Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tulsa Race Riot
The Tulsa Race Riot was the most devastating race riot in US history in terms of lives lost.
On May 31, 1921, Dick Rowland, a black shoe-shiner, was accused of assaulting Sarah Page, a white elevator operator in the Drexel Building. Following Rowland's arrest and the publication of a false newspaper story asserting a sexual assault, mobs of blacks and whites gathered near the jail, with the whites intending to lynch Rowland and the blacks to defend him. An alleged eyewitness account claims that the violence started when a white man was killed while trying to wrest a gun from a black man.
By June 1, white mobs had invaded the segregated black part of town and destroyed the Greenwood district, known nationally as the "Black Wall Street" for its economic success. Hundreds of people were killed; dozens of businesses, 1,256 homes, many churches and a hospital were destroyed, in an area covering 35 blocks. Estimates of the dead range up to 300. After the governor declared martial law, black people were rounded up by the National Guard and put into the baseball stadium. Several black families fled for more peaceful cities, only a percentage returned to rebuild.
No one was ever arrested or charged for the mass murder and arson that happened that day.
The riot made many national papers, and even the Times of London, which claimed that airplanes had been used in the attack.
For many years the history books in Oklahoma contained little or no information about the riot. If it was mentioned, the information was often false or misleading, saying that blacks instigated the riot, or that most destruction was committed by blacks. In later years, details have begun to come to light thanks to a commission formed to study the race riot in the late 1990s/early 2000s. There have been small attempts to find the mass graves used to bury the dead of the riot. Johnnie Cochran was involved in an attempted lawsuit against the city by survivors of the riot. However, this suit was thrown out in court.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details