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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The 1921 burning of Black Wall Avenue is lastly being known as what it was: A bloodbath

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Mrs. Viola Fletcher, 107, survivor of the Tulsa Race Bloodbath, testifies earlier than Congress.

I used to be blessed to have an excellent schooling on the subject of the Black historical past that has been a part of American historical past since earlier than the founding of what’s now the USA. No because of my faculties, in fact; I give credit score to my mother and father. My mother and father hated the usage of the time period “race riot,” which was typically used to obfuscate the homicide and bloodbath of Black individuals on this nation. My dad particularly hated the time period, since he was truly charged with “inciting a riot” throughout World Warfare II when, as a Tuskegee Airman in uniform, he was attacked and overwhelmed almost to loss of life by a crowd of white racists. 

It was with that framing in thoughts that I wrote concerning the 1921 assault on Tulsa’s Black Wall Avenue 4 years in the past, noting that it was not a “race riot,” it was a massacre. That was not my first telling of the story, nor will it’s my final. Considered one of the first stories I wrote here at Each day Kos in 2008 was additionally concerning the bloodbath; I’ve by no means known as it a riot and gained’t.

Blaming Black people for our personal deaths by the hands of white people—be they police, or citizen vigilantes, killing us en masse or in particular person lynching picnics, has gone on far too lengthy. The excellent news? Since my final effort to handle this tragedy, a fast search signifies that headlines and story content material have truly shifted previously few years, significantly after the HBO series Watchmen raised the profile of this well-hidden little bit of racist American historical past. “Riot” has been eradicated in most headlines and textual content; “bloodbath” is now the usual descriptor. It’s a begin. Lastly, we see the faces and listen to the phrases of survivors like Mrs. Viola Fletcher, 107, who testified earlier than Congress this month, and about whom Marissa Higgins wrote, “If you watch one thing today, make sure it’s these testimonies from Tulsa massacre survivors.”

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