns and ammunition. Older, more prosperous men feared a destructive confrontation that likely would cost them dearly. O. W. Gurley gave a sworn statement to the Grand Jury that he tried to convince the men that there would be no lynching but that they had responded that Sheriff McCullough had personally told them that their presence was required. About 9:30 pm, a group of approximately 50-60 black men, armed with rifles and shotguns, arrived at the jail to support the sheriff and his deputies to defend Rowland from the mob. Corroborated by ten witnesses, attorney James Luther submitted to the grand jury that they were following the orders of Sheriff McCullough who publicly denied he gave any orders:

"I saw a car full of negroes driving through the streets with guns; I saw Bill McCullough and told him those negroes would cause trouble; McCullough tried to talk to them, and they got out and stood in single file. W. G. Daggs was killed near Boulder and Sixth street. I was under the impression that a man with authority could have stopped and disarmed them. I saw Chief of Police on south side of court house on top step, talking; I did not see any officer except the Chief; I walked in the court house and met McCullough in about 15 feet of his door; I told him these negroes were going to make trouble, and he said he had told them to go home; he went out and told the whites to go home, and one said "they said you told them to come up here." McCullough said "I did not" and a negro said you did tell us to come."


Taking up arms
Having seen the armed black people, some of the more than 1,000 white people at the courthouse went home for their own guns. Others headed for the National Guard armory at Sixth Street and Norfolk Avenue, where they planned to arm themselves. The armory contained a supply of small arms and ammunition. Major James Bell of the 180th Infantry had already learned of the mounting situation downtown and the possibility of a break-in, and he took measures to prevent the same. He called the commanders of the three National Guard units in Tulsa, who ordered all the Guard members to put on their uniforms and report quickly to the armory. When a group of white people arrived and began pulling at the grating over a window, Bell went outside to confront the crowd of 300 to 400 men. Bell told them that the Guard members inside were armed and prepared to shoot anyone who tried to enter. After this show of force, the crowd withdrew from the armory.

At the courthouse, the crowd had swollen to nearly 2,000, many of them now armed. Several local leaders, including Reverend Charles W. Kerr, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, tried to dissuade mob action. The chief of police, John A. Gustafson, later claimed that he tried to talk the crowd into going home.

Anxiety on Greenwood Avenue was rising. Many blacks worried about the safety of Rowland. Small groups of armed black men ventured toward the courthouse in automobiles, partly for reconnaissance, and to demonstrate they were prepared to take necessary action to protect Rowland.

Many white men interpreted these actions as a "Negro uprising" and became concerned. Eyewitnesses reported gunshots, presumably fired into the air, increasing in frequency during the evening.

Second offer
In Greenwood, rumors began to fly – in particular, a report that white men and women were storming the courthouse. Shortly after 10 pm, a second, larger group of approximately 75 armed black men decided to go to the courthouse. They offered their support to the sheriff, who declined their help. According to witnesses, a white man is alleged to have told one of the armed black men to surrender his pistol. The man refused, and a shot was fired. That first shot may have been accidental, or meant as a warning; it was a catalyst for an exchange of gunfire.

Riot
The gunshots triggered an almost immediate response by the white men, many of whom fired on the black people, who then fired back at the white people. The first "battle" was said to last a few seconds or so, but took a toll, as ten white people and two black people lay dead or dying in the street. The black contingent retreated toward Greenwood. A rolling gunfight ensued. The armed white mob pursued the armed black mob toward Greenwood, with many stopping to loot local stores for additional weapons and ammunition. Along the way, bystanders, many of whom were leaving a movie theater after a show, were caught off guard by the mobs and fled. Panic set in as the white mob began firing on any black people in the crowd. The white mob also shot and killed at least one white man in the confusion.

