A year after the United States reignited the flame of racial protest, with widespread demonstrations, looting and riots, the president Joe Biden has flown this Tuesday to the city of Tulsa to honoring the victims of one of the worst lynchings for the first time massive in history, with more than 300 black victims in an outbreak of violent racism that marked exactly 100 years. During his visit, the president has repudiated what he described as “one of the worst massacres” in the nation and listened to the only three survivors alive.
Biden has come to that Oklahoma city of 400,000 inhabitants with a large representation of his cabinet to remember the destruction of one of the most prosperous neighborhoods of the African American community in the United States by a false complaint from a white woman who said she had been attacked by a young black shoe shine. This massacre was forgotten for a century, until it was revisited during last year’s race riots and the hit TV series ‘Watchmen’.
Biden is the first president to participate in acts of honor to the victims of the racist destruction of what was once known as ‘Black Wall Street’, the Greenwood neighborhood, a Tulsa business and financial district that attracted African Americans from a still segregated country.
The false denunciation of la joven Sarah Page contra Dick Rowland unleashed an outbreak of white fury. The racist mob looted shops, set fire to buildings and even threw explosives from private planes, due to the passivity, if not the collaboration, of the authorities. Apart from the 300 dead, thousands of survivors were forced to live in internment camps who oversaw the National Guard, the corps of American reservists. Of that rich black neighborhood, with 30 blocks, Biden could only visit a pile of charred bricks and a church basement, which is all that remains a century later.
There are very few survivors of the massacre from Tulsa, just three, who are already over 100 years old. They have never received compensation for material losses and damages inflicted in the massacre, although they openly asked for it last year, and even filed a lawsuit for it.
Since Abraham Lincoln outlawed slavery in 1865, the victims of this and the most recent segregation, which are still many, have asked for what is called ‘reparations’, compensation for the damages suffered, which has never gotten the green light in Washington. Yes, a museum dedicated to the massacre has been erected in Tulsa, which has cost 20 million dollars, 16 million euros.
About a year ago, the previous president, Donald Trump, He also visited Tulsa, but to participate in a rally in the middle of the pandemic, which also had to be delayed because its first date coincided with the day on which the end of slavery in the United States is celebrated, on June 19. That rally was a public failure, and caused numerous complaints about the lack of health security measures.
Racial protests last year opposed both police brutality and provocations by Trump, who on June 1, 2020 forcibly evicted a plaza outside the White House to take a photo in front of a church that had been burned for a few days. before. African American activists and voters overwhelmingly opted for Biden in the last presidential election.
Since becoming President, Biden has been committed to combat racism and police abuse, a requirement of last year’s protest, which resulted in the death of George Floyd after a white officer knelt in his neck for more than eight minutes.
The agent who killed Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of murder in the trial that culminated in April. Biden celebrated that justice had been served, but warned that the US still has a lot of work to do to settle accounts for its racist past. “This can’t end here,” he said then.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism