The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 has largely been ignored by historians and only the most studious have learned about the tragic event that left hundreds of Black people dead. A mass grave has been unearthed at the site of the so-called riots and is possibly linked to the Black Wall Street area.
For many, their first time hearing of the massacre of Black Wall Street’s prominent Black residents and destruction of their businesses was via HBO’s acclaimed series, Watchmen. The stirring images of the massacre formed the backdrop to a sweeping story rooted in America’s ugly connection to racism towards Black people for the fictional hit show and put a new light on Tulsa, Okla. as a result.
In a report from CBS News, a group of scientists and researchers that have collected and studied data in relation to the events in Tulsa apparently unearthed a large gravesite that could house residents of the all-Black Greenwood district, often referred to as Black Wall Street.
As the outlet reports and other historians have noted, the massacre began after an angry white mob sought street justice against a Black shoe shine worker who was wrongly accused of assaulting a white woman. The white mob clashed with several armed Black men when chaos ensued. Businesses and homes were burned and the mob was lawless in its attack, targeting men, women, and children according to the scant accounts that remain.
If these bodies are indeed connected to the massacre, it would be the first discovery of its kind and would reopen the discussion of one of America’s ugliest instances of racism. As it stands, the full excavation and examination of the bodies wouldn’t happen until next year in the spring.
On Twitter, the hashtag #TulsaRaceMassacre has cropped up and we have those reactions listed below.
It wasn't a "race riot". Whites went on a murderous rampage fueled by envy and bloodlust. Bombs were also dropped on the community. This was another coordinated act of barbarism perpetrated by whites envious of Black excellence. #TulsaRaceMassacre— CleanWater4All (@desalinationnow) December 17, 2019
I am glad #WatchmenHBO is educating us about our history, but when you do see these stories in text books, it is watered down and lumped in w the summer of 1919. Distinct and discrete events. #TulsaRaceMassacre— jenluit (@jenluit) December 17, 2019
School text books and teachers need to to a better job of not sugar coating history and ignoring tragedies like this. I had no idea this even happened until Watchmen brought it to light. Ignorance is bliss. #tulsaracemassacre— VinnyTB🎄(7-3) ☠ (@vinnyferdinando) December 17, 2019
The African American History museum in DC has a room all about the #TulsaRaceMassacre, including videos from survivor families. The wealthy blacks' homes were looted. Jewelry, pianos, china and all of their valuables were stolen by gangs. People were murdered, homes burned.— Wear a Mask! 😡🤬😠 (@livetweettweet) December 17, 2019
#TulsaRaceMassacre The sad thing is we know if this happened today #DonaldTrump would have called the white mob that burned down the black community "fine people" and he might very well still do that if he sees this trending. #TuesdayThoughts— Stephen Sipila (@StephenSipila) December 17, 2019
What happened in Tulsa was a horrific crime and tragedy, but I'm so glad that #TulsaRaceMassacre is trending and people are no longer calling it a riot.— Celeste Headlee (@CelesteHeadlee) December 17, 2019