Black History Month 2024

'tulsa' - 2 results

Tulsa Race Riot Began



Tulsa, Oklahoma - Two days of murder, riots, and chaos began in Tulsa. At the time, only 49 were counted as dead. 36 were Black Americans and 13 were white. Actual deaths range from 75-300. It all began because of a rumor.

Monday, May 30, 1921, two teenagers worked at a store in the Drexel building. Dick Rowland was a 19 year-old, Black American male. He worked on boots. Sarah Page was a 17 year-old, white female. She was an elevator operator.

The two were touching each other in the elevator. A white man saw the two. Page screamed.

On May 31, 1921, Rowland was arrested at his home. He was charged with attempted rape. By 7:34 p.m., rumors had spread through the white community. It was started by white lawyers and newspapers. This included the Tulsa Tribune.

As rumors spread, hundreds of whites came to the courthouse. They were there to lynch (murder) Rowland. The white sheriff Willard M. McCullough was in charge of the case.

McCullough blocked the courthouse doors. He was inside with twenty-five (25) other police. They were on the top floor of the courthouse.

By 9:00 p.m., about 100 Black Americans came to the courthouse. They were armed. Many were former World War 1 veterans. Some were dressed in military uniform. McCullough told them all was under control.

By 10:00 p.m., the armed Black American men returned. By this time, there were thousands of whites at the courthouse. Unarmed whites looted nearby gun stores, pawn shops, and sporting goods stores. The whites stole guns and ammunition.

The white mob shouted 'bring the rope.' Racial slurs were hurled at the Black American men. The whites wanted to murder all the Black American men at the courthouse. The race riot was under way.

After many deaths, Rowland was never tried for a crime. He was not harmed in the riot.


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First Aerial Bombing



Tulsa, Oklahoma - Whites made airstrikes against Black Americans. This was the second day of The Tulsa Race Riots.

Early Wednesday morning, whites flew airplanes over the Greenwood District of Tulsa. From the air, whites shot rifles and made aerial bombing runs against Black Americans.

The bombs landed on buildings and homes. The bombers aimed at fleeing families. The aircraft was privately owned. Police participated. The police claimed it was to prevent a 'Negro uprising' in the town.

One witness made this report. There were 'a dozen or more' planes. They circled the neighborhood. The planes dropped 'burning turpentine balls' on an office building, a hotel, a filling station and other buildings. Shots were fired at Black Americans. They were gunned down in the street.

This was the first aerial bombing in the United States.


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