What Really Happened at the Tulsa Massacre?

HBO's "Watchmen" opened with a visceral imagining of the Tulsa Massacre in 1921. That destruction of "Black Wall Street" was real, and a moment that history books have yet to fully reckon with.

Believed to be the single worst incident of racial violence in American history

One of the worst instances of racial violence in U.S. history is one many Americans don’t even know happened. For 18 hours in 1921, the black neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma was burned to the ground by a white lynch mobs. On May 30, 1921, Black teenager Dick Rowland was arrested for allegedly assaulting a white elevator operator. When an angry white mob threatened to lynch Rowland, a group of armed black WWI veterans arrived to protect the teen. Pandemonium soon broke out.

Soon, thousands of white citizens, deputized by the police, began looting and burning black homes and businesses in Greenwood. The Greenwood district was known as Black Wall Street — a thriving black-owned business district and the wealthiest black community in the U.S. Many claimed the attack was motivated by anxieties about new black financial mobility. During the massacre, firebombs were dropped from planes. 1,256 houses were burned and up to 300 people were killed. Property damage amounted to up to $32 million in 2019 metrics according to the Oklahoma Commission.

In 2001, an official Race Riot Commission was organized to review the details of the event. No one will ever know the absolute truth of what happened during the hours of the Race Riot. However, by examining historical resources, members of the Race Riot Commission determined a number of details to be undeniable. “These are not myths, not rumors, not speculations, not questioned. They are the historical record.” No prosecutions took place for any actions committed during the massacre, and the tragedy was subsequently omitted in local, state, and federal history books. It wasn’t until the riot’s 75th anniversary that the state of Oklahoma finally expressed a desire to bring the events to light.


10/23/2019 12:00 PM
  • 35.7k
  • 87


  • Richard G.
    11/01/2019 00:44

    The police were quick to "deputize" known KKK members. Also, an assist from the US Government on the loan of those plans to level a district.

  • Talesha A.
    11/01/2019 00:41

    Steal..kill...destroy...was the objective. Who does that sound like? Yet...the bloodline of Christ and tribes Judah remain. WE SHALL NEVER BE BLOTTED OUT.

  • Connie R.
    10/31/2019 23:12

    History shows that Whites, Eaus doesn't want blacks, Hebrews to have anything! These KKK members are still thriving and alive Today! Our Ancestors and their generations here now are feeling the effects of our past and now!

  • Kenneth B.
    10/31/2019 20:38

    This happens all over the world. This is not an American problem, it is a human problem. I do agree that the education system is horrible thankfully we have acess to information at our finger tips. Reading is fundamental, sometimes you have to do the work. Dont trust an education system, take control and seek the knowledge of what interests you. An inteligent populace is a healthy populace

  • Priscilla G.
    10/31/2019 19:31

    War on Americans and never put in the history books WOW and my teacher told me there's plenty about the Black Americans and I said what the Little Rock Nine that's not the only history of our people Lady I return her history book in crisp as she gave me a C class effort I didn't want to know there history I was interested in mine

  • Charles L.
    10/31/2019 18:45

    They cannot and will not leave us alone because they know better than some of us what we're capable of.

  • Edward J.
    10/31/2019 14:20

    How many more lies are there..?

  • John D.
    10/30/2019 21:28

    That's why you always have a gun....

  • Donald N.
    10/30/2019 04:31

    Yup..and the dems started the kkk..Never fail to tell you that.

  • Pamela Z.
    10/30/2019 00:30

  • Stephanie W.
    10/29/2019 14:31


  • Lumumba M.
    10/29/2019 02:38

    It all started in Wilmington NC 1898 they burned down all of our towns then call us savages

  • Eva W.
    10/29/2019 02:12

    Pure Evil!

  • Oliver J.
    10/29/2019 00:28

    The History, ALL of it needs to be told!!

  • William H.
    10/29/2019 00:06

    Well, Scotty, I didn't know about it until just now.....

  • J S.
    10/28/2019 23:51

    Absolutely and of course I’m aware deep and growing awareness of things like this are what make me the cantankerous and serious fellow that I am. My awareness and study of these things in history amaze even me. I’ve been on a near constant self-education program about this and American History generally in all its facets since my early 40s when I read a book by Alan Bloom titled “The Closing of the American Mind” and came away knowing I didn’t know what I should know about anything. That sent me on a lifelong focused reading and education quest that has not stopped. I still don’t know anything but I know a lot more than I did then and I’m still learning. 😊 I’m currently reading “Black reconstruction 1860 to 1880” by WEB Du Bois. Which outlines several similar events in the southern states during the period following the Civil War and the one I just finished yesterday was in New Orleans, LA where women and children were killed along with the men. Also, these atrocities are not confined to the south there was a draft riot in New York City I’m thinking during the Civil War where blacks were killed. Yes I know about this particularly egregious example in Oklahoma and many others perhaps less dramatic but just as deadly and tragic.

  • Cody O.
    10/28/2019 18:49

    Wounded knee massacre 💯r

  • Xavier V.
    10/28/2019 05:10


  • Gina J.
    10/28/2019 03:06

    There is a lot of this kind of events against Native American first and African Americans after just erased by the government! 😡😡😡😡😡 At schools the kids never know about all this and that’s why a lot of white growing up ignorants and full of arrogance and stupidity! 😡😡😡😡😡

  • Earl H.
    10/28/2019 02:15