Century after massacre, Black Tulsans struggle for a voice


In this photo provided by the Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa, a group of Black men are marched past the corner of 2nd and Main Streets in Tulsa, Okla., under armed guard during the Tulsa Race Massacre on June 1, 1921. On May 31, 1921, carloads of Black residents, some of them armed, rushed to the sheriff’s office downtown to confront whites who were gathering apparently to abduct and lynch a Black prisoner in the jail. Gunfire broke out, and over the next 24 hours, a white mob inflamed by rumors of a Black insurrection stormed the Greenwood district and burned it, destroying all 35 square blocks. Estimates of those killed ranged from 50 to 300. (Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa via AP)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma leaders and President Joe Biden will gather this month in Tulsa to recognize and atone for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which claimed up to several hundred lives.

But Black Tulsans say that, amid the kind words, efforts both direct and subtle still aim to curb their influence and withhold their fair share of power.

A hundred years later, African Americans still live on the city’s north side and account for about 16% of Tulsa’s population of 400,000, or double the proportion found in Oklahoma overall.

The median income of black households is $25,979, about half that of white households in Tulsa County.

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