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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
May 31, 2021

What the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Destroyed

Perhaps no other collection of businesses tells the story of Greenwood and Black entrepreneurship better than the 100 block of Greenwood Avenue, rising near the southern tip of the neighborhood. This marquee block was the pulse of the Black business community.

More than 70 businesses operated in mostly one-, two- and three-story red brick buildings clustered along the block. All but a couple were owned by Black entrepreneurs.

In this stretch alone, there were four hotels, two newspapers, eight doctors, seven barbers, nine restaurants and a half-dozen professional offices of real estate agents, dentists and lawyers. A cabaret and a cigar shop were on the block, too.

You could shop for groceries, play pool, take in a theater show, eat dinner or get your hair styled — without ever leaving the block.

“My grandfather often talked about how you could enjoy a full life in Greenwood, that everything you needed or wanted was in Greenwood. You never had to go anywhere,” said Star Williams, 40, the granddaughter of Otis Grandville Clark, who was 18 during the massacre. “He talked about seeing Black success and how his sense of identity and pride came from Greenwood.”

The businesses on Greenwood Avenue were owned by people who were among Tulsa’s most prominent Black citizens.


May 31, 2021

The first Memorial Day on record was held by freed African Americans

The mention of Memorial Day easily conjures images of cookouts, military ceremonies, and gravesite visits, and yet, the stories of how these traditions were born are still under-told.

Fundamentally we’re taught that Memorial Day is about remembering the veterans who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice to secure our freedoms as Americans, but what’s too often omitted is that the first Memorial Day celebration on record dates back to 1865 when newly emancipated Black people in Charleston, South Carolina exhumed a mass grave for Union soldiers who made that sacrifice toward the end of the civil war.

Union soldiers were held as captives by the Confederacy in Charleston’s Washington Race Course and Jockey Club, a country club that had been converted into a prison. When the Union army seized Charleston, emancipated peoples honored the sacrifices of the brutalized and discarded soldiers who died in prison by giving them a new burial, according to History.com.

In a grand gesture of care, the emancipated exhumed the mass grave of roughly 260 Union soldiers in April 1865 and reinterred each soldier in their own grave in a new cemetery they built with a tall white-washed fence; the effort took about two weeks according to the College of Charleston. On the fence, free Black Americans wrote the words “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

On May 1, 1865, almost a month after the Civil War formally ended with the Confederate army in Virginia’s surrender, Charleston’s Black community, white missionaries, and school children threw a parade that drew over 10,000 people at the race track. It was replete with songs, marches, flowers, prayers and a picnic, according to some of the earliest articles from the Charleston Courier and the New York Tribune.


May 31, 2021

NYC-MYR: Rising crime in New York has gripped the mayoral race. Eric Adams says he alone can fix it.

CNN)For the first few months of New York City's Democratic mayoral primary, the campaign seemed to be trundling along in search of a defining issue.

Covid-19 numbers were dropping, Democrats in Washington delivered financial aid to head off a potential budget crisis and, with the outlook generally bright, the candidates' plans -- many of them crafted in painstaking detail -- blurred together as the contest, which often played out in a long series of interminable Zoom forums, took a backseat to other provincial political dramas.
But with the race now entering its final stretch, a series of high-profile shootings, instances of graphic street and subway violence and a rise in hate crimes -- especially against Asian Americans and Jews -- have sharpened the debate. Voters, as they finally zero in on the election, are listing crime as one of their leading concerns. The spike in violence has pushed visceral concerns over public safety into the spotlight and rekindled the brand of fiery rhetoric over policing that had mostly faded during more than two decades of diminished crime rates in the city.

The upswing in gun violence, which surged during the pandemic summer of 2020 and continues to climb this year, has set off a sprint among the mayoral candidates to sell their solutions. But the issue has been seized on with particular vigor by one in particular, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a retired former captain in the New York Police Department. Adams has been the field's most vocal advocates of stepped-up policing, calling for the return of a remodeled version of the city's controversial plainclothes anti-crime units, which were disbanded last year. Believed to be one of the frontrunners in a wide-open race, Adams argues that he is singularly equipped to beat back and reverse the current trend.

Adams can be a confounding figure. For decades, he has been a prominent voice against racism in the NYPD, including during his time in its ranks. But the man who could become New York's second Black mayor is just as likely to criticize the department as roll his eyes at calls for funding cuts and has defended -- with caveats -- some of its most controversial practices.


May 30, 2021

His arrest sparked the Tulsa Race Massacre. Then Dick Rowland disappeared.

He liked to call himself “Diamond Dick.”

Dick Rowland, a tall teenager with velvet skin, wore a diamond ring as he shined shoes in downtown Tulsa. Rowland, 19, had recently dropped out of Booker T. Washington High School, where he was a star football player, because he was making so much money polishing the shoes of oilmen in a city that billed itself as the “oil capital of the world.”

On May 30, 1921, Rowland took a break from his shoe stand inside a pool hall and walked to the Drexel Building to use the only public restroom for Black people in segregated Tulsa.

Rowland passed Renberg’s, a department store that occupied the first two floors of the Drexel Building, and stepped into an open wire-caged elevator operated by a 17-year-old White girl named Sarah Page.


May 30, 2021

FL-SEN: Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy will not challenge Rubio for Senate

Rep. Stephanie Murphy won’t run for U.S. Senate, a decision that was sealed after fellow Florida Congresswoman Val Demings recently signaled she will likely challenge incumbent Marco Rubio.

“The reality is that Marco Rubio will not be an easy opponent especially if it’s on the heels of a bruising primary where Democrats spend millions attacking each other instead of using those millions to build the infrastructure we desperately need to win,” Murphy said Monday in a written statement.

Murphy plans to seek reelection to her Orlando-area seat and will help the state party with voter registration, organizing and strengthening the grassroots.

“We’ve had too many close losses in Florida, and so I wanted to use my experience from winning tough races to help the party prepare itself,” Murphy said.


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About RandySF

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.
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