Join the book discussion on Tulsa Massacre in 1921 and learn from the mistakes of the past
The Burning, the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, will be reviewed at the Hoag Library in Albion at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Mike Magnuson of the Library, Rev. Jim Renfrew, Gary Kent, Lorienda Smith, Bob Golden and others will assist and participate in an audience-wide discussion.
Saint Pope John XXIII prayed daily, “Lord help me to remain humble, so I don’t hurt others.”
But at 5:01am on June 1st, 1921, a mob of heavily armed white men, “the superior race,” aided by a machine gun from an over-looking hill and two armed airplanes, aided and abetted by the press, business and public officials, stormed a highly successful middle-class community of 15,000 Blacks.
They killed as many as 300 Blacks. (We don’t know exactly, because many were stacked on trucks, dumped into mass graves and covered over, unmarked. Because of pictures and persistent tales of the truck loads of Black bodies, 99 years later the white mayor of Tulsa led a search by archaeologists and 12 such unmarked graves were excavated.)
They also looted and burned to the ground 1,115 homes (315 more were looted only), 5 hotels, 31 restaurants, 4 drugstores, 8 doctors’ offices, a new school, two dozen grocery stores, a hospital, public library and 12 churches.
Why study this now? So we don’t repeat (and desist from) the same mistakes. Although this may be an extreme example, there are countless similar incidents in our history, and for that matter in the history of man, e.g. Ukraine and Afghanistan right now. Currently in the US –although we’ve gotten better – we continue to consider and treat Blacks, Native Americans, other minorities and women as “inferior” and “hurt’ them.
As Alcoholics Anonymous says in its Twelve steps toward recovery, “We need to make a fearless examination of conscience.”
This book discussion is organized by the Community Coalition for Justice, which includes committee representatives from 6 churches and two civic organizations.
(Golden is a member of the Coalition and a retired Probation Director in Orleans County, as well as a member of the Social Justice Committee at Holy Family Parish.)