Summer at the Library

Tulsa marks centennial of race massacre

On Tuesday, mourners will walk the same path along which the African American residents of Tulsa, Okla., fled an attack by an armed mob 100 years ago.

In addition to the march, called “A Century Walk,” officials and residents have planned observances and festivals to commemorate the Tulsa race massacre of 1921. President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit on Tuesday for a ceremony with local leaders.

What was the Tulsa race massacre? On May 31, 1921, a mob of white people gathered outside the Tulsa jail, where police held a black 19-year-old accused of assaulting a 17-year-old white girl. Concerned the crowd would kidnap and lynch the suspect, two dozen armed African American men went to the jail, too.

The groups clashed, and the violence spread. Over 18 hours, white people burned and destroyed Greenwood, Tulsa’s affluent black neighborhood that held 191 businesses and roughly 10,000 African American residents. The estimated number of people killed ranges from dozens to 300, and the destruction of property and businesses affected the prosperity of African Americans in Tulsa for generations.

Dig deeper: View a gallery of photos from the attack in Tulsa.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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