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Tulsa Race Riots

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Tulsa Race Riot

The Tulsa race riot changed the course of American history by actively expressing African American views on white supremacy. Before the events of the Tulsa race riot African Americans saw the white community taking justice into their own hands. Black citizens of Tulsa stood up against this sort of white mob. This escaladed into the Tulsa race riot. The Tulsa race riot and its effects weighed heavily upon the African Americans of this era.

The first event was with the Industrial Workers of World (IWW), where they were blamed by Tulsan’s in bombing the house of a wealthy oilman. It began on “October 29, 1917”, when the home of a wealthy oilman was bombed in Tulsa. There were little clues to be found but as Scott Ellsworth reports in his book Death in a Promised Land, “The newspapers were pointing the blame to the IWW”(25). The secretary of the IWW was going to be the spokes person for the twelve members of the IWW in court, with the accusation of bombing the house of a wealthy oilman. Ellsworth reports:

“The trial was brought to a speedy conclusion. Not only did Judge Evans find the twelve guilty, fine them $100 each, and committed them to jail, but five people in the courtroom who had served as witnesses for the defense arrested. […] The police were then instructed to transfer the seventeen prisoners that night to the county jail”(30).

The police officers escorted the seventeen men into cars and took them to the county jail, but on the way they were halted by a group of armed men, which called themselves “Knights of Liberty”. Knights of Liberty took the seventeen men out of the car and tied them to the tree. As Ellsworth reports, “They were wiped on their back and then hot tar and feathers were then applied to the bloodied backs of the seventeen men” (30).

The second event, which showed that white Tulsan’s were hostile before the Tulsa Race Riot, was when Roy Belton killed Homer Nida a taxi car drive. On August 21, 1920, Nida was driving two white men and one white woman to a dance in Red Fork. While driving Nida notice something unusual about his passenger. Just before Red Fork, as Scott Ellsworth writes that Nida was clubbed on the head by on of the men with a revolver (30). They got outside of Red Fork were Nida was then shot in the stomach by one of the men in the car. Roy Belton a white former telephone company worker took a rid...

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...sa” (60). The commission of Tulsa has been working since 1997 to create a better picture of the violence that led to the destruction the city’s black business district. The magazine the Jet report, “that the commissioners recommended restitution ranging from a memorial and scholarships to direct payments to survivors and their descendants” (9). There is also been a controversy about the number of deaths during the Tulsa race riot. In 1999 historians came to Tulsa trying to find the correct number of deaths. In a Goble-News article historians believe close to 300 people died during the violence of the Tulsa race riot (n.pag.). In all black citizen of Tulsa became very close do to this tragedy that accrued on June 1, 1921.

The Tulsa race riot changed the course of American history by actively expressing African American views on white supremacy. Certainly I feel with the available facts in this research paper, that the whites were the aggressors for the events leading up to the Tulsa race riot and the start of the Tulsa race riot. African Americans were simply there to stand up against the white supremacy and to provide the African Americans Tulsa their freedom and equal justice.
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