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Erasure: Tulsa Massacre 1921

If you’ve never heard of the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, you are not alone. It was one of the biggest slaughters of Black Americans by Whites in our country’s history. The reason we did not learn about such a historic event was “erasure”.

According to Lawrence Hall: “Black erasure is often a deliberate and malicious act to “whitewash” something for public consumption.” In other words, it is a way to erase history.

The Tulsa Massacre was the malicious and cruel destruction of the entire community of Greenwood, Texas. This thriving Tulsa area was also known as “Black Wall Street.” It was an American success story. The only problem: it was a Black success story. That the Black community was building wealth and prospering was too much. It had to be burned down.  A protest by Blacks to save a young man from a lynching provided the golden opportunity.

In my rendition of the destruction, I wanted to include the practice of erasure. For many years, the Tulsa Massacre was treated as if it never happened. However, it has been included in Oklahoma history books since 2009. Unfortunately, mass graves are still being searched for.