At around 11 pm, members of the Oklahoma National Guard unit began to assemble at the armory to organize a plan to subdue the rioters. Several groups were deployed downtown to set up guard at the courthouse, police station, and other public facilities. Members of the local chapter of the American Legion joined in on patrols of the streets. The forces appeared to have been deployed to protect the white districts adjacent to Greenwood. The National Guard rounded up numerous black people and took them to the Convention Hall on Brady Street for detention.

Many prominent white Tulsans also participated in the riot[citation needed], including Tulsa founder and KKK member W. Tate Brady, who participated in the riot as a night watchman. It was reported, in This Land Press that W. Tate Brady participated and led the tarring and feathering of a group of men. The article states that police, "delivered the convicted men into the custody of the black-robed Knights of Liberty." The provided document attached to the article states,""I believe the circumstantial evidence is sufficient to prevent any of them from wanting to give anyone any trouble in the way of lawsuits...all made the same statement with emphasis that Tate Brady put on the tar and feathers in the 'name of the women and children of Belgium.' The same is true as to the part that Chief of Police Ed Lucas took. Not all the witnesses said they would swear in court as to...[document incomplete]" The since uncovered remainder of the document continues, "It is a question as to what extent I could go in establishing beyond a doubt the persons in the mob since their disguise with the robes and masks was complete. I doubt if I could do it in a court in Oklahoma at this time." In the Tulsa Daily World article about the incident, the victims were reported to be suspected German spies, referred to as I.W.W.'s. Harlows Weekly also explains the contemporary connection between Belgium, the I.W.W. and the Knights of Liberty. The article sympathetically explains the actions as economically and politically motivated rather than racially motivated. A Kansas detective reported over 200 members of the I.W.W. and their affiliates migrated to Oklahoma to organise an open rebellion among the working class against the war effort planned for November 1, 1917. It was reported that police beat the I.W.W. members before delivering them to the Knights of Liberty. The Tulsa Daily World reported that none of the policemen could identify any of the hooded men. The Tulsa Daily World article states that the policemen were kidnapped, forced to drive the prisoners to a ravine and forced to watch the entire ordeal at gunpoint. Previous reports regarding Brady's character seem favourable and he hired black employees in his businesses. Brady married a Cherokee woman and fought for Cherokee claims against the U.S. government.

At around midnight, white rioters again assembled outside the courthouse. It was a smaller group but more organised and determined. They shouted in support of a lynching. When they attempted to storm the building, the sheriff and his deputies turned them away and dispersed them.

Wednesday, June 1, 1921
Throughout the early morning hours, groups of armed white and black people squared off in gunfights. At this point the fighting was concentrated along sections of the Frisco tracks, a dividing line between the black and white commercial districts. A rumor circulated that more black people were coming by train from Muskogee to help with an invasion of Tulsa. At one point, passengers on an incoming train were forced to take cover on the floor of the train cars, as they had arrived in the midst of crossfire, with the train taking hits on both sides.

Small groups of white people made brief forays by car into Greenwood, indiscriminately firing into businesses and residences. They often received return fire. Meanwhile, white rioters threw lighted oil rags into several buildings along Archer Street, igniting them.

Fires begin

Fires burning along Archer and Greenwood during the Tulsa race riot of 1921

At around 1 am, the white mob began setting fires, mainly in businesses on commercial Archer Street at the southern edge of the Greenwood district. As crews from the Tulsa Fire Department arrived to put out fires, they were turned away at gunpoint. Scott Elsworth makes the same claim, but his reference makes no mention of firefighters. Parrish gave only praise for the national guard. Another reference Elsworth gives to support the claim of holding firefighters at gunpoint is only a summary of events in which they suppressed the firing of guns by the rioters and disarmed them of their firearms. Yet another of his references states that they were fired upon by the black 'mob', "It would mean a fireman's life to turn a stream of water on one of those negro buildings. They shot at us all morning when we were trying to do something but none of my men were hit. There is not a chance in the world to get through that mob into the negro district." By 4 am, an estimated two dozen black-owned businesses had been set ablaze.

