Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

June 3, 1921

On June 3, 1921, the Baltimore Afro-American reported on the Tulsa Race Massacre, where one of the nation’s most prosperous black communities (“Black Wall Street”) was looted and burned by white rioters. “Colored men were outnumbered three to one and fell back into the colored section which attacking whites immediately set on fire,” the Afro-American reported. “The state militia was called out and the city put under martial law. Police disarmed Negroes by the hundreds leaving whites their arms. Militia also aided the whites. Firemen took a stand on the edge of the black belt in order to keep the flames there and prevent any white homes from catching fire...Ten thousand colored people it is estimated lost everything that they had. They are camped on the hills above the city, in Convention Hall and in the ballpark, where the high fence enables them to be kept under strict guard. Thousands of colored people have left Tulsa for neighboring cities. To stay here means to be arrested for being colored, put in one of the detention camps on bread and water under guard or the chance of being shot at by snipers in the public streets.”

On the Tulsa Race Massacre, see this article at by Allison Keyes, which includes a long-lost eyewitness account of the riot by Buck Colbert Franklin, father of pioneering African-American historian John Hope Franklin, and the Tulsa Historical Society website

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