Eighty years ago today, part of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and part of the American Dream, went up in flames.
At dawn on June first 1921, a mob of 10-thousand whites stormed the prosperous neighborhood of Greenwood, an urban enclave W.E.B. DuBois called “the finest example of Negro self-sufficiency in the U.S.” Thirty-six hours later, as many as 300 blacks were dead. Offices, churches, hotels and homes, destroyed. Greenwood was a smoky, ruined rubble. For decades the Tulsa Race Riot remained almost a secret, until 1997, when the Oklahoma Legislature set up a commission to penetrate the silence and search for the truth. But truth is elusive.
Two parallel narratives thread through Tulsa, the whites’ version and the blacks.’ And today, what happened that fateful night still tears at the city, and leaves a community searching for justice.
(Hosted by Alex Beam)
James Hersh, author of the upcoming book “Race and Remembrance”
Eddie Faye Gates, member of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission.