Opinion | Shifting Collective Memory in Tulsa – the 1921 massacre – by Russell Cobb – The New York Times

The aftermath of the attack on black residents and businesses in the Greenwood District in Tulsa.

Credit…Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

“Down the street from the actual Greenwood Cultural Center, Cleo Harris sat in his T-shirt shop remembering the first time he talked about the tragedy with a white man. Mr. Harris was working as a truck driver, and somehow the event more commonly known as the Tulsa Race Riot came up. When Mr. Harris said it should be recognized as a massacre, the white man became belligerent. “He thought it was all about reparations,” Mr. Harris told me.

No one is sure how many people died; estimates range from around 75 to over 300. Virtually every black citizen was left homeless. Over 30 city blocks were completely destroyed. Commandeered airplanes dropped firebombs on Greenwood. The change in the wording around 1921, then, is more than mere semantics. “It reflects the intentionality of the destruction,” Mr. Armstrong said.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s