As news traveled among Greenwood residents in the early morning hours, many began to take up arms in defense of their neighborhood, while others began a mass exodus from the city. Throughout the night both sides continued fighting, sometimes only sporadically.

Daybreak
Upon sunrise, around 5 a.m., a train whistle sounded (Hirsch said it was a siren). Some rioters believed this sound to be a signal for the rioters to launch an all-out assault on Greenwood. A white man stepped out from behind the Frisco depot and was fatally shot by a sniper in Greenwood. Crowds of rioters poured from their shelter, on foot and by car, into the streets of the black neighborhood. Five white men in a car led the charge, but were killed by a fusillade of gunfire before they had traveled one block.

Overwhelmed by the sheer number of white people, more black people retreated north on Greenwood Avenue to the edge of town. Chaos ensued as terrified residents fled. The rioters shot indiscriminately and killed many residents along the way. Splitting into small groups, they began breaking into houses and buildings, looting. Several black people later testified that white people broke into occupied homes and ordered the residents out to the street, where they could be driven or forced to walk to detention centers.

A rumor spread among the white people that the new Mount Zion Baptist Church was being used as a fortress and armory. Purportedly twenty caskets full of rifles had been delivered to the church, though no evidence was ever found.

Attack by air
Numerous eyewitnesses described airplanes carrying white assailants, who fired rifles and dropped firebombs on buildings, homes, and fleeing families. The privately owned aircraft were dispatched from the nearby Curtiss-Southwest Field outside Tulsa.

Law enforcement officials later said that the planes were to provide reconnaissance and protect against a "Negro uprising". Law enforcement personnel were thought to be aboard at least some flights. Eyewitness accounts, such as testimony from the survivors during Commission hearings and a manuscript by eyewitness and attorney Buck Colbert Franklin discovered in 2015, said that on the morning of June 1, men in the planes dropped incendiary bombs and fired rifles at black residents.

Richard S. Warner concluded in his submission to The Oklahoma Commission that there was no reliable evidence to support such attacks. Many supposed eyewitnesses, many years later reported witnessing explosions. Warner states that many newspapers targeted at black readers heavily reported the use of nitroglycerin, turpentine and rifles from the planes however many cited anonymous sources or second hand accounts from anonymous sources. Beryl Ford, one of the preeminent historians of the disaster, concluded from her vast collection of photographs that there was no evidence of any building damaged by explosions. Danney Goble commended Warner on his efforts and supported his conclusions. State representative Don Ross however dissented from the evidence presented in the report and the conclusions of three of Oklahoma's top experts concluding that bombs were dropped from planes.

William Joseph Simmons, Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, was appointed head of The Knights of the Air, May 20, 1921. The organization was described as a fraternal organisation for former air force officers. A spokesperson for the organisation publicly denounced the Ku Klux Klan and denied any connection.

New eyewitness account
In 2015, a previously unknown written eyewitness account of the events of May 31, 1921 was discovered and subsequently obtained by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The 10-page typewritten manuscript was authored by noted Oklahoma attorney Buck Colbert Franklin.

Notable quotes:

Lurid flames roared and belched and licked their forked tongues into the air. Smoke ascended the sky in thick, black volumes and amid it all, the planes—now a dozen or more in number—still hummed and darted here and there with the agility of natural birds of the air.


"Planes circling in mid-air: They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low. I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building. Down East Archer, I saw the old Mid-Way hotel on fire, burning from its top, and then another and another and another building began to burn from their top."

'The side-walks were literally covered with burning turpentine balls. I knew all too well where they came from, and I knew all too well why every burning building first caught fire from the top.'"


I paused and waited for an opportune time to escape. 'Where oh where is our splendid fire department with its half dozen stations?' I asked myself. 'Is the city in conspiracy with the mob?'

Franklin states that every time he saw a white man shot, he "felt happy" and he, "swelled with pride and hope for the race."

Franklin reported seeing multiple machine guns firing at night and hearing 'thousands and thousands of guns' being fired simultaneously from all directions. He states that he was arrested by, "a thousand boys, it seemed,...firing their guns every step they took."

Arrival of National Guard troops

National Guard with wounded.

Adjutant General Charles Barrett of the Oklahoma National Guard arrived with 109 troops from Oklahoma City by special train about 9:15 am. Ordered in by the governor, he could not legally act until he had contacted all the appropriate local authorities, including the mayor T. D. Evans, the sheriff, and the police chief. Meanwhile, his troops paused to eat breakfast. Barrett summoned reinforcements from several other Oklahoma cities.

By this time, thousands of surviving black residents had fled the city; another 4,000 persons had been rounded up and detained at various centers. Under the martial law established this day, these detainees were required to carry identification cards.

Barrett declared martial law at 11:49 am, and by noon the troops had managed to suppress most of the remaining violence. A 1921 letter from an officer of the Service Company, Third Infantry, Oklahoma National Guard, who arrived May 31, 1921, reported numerous events related to suppression of the riot:

taking about 30-40 blacks into custody;
putting a machine gun on a truck and taking it on patrol;
being fired on from Negro snipers from the "Church" and returning fire; *
being fired on by white men;
turning the prisoners over to deputies to take them to police headquarters;
being fired upon again by negroes and having two NCOs slightly wounded;
searching for negroes and firearms;
detailing a NCO to take 170 Negroes to the civil authorities; and
delivering an additional 150 Negroes to the Convention Hall.

Stockpiled ammunition
Captain John W. McCune reported that stockpiled ammunition within the burning structures began to explode which may have further contributed to casualties.

End of martial law
Martial law was withdrawn Friday afternoon, June 4, 1921 under Field Order No. 7.

Aftermath

Little Africa on Fire. Tulsa Race Riot, June 1, 1921 Apparently taken from the roof of the Hotel Tulsa on 3rd St. between Boston Ave. and Cincinnati Ave. The first row of buildings is along 2nd St. The smoke cloud on the left (Cincinnati Ave. and the Frisco Tracks) is identified in the Tulsa Tribune version of this photo as being where the fire started.

Casualties
The riot was covered by national newspapers and the reported number of deaths varies widely. On June 1, 1921, the Tulsa Tribune reported that nine white people and 68 black people had died in the riot, but shortly afterwards it changed this number to a total of 176 dead. The next day, the same paper reported the count as nine white people and 21 black people. The New York Times said that 77 people had been killed, including 68 black people, but it later lowered the total to 33. The Richmond Times Dispatch of Virginia reported that 85 people (including 25 white people) were killed; it also reported that the Police Chief had reported to Governor Robertson that the total was 75; and that a Police Major put the figure at 175. The Oklahoma Department of Vital Statistics count put the number of deaths at 36 (26 black and 10 white). very few people, if any, died as a direct result of the fire. Official state records recorded only five deaths by conflagration for the entire state in the year of 1921.

Walter Francis White of the N.A.A.C.P. traveled to Tulsa from New York and reported that, although officials and undertakers said that the fatalities numbered ten white and 21 colored, he estimated the number of the dead to be 50 whites and between 150 and 200 Negroes; he also reported that ten white men were killed on Tuesday; six white men drove into the black section and never came out, and thirteen whites were killed on Wednesday; he reported that the head of the Salvation Army in Tulsa said that 37 negroes were employed as gravediggers to bury 120 negroes in individual graves without coffins on Friday and Saturday. The Oklahoma Commission report states that it was 150 graves and over 36 grave diggers. Ground penetrating radar was used to investigate the sites purported to contain these mass graves. Multiple eyewitness reports and 'oral histories' suggested the graves could have been dug at three different cemeteries across the city. The sites were examined and no evidence of ground disturbance indicative of mass graves was found however at one site ground disturbance was found in a five-meter squared area but cemetery records indicate that three graves had been dug and bodies buried within this envelope before the riot. The Los Angeles Express headline said "175 Killed, Many Wounded". Oklahoma's 2001 Commission into the riot placed the number of dead to likely be somewhere between 100-300 people. However this is based on a misquotation of the Red Cross Report, wherein the author states that the total number "is a matter of conjecture."

Of the some 800 people admitted to local hospitals for injuries, the majority are believed to have been white[citation needed], as both black hospitals had been burned in the rioting. Additionally, even if the white hospitals had admitted black people because of the riot, against their usual segregation policy, injured blacks had little means to get to these hospitals, which were located across the city from Greenwood. More than 6,000 black Greenwood residents were arrested and detained at three local facilities: Convention Hall, now known as the Brady Theater, the Tulsa County Fairgrounds (then located about a mile northeast of Greenwood), and McNulty Park (a baseball stadium at Tenth Street and Elgin Avenue).

Red Cross
The Red Cross, in their preliminary overview, mentioned wide-ranging external estimates of 55 to 300 dead however due to the hurried nature of undocumented burials declined to suggest an estimate of their own stating, "The number of dead is a matter of conjecture." The Red Cross registered 8624 persons, recorded 1256 residences burned and a further 215 residences looted as a part of their relief effort. 183 people were hospitalised, mostly for gunshot wounds or burns (they differentiate in their records on the basis of triage category not the type of wound) while a further 531 required first aid or surgical treatment with an estimated 10 000 persons left homeless. 8 miscarriages were attributed to be a result of the tragedy. 19 died in care between June 1 and the 30th of December.

</snip>


I lived in Tulsa 30 years ago, and frequented a laundromat on Brady St where I met a man (caretaker of the laundromat) who was 10 at the time of the riots. I'd never heard of the event until I spoke to him, at length, about his experience during it. I still remember him saying, "You know, I had a lot of rage for a long time about it. I hated white people, but hate can't last forever. And I like you."

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Reply 98 Years Ago Today; Terror and Tragedy in Tulsa (Original post)
Dennis Donovan May 31 OP
underpants May 31 #1
Mc Mike May 31 #2
Dennis Donovan May 31 #9
Chin music May 31 #3
BSdetect May 31 #4
Dennis Donovan May 31 #5
BeckyDem May 31 #6
malaise May 31 #7
smirkymonkey May 31 #8
WhiskeyGrinder May 31 #10
Dennis Donovan May 31 #11
WhiskeyGrinder May 31 #12
Dennis Donovan May 31 #13
WhiskeyGrinder May 31 #14
Dennis Donovan May 31 #15

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri May 31, 2019, 06:56 AM

1. Snipers

I was totally unaware of this until maybe 10 years ago.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri May 31, 2019, 07:18 AM

2. Rosewood 2 years later.

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Response to Mc Mike (Reply #2)

Fri May 31, 2019, 12:40 PM

9. Never forget, especially now...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosewood_massacre


Sarah Carrier (left), Sylvester Carrier (standing) and his sister Willie Carrier (right), taken around 1910

The Rosewood massacre was a racially motivated massacre of black people and destruction of a black town that took place during the first week of January 1923 in rural Levy County, Florida. At least six black people and two white people were killed, though eyewitness accounts suggested a higher death toll of 27 to 150. The town of Rosewood was destroyed, in what contemporary news reports characterized as a race riot. Racial disturbances were common during the early 20th century in the United States, reflecting the nation's rapid social changes. Florida had an especially high number of lynchings of black males in the years before the massacre, including a well-publicized incident in December 1922.

