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K00372 Summary:

MLTSPNSRAnderson, Aubry, Burke, Buttenschon, Carroll, Cook, Darling, Dickens, Dinowitz, Englebright, Epstein, Fall, Fernandez, Frontus, Gallagher, Gonzalez-Rojas, Gunther, Joyner, McDonald, O'Donnell, Paulin, Peoples-Stokes, Perry, Quart, Richardson, Sillitti, Simon, Solages, Stirpe, Taylor, Thiele, Wallace, Williams, Woerner, Zinerman
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K00372 Text:

Assembly Resolution No. 372
BY: M. of A. Barron
        COMMEMORATING   the   100th   Anniversary  of  the
        destruction of Tulsa's Black Wall Street
  WHEREAS, It is the custom of this Legislative Body to take  note  of
significant  events  that  represent  turning  points in our distinctive
history, and which are indelibly etched in the saga of our great Nation;
  WHEREAS, Attendant to such concern, and  in  full  accord  with  its
long-standing  traditions,  this  Legislative  Body  is  justly proud to
commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the destruction  of  Tulsa's  Black
Wall Street to be observed from May 31-June 1, 2021; and
  WHEREAS,  Those who wish to recognize and honor the people who lived
in the Greenwood District, may visit the Black Wall  Street  Gallery  in
New  York  City;  the  gallery also serves to educate on social justice,
preserve Black history, curate Black culture, and celebrate the work  of
contemporary black artists from around the world; and
  WHEREAS,  It  has  been  100  years  since the destruction of Tulsa,
Oklahoma's Greenwood section, home of the most magnanimous demonstration
of Black self-determination in American history; and
  WHEREAS, The Tulsa race massacre, known alternatively as  the  Tulsa
race  riot,  the  Greenwood Massacre, the Black Wall Street Massacre, or
the Tulsa Massacre, took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs  of
White  residents,  many  of  them  deputized  and  given weapons by city
officials, attacked Black residents  and  businesses  of  the  Greenwood
District; and
  WHEREAS,  The  single  worst incident of racial violence in American
history was carried  out  on  the  ground  and  from  private  aircraft,
destroying  more  than  35  square blocks of the district, which at that
time, was the wealthiest Black community in the United States, known  as
Black Wall Street; and
  WHEREAS, As a result of this tragic event, more than 800 people were
admitted  to  hospitals,  and  as  many  as  6,000  Black residents were
interned in large  facilities,  many  of  them  for  several  days;  the
Oklahoma  Bureau  of  Vital  Statistics  officially  recorded  36  dead,
however, a 2001 state commission  examination  of  events  was  able  to
confirm  39  dead,  26 Black and 13 White, based on contemporary autopsy
reports, death certificates and other records; and
  WHEREAS, The massacre began during the Memorial  Day  weekend  after
19-year-old Dick Rowland, a Black shoe shiner, was accused of assaulting
Sarah Page, the 17-year-old White elevator operator of the nearby Drexel
Building;  after  his  arrest,  rumors spread through the city that Dick
Rowland was to be lynched; and
  WHEREAS, Upon hearing these reports, a mob of hundreds of White  men
had  gathered  around  the jail where Dick Rowland was being kept, and a
group of 75 Black men, some of whom were armed, arrived at the  jail  to
ensure this travesty would not happen; and
  WHEREAS, The sheriff persuaded the group to leave the jail, assuring
them  he  had  the situation under control; as the group was leaving the
premises, complying with the sheriff's request, a member of the  mob  of
White men allegedly attempted to disarm one of the Black men; a shot was
fired, and then according to the reports of the sheriff, "all hell broke
loose"; and
  WHEREAS,  At  the  end  of the firefight, members of both groups had
lost their lives; as news of these deaths spread  throughout  the  city,
mob  violence  exploded;  that night and the next morning, White rioters
rampaged through the Greenwood District, killing men,  and  burning  and
looting  stores  and  homes; around 12:00 p.m. on June 1st, the Oklahoma
National Guard imposed martial law, effectively ending the massacre; and
  WHEREAS, Unfortunately, approximately 10,000 Black people were  left
homeless, and property damage amounted to more than $1.5 million in real
estate  and  $750,000 in personal property (equivalent to $32.25 million
in 2019); and
  WHEREAS, Many survivors left Tulsa, while Black and White  residents
who  stayed  in  the  city  kept  silent about the terror, violence, and
resulting losses for decades, and the massacre was largely omitted  from
local, state, and national histories; and
  WHEREAS, In 1996, 75 years after the massacre, a bipartisan group in
the  Oklahoma State Legislature authorized the formation of the Oklahoma
Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921; the commission's  final
report,  published  in 2001, states that the city had conspired with the
mob of White citizens against Black citizens, and recommended a  program
of reparations to survivors and their descendants; and
  WHEREAS,  The State of Oklahoma also passed legislation to establish
scholarships  for   descendants   of   survivors,   encourage   economic
development  of  Greenwood,  and develop a memorial park to the massacre
victims in Tulsa, which was dedicated  in  2010;  10  years  later,  the
massacre finally became a part of the state's school curriculum; and
  WHEREAS,  On  August  18,  2020, the last male survivor of the Tulsa
race massacre, R&B and jazz saxophonist Hal Singer, died at the  age  of
100; and
  WHEREAS,  Recently,  107-year-old  Viola Fletcher, the oldest living
survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre, testified before  Congress  seeking
"justice" a century after one of the most horrific racist attacks in the
nation's history; and
  WHEREAS,  It  is the sense of this Legislative Body that when events
of such historic significance are brought to our attention, they  should
be  recognized  by  all  citizens  of  this  great  Empire  State;  now,
therefore, be it
  RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its  deliberations  to
commemorate  the  100th  Anniversary of the destruction of Tulsa's Black
Wall Street.
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