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Tulsa race riot centennial plans taking shape
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Tulsa race riot centennial plans taking shape

Tulsa race riot centennial plans taking shape
Sen. Kevin Matthews (D-Tulsa), Pastor Jamaal Dyer, and John W. Franklin at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C. (Courtesy: D.J. Jordan, Office of Sen. James Lankford)

Tulsa race riot centennial plans taking shape

The bloody tragedy that befell north Tulsa in 1921 has largely been ignored, even covered up, for decades.

But as U.S. Senator James Lankford has pointed out, in 2021 the entire country will look at Tulsa and remember what some call the “race riot,” while others prefer the term “race massacre.”

“The entire country’s gonna pause, and is gonna look at Tulsa a hundred years later, and to say ‘you had major race issues in 1921, is it better now in 2021?’ That is not an unreasonable question for the nation to ask,” Lankford told KRMG last week after a town hall meeting in north Tulsa.

Also at that town hall was State Senator Kevin Matthews, who was in Washington, D.C. this week to meet with Sen. Lankford and discuss the upcoming centennial.

“Senator Lankford and I want to be leaders in showing people that across party lines, across cultural lines, political and geographical lines, we can come together and tell this story, and turn that tragedy into triumph for us all,” Matthews told KRMG Thursday.

He sees the centennial as an opportunity not just for discussing racial reconciliation, but also for helping develop the Greenwood area economically.

“Young people would be able to participate by having t-shirts, and the other things that people would buy,” Matthews said. “Entertainment, food, restaurants, all of those things that come with tourism. It could be a spark for entrepreneurism and business.”

He urges anyone interested in getting involved in the commemoration of the 1921 tragedy to visit the Tulsa Race Riot Centennial Commission web page.

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