Before the massacre, the town of Rosewood had been a quiet, primarily black, self-sufficient whistle stop on the Seaboard Air Line Railway. Trouble began when white men from several nearby towns lynched a black Rosewood resident because of unsupported accusations that a white woman in nearby Sumner had been beaten and possibly raped by a black drifter. When the town's black citizens rallied together to defend themselves against further attacks, a mob of several hundred whites combed the countryside hunting for black people, and burned almost every structure in Rosewood. Survivors from the town hid for several days in nearby swamps until they were evacuated by train and car to larger towns. No arrests were made for what happened in Rosewood. The town was abandoned by its former black and white residents; none ever moved back, and the town ceased to exist.

Although the rioting was widely reported around the United States at the time, few official records documented the event. Survivors, their descendants, and the perpetrators remained silent about Rosewood for decades. Sixty years after the rioting, the story of Rosewood was revived in major media when several journalists covered it in the early 1980s. Survivors and their descendants organized to sue the state for having failed to protect Rosewood's black community. In 1993, the Florida Legislature commissioned a report on the incident. As a result of the findings, Florida became the first U.S. state to compensate survivors and their descendants for damages incurred because of racial violence. The incident was the subject of a 1997 feature film directed by John Singleton. In 2004, the state designated the site of Rosewood as a Florida Heritage Landmark.

Officially, the recorded death toll of the first week of January 1923 was eight (six black and two white). Historians disagree about this number. Some survivors' stories claim there may have been up to 27 black residents killed, and assert that newspapers did not report the total number of white deaths. Minnie Lee Langley, who was in the Carrier house siege, recalls that she stepped over many white bodies on the porch when she left the house A newspaper article in 1984 stated that reports of up to 150 victims may have been exaggerations. Several eyewitnesses claim to have seen a mass grave filled with black people; one remembers a plow brought from Cedar Key that covered 26 bodies. However, by the time authorities investigated these claims, most of the witnesses were dead or too elderly and infirm to lead them to a site to confirm the stories.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri May 31, 2019, 08:30 AM

3. Wow. What a horrible event.

Bookmarked. TY.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri May 31, 2019, 10:06 AM

4. Another disgusting horror stain in US history.

Does not take much to incite people to form a mob and kill others.

drumph is goading his base to do just that.

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Response to BSdetect (Reply #4)

Fri May 31, 2019, 10:53 AM

5. That's why this story is still relevant after 98 years

We appear to be headed back to the time where it was okay be be a racist. Trump has done a tremendous amount of damage to the social fabric of this country - which is exactly what would please Putin and Kim.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri May 31, 2019, 11:05 AM

6. Trump's base.

Hate, ignorance, and scapegoating can trigger more tragedy in the hands of con men.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri May 31, 2019, 11:07 AM

7. Thanks

Damn

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri May 31, 2019, 11:54 AM

8. I have never heard of this until now.

Thank you for posting.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri May 31, 2019, 12:49 PM

10. "Terror and Tragedy" makes it sounds like a natural disaster. This was straight-up state-sponsored

white-supremacist terrorism against American citizens.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #10)

Fri May 31, 2019, 01:02 PM

11. It was terrorism to an entire community/race. I'm not seeing a correlation to a "natural disaster".

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #11)

Fri May 31, 2019, 01:15 PM

12. Your subject line "Terror and Tragedy" erases the white people who made the decisions and committed

acts of terrorism against their neighbors. "Terror and Tragedy" is a passive phrase, similar to what we see after a tornado hits a town.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #12)

Fri May 31, 2019, 01:23 PM

13. If more people agree with you, I'll change it.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #13)

Fri May 31, 2019, 01:25 PM

14. Thanks for considering my perspective!

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #14)

Fri May 31, 2019, 01:27 PM

15. *cough*

Last edited Fri May 31, 2019, 10:59 PM - Edit history (3)



STILL Waiting for those who agree with you.

Normally, I'd not respond to such nonsense, but you seem to be trying to disrupt.

...and the one takeaway from such a horrific event for you was my subject line. Please re-evaluate your response, to honor my friend and every victim of this.

Email me about how this "DUer" has harassed me over this OP. 3 derogatory nonsensical DUmails...

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