Black Lives Matter, Black Wall Street, Little Africa, martial law, massacre, newspapers, reconstruction, reparations, Richmond VA, riots, Tulsa OK
If you have followed the Don’t Duck History Facebook page over the past few weeks, you should have noticed several mentions of the Black newspaper, The Richmond Planet, sometimes simply referred to as “The Planet,” based out of Richmond, Virginia. If you haven’t followed our Facebook page, today is a good day to fix that!
Also today, The Planet will be used to tell a story (history) that came to light for many due to recent news, but has also largely been ignored in American history textbooks. The recent news is the recent 99th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, (Oklahoma: May 31, 1921-June 1, 1921), where the area of Greenwood contained a district that was sometimes referred to as “Black Wall Street.” Ironically there were other areas in the country that earned that nickname, and a section in Richmond, Virginia was one of them.
Back to Tulsa, the “riot” is said to have been triggered by a Black male being accused of assaulting a White female, and the end result was the massacre of Blacks in the area, and the physical destruction of the thriving community that they had built. Both people and businesses were displaced, and the following article from The Planet announced a request from the NAACP in December of that year, for clothing items to be donated to survivors in need. (It is followed by a transcription of the article, slightly edited for form.)
N. A. A. C. P. ASKS CLOTHES FOR TULSA SUFFERERS
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York today asked that donations of clothes be sent to the Tulsa Relief Committee, for riot victims who have to face the rigors of winter with inadequate housing and insufficient clothes to protect them from the cold.
The Association’s statement is as follows:
‘Inquiries have been coming in to the National office as to whom to send clothing to in Tulsa, to help the riot sufferers face the cold of winter. The Association has been made a center in New York for relief funds, having raised $3500 which is being exponded for physical relief and legal defense in Tulsa, but cannot undertake the distribution of clothing.
We are therefore asking that those who have clothes to give to the Tulsa sufferers, send them to
MR. S. D. HOOKER, Chairman TulsaRelief Com., 124 N. Greenwood St., Tulsa Oklahoma.
Needless to say only clothes in good condition should be sent, preferably warm garments.’
For the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
JAMES WELDON JOHNSON, Secretary.
Another resource of information about the massacre is the Library of Congress’ digitized photos, that are available online, which is a good thing because libraries are still closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the photos, below, and follow the links in the captions for more information on each.
Notice that the last photo is captioned as being in “Little Africa.” If you were to Google that phrase, you would get results from several areas in the country that were described as such. Also, notice that most of the Library descriptions use the phrase “race riot,” though a more accurate description is massacre. “Massacre” because not only was the ultimate outcome the slaughter of what may have been hundreds of Blacks, but the killing and destruction was aided by government entities, which are rarely, if ever, accused of “rioting.”
Finally, spend time learning more about the incident from the following articles:
One, from the perspective of Jim Goodwin, publisher of the Black-owned newspaper, Oklahoma Eagle, here.
The second, from this article that calls attention to a manuscript written by Buck Colbert Franklin (1879-1960), which describes Franklin’s first-hand accounts of what he witnessed years before, during, and after the historic massacre, here.
That’s all for now, but stay tuned for more interesting history that you probably didn’t get in history class! 🦆🦆🦆🦆
*****The mission of the Don’t Duck History program is to promote and facilitate the learning and sharing of American history, along with its personal and social implications, and to highlight the history of Americans whose stories are not often presented in traditional American history textbooks.
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