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People Are Sharing When They First Learned About The Tulsa Massacre And It’s The Saddest Commentary On Our Education System

Blavity logo Blavity 10/27/2021 Tomas Kassahun
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The Tulsa Massacre is trending on Twitter as people are talking about the first time they learned about one of the most significant moments in Black history. Most social media users shared similar stories, saying they didn't learn about the horrific event until they became adults. After going through school without learning about the massacre carried out against Black residents in Tulsa, Oklahoma, many people said they only heard about the tragedy in recent years. 

According to the Tulsa Historical Society And Museum, at least 300 Black residents died when armed white mobs looted and burned down the Greenwood District, also known as Black Wall Street, in 1921. Before the attack, Black Wall Street was a thriving neighborhood, which served as the home of many prosperous Black businesses.

The white mobs, however, destroyed dozens of homes and businesses in the district on June 1, 1921. The attack was a retaliation against Black residents who rallied to protect Dick Rowland, a young man who was about to be lynched after he was falsely accused of harassing a white woman. 

In the 100 years since the brutal tragedy, the details have been largely hidden from the public. 

People pointed out that the subject is notably absent in educational curriculums, similar to other significant topics in Black history.

Oklahoma residents have also lived most of their lives without learning about the massacre. 

Some didn't hear about The Tulsa Massacre until they became senior citizens. 

While many schools have failed to teach about Black Wall Street, some historians and social media accounts are raising awareness of its history.

As Blavity previously reported, no one has ever been held accountable for the massacre. A group known as Justice for Greenwood Advocates and Lessie Benningfield Randle, a 105-year-old survivor of the massacre, filed a lawsuit last year to receive compensation for damages inflicted by the attacks. 

“The Greenwood massacre deprived Black Tulsans of their sense of security, hard-won economic power and vibrant community," attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons said. "[It] created a nuisance that continues to this day. The nuisance has led to the devaluation of property in Greenwood and has resulted in significant racial disparities in every quality of life metric – life expectancy, health, unemployment, education level, and financial security."

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