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Tulsa Race Riot

The Tulsa Race Riot was one of the most devastating race riots in US history.

On May 31, 1921 Dick Rowland, a black shoe-shine boy was accused of assaulting Sarah Page, an elevator operator in the Drexel Building. Following Rowland's arrest and the publication of a false newspaper story asserting a sexual assault, mobs of blacks and whites gathered near the jail, with the whites intending to lynch Rowland and the blacks to defend him. An alleged eyewitness account claims that the violence started when a white man was killed while trying to wrest a gun from a black man.

This happened in the racially and politically tense atmosphere of northeastern Oklahoma. The area was a hotbed of Ku Klux Klan activity at that time.

White mobs invaded the segregated black part of town, and destroyed the Greenwood district, known nationally as "Black Wall Street[?]" for its economic success. Hundreds of people were killed, and dozens of businesses, 1,256 homes, many churches and a hospital, in an area covering 35 blocks, were destroyed. Estimates of the dead range up to 300. After the governor declared martial law, black people were rounded up by the national guard and put into the baseball stadium. Several black families, such as Ada Louis Sipuel Fisher[?]'s, fled for more peaceful cities.



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