The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, or the Attack on Greenwood, was, and remains, one of the bloodiest outbreaks of racist violence in U.S. history. The incident began with the arrest of a young black man on May 31, was incited by an inflammatory report in the May 31 edition of the Tulsa Tribune, and ended around 24 hours later after white rioters looted and burned the prosperous black community on June 1. In the aftermath, dozens of city blocks were razed, hundreds killed, and thousands left homeless.
Investigate the sources linked to below to learn about this terrible, tragic event. As you do, consider the following questions:
- Why is it important to remember the past?
- In what ways can actions taken today acknowledge and make amends for past atrocities?
- What connections can you make between the past and the present to build a better future?
Legislation, Reports & Events
- An act to create a Tulsa Race Riot Commission was introduced by Oklahoma House Joint Resolution No. 1035 in 1997 and led to the February 28, 2001 release of “Tulsa Race Riot: A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921“.
- Seventeen years later, in 2018, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced the city would reexamine potential grave sites identified in the 2001 report.
- Legislation related to Tulsa-Greenwood Race Riot Claims and Accountability was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives four times from 2007-2013.
- The Human Rights Watch published “The Case for Reparations in Tulsa, Oklahoma” in May 2020.
- S.Res.647 – A resolution recognizing the forthcoming centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre was introduced on July 2, 2020.
- The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission was created in 2015 and planned a slew of events planned for the 100th anniversary of the massacre; the headline Rise and Remember event scheduled for May 31, 2021, was cancelled four days prior.
- On May 19, 2021, three remaining survivors testified to the House Committee on the Judiciary. Watch “Continuing Injustice: The Centennial of the Tulsa-Greenwood Race Massacre”.
- Greenwood Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma 1915 map
- Tulsa Race Massacre image set
- Tulsa City-County Library 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre image collection
- Tulsa Race Massacre: Topics in Chronicling America timeline, select articles and search strategies
- 1921 historical newspaper front-page coverage of the Tulsa Race “Riot”
- Oklahoma race riot remembrance mention in oral history transcript
Secondary sources that include primary sources
- A Long-Lost Manuscript Contains a Searing Eyewitness Account of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 Smithsonian Magazine March 27, 2015
- How to Research the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Library of Congress Blog May 26, 2021
- Meet The Last Surviving Witness To The Tulsa Race Riot Of 1921 NPR May 31, 2018
- Tulsa’s Greenwood District: Exploring the Impact of the Tulsa Race Massacre Teaching with the Library of Congress May 27, 2021
- Tulsa Race Massacre: Newspaper Complicity and Coverage Headlines & Heroes May 27, 2021
- The Tulsa Race Massacre: Relief and the Role of the American Red Cross Inside Adams May 27, 2021
- Timeline: The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Tulsa World Updated
- 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre online exhibition Tulsa Historical Society & Museum