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What Caused the Tulsa Race Massacre?
Although Johnson believed that a small group of people carried out the shootings, others disagreed. Many black Tulsans blamed the events on a more significant number of whites who called themselves the Citizens’ Committee of Safety. This committee had been formed two years earlier to protect white Tulsans from attacks by black gangs.
According to historian Thomas J. Sugrue, the committee’s members used racist language and encouraged violent retaliation against black Tulsans. He says that this organization played an important role in sparking violence. However, Johnson determined that the riots began spontaneously. An anonymous caller warned police
that there would be trouble at First Street and Cherokee Avenue. Soon afterward, rumors spread among black Tulsans about the danger posed by armed white men.
When the crowds assembled, the white mob grew more extensive and more aggressive. Black Tulsans fled for safety. Some hid inside stores, while others ran through alleys and side streets.
What Role Did Airplanes Play in the Tulsa Race Massacre?
In the early morning hours of May 31, 1921, a mob of white men attacked African-American residents of Greenwood, a neighborhood on the north side of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The rioters killed between 300 and 400 people, most of them black. Among those who died were two young women, one only 15 years old, the other 18. One was shot while trying to escape; her attackers had raped the other before
she bled to death. Their deaths are remembered as part of the history of the Tulsa race massacre, but they also represent an essential chapter in the story of aviation.
The first airmail route in America opened in September 1919 when the U.S. Post Office Department began delivering mail from New York City to San Francisco via Chicago. In April 1920, the government extended its service to include Los Angeles. This new service required airplanes to fly over the western United States, with few roads or railroads. To help make this possible, the federal government built
airports at significant cities along the routes.
The first scheduled airline flights began in June 1920 with the launch of the American Airways Company, which flew between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. By 1922, more than 500 airlines operated throughout the country. That year, the Civil Aeronautics Authority established rules for safety that included minimum weight requirements for aircraft and regulations against flying too high. These measures helped prevent crashes caused by turbulence and ice buildup.
On November 22, 1926, Charles Lindbergh became the first to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. He did it in just under 20 hours. His flight sparked public interest in aviation. Soon after his historic trip, he founded the National Air Transport Association, promoting aviation safety and encouraging pilots to become better educated about their craft. NATA later merged into the International Air Transport
Association. On December 17, 1927, the first commercial passenger plane took off from the city’s airport. It carried five passengers: three men and two women. They traveled from Kansas City to St. Louis. In 1929, the world’s first scheduled international air service began when Pan Am introduced a daily service between New York and Havana, Cuba.
By 1930, there were more than 1,000 airports scattered around the United States. Many of these were used exclusively for private planes. Others served small communities that lacked sufficient landing strips.
During the Great Depression, many Americans turned away from air travel because they could not afford tickets. But others continued to use the services offered by airlines.
How Was the Tulsa Race Massacre Covered Up?
When news broke of the massacre, newspapers reported the events without any mention of race. However, the next day, some publications ran stories about the victims’ race. On June 2, 1921, the Philadelphia Tribune wrote, “Not less than 100 negroes have been murdered by whites during the past 24 hours.” The article went on to say, “All the Negroes slain have been lynched.” Similar reports appeared in other papers, including the New York Times and the Daily Oklahoman. After the massacre, the Tulsa World published an editorial titled “Lynching—We Want No More Of That Kind Here!”.The paper said that the black-white conflict had gone far enough and that the “bloody trail must be stopped.”
It also criticized the press for publishing false information. Some white residents called for a massive show of force to protect them from further attacks. In response, police officers formed a particular unit known as the Posse Comitatus to safeguard white people. This group consisted of volunteers who answered calls for help. Some citizens feared that all blacks would retaliate against white residents. On July 3, 1921, the Daily Oklahoman reported that a mob of 10,000 men was planning to march through downtown Tulsa. To stop this violence, the newspaper suggested that the government should send federal troops. However, President Warren G. Harding refused to do so. Instead, he appointed Hugh Johnson, a U.S. attorney, to investigate the incident. Johnson arrived in Tulsa on August 8 and immediately began looking for evidence. At the time, the city had no legal system. Therefore, Johnson relied on eyewitness accounts to build a case.
He interviewed witnesses and collected physical evidence at crime scenes. The investigation revealed that several hundred black Tulsans had gathered at the intersection of First and Main streets at approximately 7 p.m . on May 31. According to one witness, a man named James H. Payne shot into the crowd with his pistol. The bullet struck a woman named Pearl Moore, killing her instantly. Another person in the group said that she heard someone shout, “Kill every nigger you see.” Then, the shooter fired four more shots into the crowd.
A few minutes later, another bystander saw a white man run toward a nearby house. When he returned 15 minutes later, he did not look upset or frightened. Witnesses told investigators that the gunman had worn a light-colored shirt and dark pants. They also claimed that the shooter had a mustache and wore glasses.
Other witnesses described seeing two young women running across the street after being shot. One of them was wearing a red dress. Investigators found bloodstains in the area where the women were standing. These spots led to a vacant lot owned by William Penn Davis. Police arrested three suspects within days of the shooting. Two of them were eventually tried and convicted. However, they were released before serving their entire sentences because of insufficient evidence. The third suspect died in prison.
On September 11, 1921, the Tulsa World published a story outlining the results of Johnson’s investigation. The report concluded that five men had committed murder. However, it stated that only three shooters had been identified.
What the Tulsa Race Massacre Destroyed?
The Tulsa race riots destroyed much of what made Tulsa, such a thriving community in 1920. As many as 100 black Tulsans were killed; hundreds more were injured. Many businesses were burned down. Most churches lost their stained glass windows. Homes were looted and vandalized. Even the state capitol building suffered damage.
Although more than 1,500 buildings were damaged, most of these structures survived the riot. However, some black Tulsans lost everything when the mobs attacked their homes.
What could reparations for Tulsa’s lost wealth pay for today?
Tulsa has never fully recovered from the violence. The city is still struggling to rebuild itself. Today, Tulsa is the largest majority-black city in the United States. It is home to one of the nation’s top universities. It also boasts an impressive skyline filled with skyscrapers. However, the city’s economic future remains uncertain.
Today, the population of Tulsa is 82 percent black. This means that most people living there are African Americans. Although the black population makes up nearly 90 percent of the city’s residents, whites make up less than 10 percent. Black Tulsans have been disproportionately affected by poverty over the past century.
How did ‘Black Wall Street’ begin?
Black Wall Street was built in 1873 on land donated by former Vice President John C. Calhoun. At the time, this part of downtown Tulsa was known as Greenwood. White Tulsans referred to this neighborhood as “Negro Hill.” In 1919, the Ku Klux Klan began holding meetings at the First Baptist Church in Greenwood. These gatherings attracted thousands of followers. In 1924, the KKK renamed the neighborhood “Black Wall Street.”
Can you visit Black Wall Street?
Yes, you can go to Black Wall Street, which is located in New York City. The name comes from a black wall painted on the side of a building at the corner of Broad and Wall Streets. However, Black Wall Street is now just a tourist attraction.
The difference between the colors has been there since ancient times. And this provocation has to lead to its shadows even today. African Americans are facing many problems due to this superiority in whites even today. Therefore, We must work and protect them at any cost and must always live in the present. Ancient folklores or hatred are not required to govern our brain. Simply the heart has to.