This Memorial Day, we honor those who have given their lives for others. To the sons and daughters who have died in the performance of their military duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
We also honor those who lost their lives 100 years ago during the Tulsa Race Riot.
Violence erupted May 31 and June 1 in 1921, when a white mob killed an estimated 300 people and wounded 800, most of them Black, while burning 30 blocks of Black-owned businesses and homes and neighborhood churches in the Greenwood neighborhood, also known as " Black Wall Street." Planes were even used to drop explosives on the area, burning it to the ground.
"The act of remembering the Tulsa Race Massacre has been smothered, resisted and contested for the entire century since it took place. For many decades, few spoke of how hordes of white Tulsans with deep racial resentment had stormed Greenwood, one of the country’s most prosperous Black neighborhoods. Overcoming a fierce defense by those who lived in Greenwood, the mob brutally slaughtered residents before pillaging and burning most of the district to the ground."- New York Times
Tulsa continues to try and rebuild, but there is a deep pain still residing there, continuing to trouble the community. The issues of unpaid reparations, conflicting interests, and unhealed generational trauma show us how time doesn't heal all wounds. For example, a star-studded remembrance event was suddenly canceled over the issue of reparations. The implications here are loud and resounding.
Despite all of this, there are those committed to restoring prosperity in Greenwood. Greenwood Rising is a 7,000-square-foot museum nearing completion that's located in the Greenwood District and tells the story of Black Wall Street and the race massacre. They are committed to memorializing the fallen - whether the cameras, Hollywood and its stars show up or not. It is important we listen closely to our elders who witnessed this event, make note of the wrongs done there and focus on the work that needs to be done to repair what was damaged. The community is protective of what happens there, as they should be.
To hear more stories from survivors and descendants of Tulsa massacre victims, watch "Tulsa 1921: An American Tragedy" Monday, May 31 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.