The day Black Wall Street fell

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President Biden is the people’s president. Unlike some of his predecessors, he is President of all, not some. He continues to show his genuine desire to make life equitable. He is the first president in 100 years to acknowledge the murder of hundreds of Black people during the “1921 Tulsa race massacre.” Huffington Post published a history of the events which you can read here. It is telling that no other presidents have ever acknowledged the event, let alone visited the site in commemoration.

The massacre is one of the worst events in American history and one of our greatest times of shame. As Huff Post reported, churches were burned, pregnant women were beaten, and children were murdered all in the name of racism and envy. This area of Tulsa was known as “Black Wall Street,” where a community of Blacks made their fortune and built their own community. It was all taken away in two days as Whites looted, burned, and destroyed a formerly vibrant community. To make matters worse, no one has ever been prosecuted, and America pretends it never happened by excluding it from of history. This was White terrorism at its worse because these freed people wanted something for themselves—something that took nothing from anyone else. This is the definition of evil and hate.

On September 1, 2020, one of the three remaining survivors of the massacre, Lessie Benningfield-Randle (known as “Mother Randle”) filed a lawsuit against the city of Tulsa not only because nothing was ever done to try to make these people whole, but because city officials misused funds that were intended to benefit the victims and implemented policies to further damage the residents economically. Taking away everything they had worked for was not enough; they ensured that these people never again realized any type of success. This is shameful, and President Biden minced no words in sharing how he feels about it.

One of the President’s main goals was to ensure that people become more aware of this tragedy and view it with the austerity it deserves. The implications of this massacre continue to haunt us today as demonstrated by the disparities between Blacks and Whites economically. President Biden went over the history, pointing out how the death toll was diminished to 36, but hundreds died. Bodies were dropped in mass graves, with people waiting months and sometimes years to find out what happened to their family members. Not only was this a tragic event, but it continues to haunt this community both personally and financially. When you hear people saying that Blacks have had the same opportunities as Whites in this country, remind them of this event and others like it.

President Biden said that one of the main reasons he wanted to visit was to “shine a light” on the history of this massacre and to “highlight the truth.” Truth is everything, and we should be grateful to have a President who not only grounds himself in the truth but allows that light to shine over all of us.

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