OHS EXTRA! - "Until I get what I lost"
May 26, 2021
The Tulsa Race Massacre is believed to be the single worst incident of racial violence in American history. Those 18 terrible hours on May 31 and June 1, 1921, continue to haunt Oklahomans. The handwritten caption of this photo documents the horrible motive behind the destruction of Black-owned properties. More than 1,000 homes and businesses were destroyed, and estimates range from 50 to 300 people killed. By the time the violence ended, the city had been placed under martial law, thousands of Tulsans were being held under armed guard, and the state's second-largest Black community had been burned to the ground. Click the button below to browse Oklahoma Historical Society resources related to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
The June 24, 1921, issue of The Black Dispatch reported on the perseverance of Black property owners just weeks after the immeasurable destruction and loss of life experienced by the people of the Greenwood community. White business leaders immediately sought to develop the devastated area and shift Black residents to another underdeveloped area of the city with no amenities. This front-page story from The Black Dispatch heralded the "unbroken spirit of Black folk" who planned to rebuild the area of Greenwood. This was made clear in the spoken sentiments of Professor J. W. Hughes, a Black educator who stated to city officials, "I'm going to hold what I have until I get what I lost." This became a rallying cry for justice at the time.
The Black Dispatch (Oklahoma City, OK), June 24, 1921, 1 (gateway.okhistory.org).
During its 128-year history, the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) has collected and shared the story of Oklahoma. The OHS stands committed to our mission to collect, preserve, and share the history and culture of all Oklahomans. Learn more and browse free resources related to the Black experience in Oklahoma by clicking here.
The Tulsa Race Massacre e-exhibit includes an exploration of Tulsa and Black Wall Street before the massacre, as well as the local and national causes and catalysts leading up to the horrific event. The virtual content also includes the aftermath of the massacre, which led to the unlawful internment of thousands of Blacks in the Tulsa community.
Lesson plans about the Tulsa Race Massacre
Oklahoma History Center
"Riot versus Massacre"
Lesson Plan
Oklahoma History Center
Tulsa Race Massacre
One-Day Lesson Plan
Oklahoma History Center
Tulsa Race Massacre
Five-Day Lesson Plan
The May 2021 episode of A Very OK Podcast covers the horrific race massacre that took place in Tulsa during the evening and morning hours of May 31 to June 1, 1921. Podcast hosts Trait Thompson and Bob Blackburn discuss what happened during those fateful hours and how Oklahoma can begin to heal as the 100th anniversary approaches. Phil Armstrong, project director for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, joins in the discussion.
Tulsa titles available at the Oklahoma History Center Museum Store
Online primary sources
The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission (TRMCC) was formed to actively leverage the rich history surrounding the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by facilitating actions, activities, and events that commemorate the race massacre. In an effort to remember the massacre's victims and survivors, the Commission also fosters sustainable entrepreneurship and heritage tourism within the Greenwood District and North Tulsa. To view the full TRMCC event calendar, click here.
"Remember and Rise" Memorial Day 2021

The Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission (TRMCC) is hosting a 100-year commemoration event on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, called "Remember and Rise." The nationally televised event will include a keynote speech by voting rights activist and New York Times bestselling author Stacey Abrams. Additional national civic leaders will also be speaking at the event. Artist and activist John Legend will be speaking and performing at the outdoor gathering to be held at ONEOK Field in Greenwood. Several other entertainers and national civic leaders also will be a part of this historic event.

Tickets for the event are sold out, but the event will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person. Click on the button below for more details about the broadcast.

The TRMCC will also be having a candlelight vigil after the conclusion of the "Remember and Rise" event to provide a solemn moment of remembrance for the losses suffered on May 31 and June 1, 1921.

At 9 p.m. candles for the vigil will be handed out at the corner of Greenwood Avenue and Archer Street. Then, at 10:30 p.m., the public ceremony will take place on the streets of Greenwood, Archer, and Elgin. In-person participants will gather together in silence at the moment the first shot was fired during the massacre.

For those wishing to participate virtually, you can take a picture of yourself holding a candle or similar light source, make a personal commitment to racial healing and reconciliation, and post your image and personal message on social media using #TulsaTriumphs and #GreenwoodRising.
OHS updates COVID-19 safety measures

Per CDC guidance, we recommend that visitors who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination wear face masks and maintain social distancing in indoor public areas. All visitors, staff, volunteers, contractors, and vendors should continue to use appropriate handwashing techniques.

We ask that you avoid visiting OHS museums, sites, and affiliates if you have COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms, have a fever, or are otherwise feeling sick or unwell.
Click event listings below for more information.

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