From Thu May 17 19:44:55 2001
From: Kimberly Ellis <>
Subject: [BRC-NEWS] The Tulsa Race Riot and Domestic Terrorism
Precedence: bulk
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 17:40:19 -0400 (EDT)

The Tulsa Race Riot and Domestic Terrorism

By Kimberly Ellis <>, 17 May 2001

In many ways, I do not like to compare human barbarism and tragedy. I don’t think the Jewish Holocaust was ‘better’ than the genocide of the Indigenous peoples of America or the chattel enslavement of Africans on American soil or the internment of Japanese Americans or the wholesale prostitution and rape of women all over the world. However, at some point in time and in some point in history, the body count is estimated, generational damage is assessed and square inches are counted to total up the damage. Thus, some kind of comparison must be made for a succinct analysis of some type. That approximately 6 million Jews were killed in the Jewish Holocaust matters. It also matters that in the most conservative estimation, 60 million Africans in the African Holocaust (or Maafa) were killed in the TransAtlantic slave trade, with the Atlantic Ocean being the largest graveyard in the world, filled with millions of African bones.

With this understanding then, I must state that though an unfortunate tragedy as with any wholesale destruction human life, the Oklahoma City bombing was not the worst act of domestic terrorism in peacetime America. Nor has it been any assault by some random, ruthless Arab man declaring a jihad against America—an idea around which American media, in particular, seemingly loves to generate fear. If body count, property destruction and the generational affect on human life is the measure, then the worst act of domestic terrorism in peacetime America was the Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre of mostly African Americans in 1921. Here, White Oklahomans from Tulsa and some surrounding towns almost completely wiped out the *entire* Greenwood business and residential community largely populated and run by Black Tulsans. At least 35 whole city blocks of business buildings and homes (not just one building) were completely burned mostly by those on foot *and* bombed by a few with airplanes to the ground. Although the actual death count will never be known due to the brutal nature of burning Black people alive in their own homes, dumping Black people in mass graves and/or general neglect in finding out which dead body belonged to what Black family, the approximate death count for both Blacks and Whites combined is 300. The number of people who died in the Oklahoma City bombing was 168. Men, women and children died in the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 just as they did in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Cowards conspired and colluded with other cowards and conspirators to commit this tragedy just as Timothy McVeigh conspired and colluded with others to do the same in 1995.

And, unfortunately, it is because of the large loss of White American life in the Oklahoma City Bombing of 1995 that Americans have begun to hear splintered stories of the Tulsa Riot, War and Massacre in 1921.

Americans all across the country had all eyes on Tulsa in 1921 because of the disgraceful tragedy created from hate, envy and racism. But a conspiracy of silence, fearfulness and shamefulness kept the Tulsa Race Massacre a mystery even for those who grew up in Tulsa—until Timothy McVeigh committed this awful act in the same state. But unlike the Oklahoma City bombing, the state of Oklahoma has yet to create a memorial for Tulsa race riot survivors who are now close to or are centenarians or the family members of those who did *not* survive. The destruction of the Greenwood community in Tulsa not only destroyed human life, it stole the inheritance of an entire generation of Black people who had worked hard to fulfill the American Dream and rendered their life work an eternal nightmare.

Justice must be served on all fronts and while we are in the position to remember, it is important that we record history in the manner that it should. The Tulsa Race Riot and Massacre was the worst act of domestic terrorism in the United States and has been such from 1921 until the present day. Still, however, the Oklahoma State Legislature has yet to grant reparations even to the survivors of this atrocity and has tended to rely, instead, on the trite and insulting symbolism of awarding them medals of distinction.

The bills have been written to grant reparations to these survivors, to build a memorial and establish a business and education fund for the North Tulsa community (largely African American and clearly still affected by what began in 1921), yet there has been no real public pressure placed upon the Legislature to pass the bill and begin the real healing process.

It is time for anyone who believes in Human Rights and wants to see justice served to turn all eyes on Tulsa in 2001 for what has never been laid to rest from 1921.

Even the 11-member Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot openly declared in their final report issued on February 28, 2001 that reparations for this atrocity is necessary:

Because we must face it: There is no way but by government to represent the collective, and there is no way but by reparations to make real the responsibility . . . When commissioners went looking to do the right thing, that is what nearly all of them found and what they recommended in last year’s preliminary report. To be sure they had found the right thing, they have used this formal report to explore once more the distant terrain of the Tulsa race riot and the forbidding territory in which it lies. Now, they are certain. Reparations are the right thing to do.

Please do your best to contact the Oklahoma State Legislature and let them know that you are watching and expect not revenge borne of bloodlust but justice anchored in what is both morally and legally right.