1921 More than 300 were killed in a race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA – the most devastating race riot in US history in terms of lives lost.
This sad (and little known) day marks the worst racial violence in American history. Angered by false rumours, whites were shooting throughout the night of the 31st, looting and burning in the early hours of June 1.
Earlier on this day, the Tulsa Tribune newspaper ran a front page article entitled 'Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator', and a back page editorial entitled 'To Lynch Negro Tonight'.
The accusation against Dick Rowland, a black shoe-shiner said to have assaulted a white girl named Sarah Page, proved false. However, by the time this was determined, the black community of Greenwood was destroyed by a white mob, who murdered many and razed the entire 35-block area.
After the governor declared martial law, black people were rounded up by the National Guard and put into the baseball stadium. No one was ever arrested or charged in the mass murder and arson that happened that day, although many white Tulsans to this day know who the perpetrators were and simply refuse to say it. This is because many of those responsible were 'pillars of the community'.
Short video clip from a PBS documentary
Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America is a disturbing but excellent new site.
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