I’m angry this morning. Why? The president chose his “come back” rally on June 19th. Also known as Juneteenth. The location? Tulsa.
For those that do not know what the significance is. Let me explain. Read to the end.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
Ok Kenny, but what’s up with Tulsa? June 1, 1921, thousands of white residents of Tulsa feared an “insurrection” and poured into the Greenwood District of Tulsa. A predominately black area. Greenwood also had a THRIVING business district dubbed Black Wallstreet.
They burned it to the ground. Not only did the white population burn it to the ground. But some of them were deputized and given weapons by city officials. They committed murder. Arson. Rape. They shot an unarmed black man in a movie theater. They did this over a 35 block area. Firefighters who arrived to help put out fires later testified that rioters had threatened them with guns and forced them to leave.
According to a later Red Cross estimate, some 1,256 houses were burned; 215 others were looted but not torched. Two newspapers, a school, a library, a hospital, churches, hotels, stores and many other black-owned businesses were among the buildings destroyed or damaged by fire.
By the time the National Guard arrived and declared martial law shortly before noon, the riot had effectively ended. Though guardsmen helped put out fires, they also imprisoned many black Tulsans, and by June 2 some 6,000 people were under armed guard at the local fairgrounds.
According to estimates, up to 300 people were murdered and up to 8000 were made homeless.
In 18 hours.
Still with me? Lets regroup. The president. The one that alled PEACEFUL protesters thugs. The one that said that because the economy had a bounce back blip, it was a great day for George Floyd (What does that even mean?). The man that has decided that the first “Make America Great Again” rally… the “Comeback” rally, should be held on June 19th… the day that commemorates the end of slavery. In the location where angry mobs literally DESTROYED an entire black communities lives and way of life.
It’s callous. It’s wrong. It’s devoid of empathy and lacking in basic decency. But go ahead and tell me how we should stop protesting. Tell us that one has nothing to do with the other. Tell us that it isn’t systemic.
Say it out loud. Say it so you hear yourself try and justify it.
It has to stop.
More on the Tulsa Massacre: https://www.history.com/