100 years after Tulsa massacre, Biden unveils new efforts for racial equity

Smoke rises from the Greenwood District on June 1, 1921, after the Tulsa Race Massacre. File Photo courtesy of U.S. Library of Congress

June 1 (UPI) — President Joe Biden pledged on Tuesday pledged to bring the reality of the Tulsa Race Massacre to the forefront as he traveled to Oklahoma for the 100th anniversary.

During his visit to the Greenwood Cultural Center, Biden noted how the impact of the history of the 1921 Tulsa massacre in which a White mob killed hundreds of Black Americans has been diminished. He outlined actions to expand access to two key wealth creators — home ownership and small business ownership — in communities of color and disadvantaged communities.

“My fellow Americans, this was not a riot. This was a massacre,” Biden said. “Among the worst in our history. But not the only one — and for too long, forgotten by our history.”

The president also met with surviving members of the massacre, which along with the death toll, left thousands destitute and homeless.

On May 31 and June 1, 1921, an armed White mob ravaged the wealthy Black neighborhood of Greenwood, a hub of Black-owned businesses known as “Black Wall Street,” in Tulsa. The mob destroyed 35 city blocks.

“We do ourselves no favors by pretending none of this ever happened,” Biden said. “We should know the good, the bad, everything. That’s what great nations do. They come to terms with their dark sides.”

Biden issued a proclamation on Monday to remember the attack and called on Americans to help eradicate systemic racism and further racial justice.

“We honor the legacy of the Greenwood community, and of Black Wall Street, by reaffirming our commitment to advance racial justice through the whole of our government and working to root out systemic racism from our laws, our policies and our hearts,” the proclamation states.

Biden also announced efforts to block racial discrimination in the U.S. housing market, including a first-of-its-kind interagency effort to address inequity in home appraisals.


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