Tulsa Race Riots Of 1921 Echo Tensions Today
In 1921, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, erupted in race riots that left up to 300 people dead. Homes and businesses were burned.
The riot has been mostly ignored by history. But a recent fatal police shooting of an African-American man in Tulsa has re-focused attention on the city’s past.
Bruce Fisher, retired curator of the African-American projects at the Oklahoma Historical Society, and Kate Carlton Greer, a reporter for KGOU, join Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss Tulsa’s past and present.
Interview Highlights: Bruce Fisher & Kate Carlton Greer
On the history of the race riots
Fisher: “The word went out all around Oklahoma that they were killing black people, randomly, in Tulsa.”
“Too many times African Americans were lynched. Now it’s shootings.”
On a past forgotten by many
Fisher: “Black History Month didn’t cover that.”
Greer: “They’re supposed to be taught. But that doesn’t mean that students always hear it.”
Fisher, on one image from a collection of photographs from the riots: “It’s a very eerie reminder of what we see today with, ‘Hands up, don’t shoot.'”
Greer: “There are some people that connect the dots [with police shootings]. But, by and large, people aren’t talking about the shootings and relating them back to the race riots.”
Bruce Fisher, retired curator of the African-American projects at the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Kate Carlton Greer, reporter for KGOU. She tweets @katecgreer.
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