President Joe Biden declared a Day of Remembrance on Monday to mark the a centesimal anniversary of the Tulsa Race massacre, an occasion that left as many Black Americans killed and almost 10,000 homeless.
Biden is visiting Tulsa on Tuesday, when he’ll ship remarks and tour the Greenwood Cultural Center and meet with surviving members of the group.
“Today, on this solemn centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, I call on the American people to reflect on the deep roots of racial terror in our Nation and recommit to the work of rooting out systemic racism across our country,” Biden stated within the declaration.
The bloodbath and destruction of Greenwood, the Black group of Tulsa, came about over two days, May 31-June 1, in 1921.
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He referred to as on Americans “to celebrate the bravery and resilience of those who survived and sought to rebuild their lives again, and commit together to eradicate systemic racism and help to rebuild communities and lives that have been destroyed by it.”
He stated that his administration “is committed to acknowledging the role Federal policy played in Greenwood and other Black communities and addressing longstanding racial inequities through historic investments in the economic security of children and families, programs to provide capital for small businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, including minority-owned businesses, and ensuring that infrastructure projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.”
Biden additionally stated that he’s committing “to the survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre, including Viola Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis, and Lessie Benningfield Randle, the descendants of victims, and to this Nation that we will never forget. We honor the legacy of the Greenwood community, and of Black Wall Street, by reaffirming our commitment to advance racial justice through the whole of our government, and working to root out systemic racism from our laws, our policies, and our hearts.”
The full proclamation is beneath:
One hundred years in the past, a violent white supremacist mob raided, firebombed, and destroyed roughly 35 sq. blocks of the thriving Black neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Families and youngsters have been murdered in chilly blood. Homes, companies, and church buildings have been burned. In all, as many as 300 Black Americans have been killed, and almost 10,000 have been left destitute and homeless. Today, on this solemn centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, I name on the American folks to replicate on the deep roots of racial terror in our Nation and recommit to the work of rooting out systemic racism throughout our nation.
Before the Tulsa Race Massacre, Greenwood was a thriving Black group that had grown right into a proud financial and cultural hub. At its heart was Greenwood Avenue, generally referred to as Black Wall Street. Many of Greenwood’s 10,000 residents have been Black sharecroppers who fled racial violence after the Civil War.
In the many years following the Civil War and Reconstruction, Greenwood grew to become a spot the place Black Americans have been in a position to make a brand new begin and safe financial progress regardless of the continued ache of institutional and overt racism. The group was dwelling to a rising variety of distinguished Black entrepreneurs in addition to working-class Black households who shared a dedication to social activism and financial alternative. As Greenwood grew, Greenwood Avenue teemed with profitable Black-owned companies, together with eating places, grocery shops, inns, and workplaces for medical doctors, attorneys, and dentists. The group additionally maintained its personal college system, publish workplace, a financial savings and mortgage establishment, hospital, and bus and taxi service.
Despite rising Jim Crow techniques and the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan, Greenwood’s financial prosperity grew, as did its residents’ calls for for equal rights. This made the group a supply of delight for a lot of Black Americans. It additionally made the neighborhood and its households a goal of white supremacists. In 2 days, a violent mob tore down the hard-fought success of Black Wall Street that had taken greater than a decade to construct.
In the years that adopted, the destruction brought on by the mob was adopted by legal guidelines and insurance policies that made restoration almost inconceivable. In the aftermath of the assault, native ordinances have been handed requiring new building requirements that have been prohibitively costly, which means many Black households couldn’t rebuild. Later, Greenwood was redlined by mortgage firms and deemed “hazardous” by the Federal Government in order that Black householders couldn’t entry dwelling loans or credit score on equal phrases. And in later many years, Federal funding, together with Federal freeway building, tore down and reduce off elements of the group. The assault on Black households and Black wealth in Greenwood endured throughout generations.
The Federal Government should reckon with and acknowledge the position that it has performed in stripping wealth and alternative from Black communities. The Biden-Harris Administration is dedicated to acknowledging the position Federal coverage performed in Greenwood and different Black communities and addressing longstanding racial inequities by historic investments within the financial safety of kids and households, applications to offer capital for small companies in economically deprived areas, together with minority-owned companies, and guaranteeing that infrastructure initiatives enhance alternative, advance racial fairness and environmental justice, and promote inexpensive entry.
A century later, the worry and ache from the devastation of Greenwood remains to be felt. As Viola Fletcher, a 107-year-old survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre courageously testified earlier than the Congress not too long ago, “I will never forget the violence of the white mob when we left our home. I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street. I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day. Our country may forget this history, but I cannot.”
With this proclamation, I decide to the survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre, together with Viola Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis, and Lessie Benningfield Randle, the descendants of victims, and to this Nation that we are going to always remember. We honor the legacy of the Greenwood group, and of Black Wall Street, by reaffirming our dedication to advance racial justice by the entire of our authorities, and dealing to root out systemic racism from our legal guidelines, our insurance policies, and our hearts.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by advantage of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the legal guidelines of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 31, 2021, a Day of Remembrance: 100 Years After The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. I name upon the folks of the United States to commemorate the great lack of life and safety that occurred over these 2 days in 1921, to rejoice the bravery and resilience of those that survived and sought to rebuild their lives once more, and commit collectively to eradicate systemic racism and assist to rebuild communities and lives which have been destroyed by it.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I’ve hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, within the 12 months of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the 2 hundred and forty-fifth.