The Tulsa, Oklahoma race massacre occurred in May 1921. On its 100th anniversary year, Oklahoma has decided to incorporate the account of this abominable incident into the statewide school curriculum. It had been kept a dark secret for decades, and had been deliberately kept out of the state’s historical narrative for over ninety nine years. Now the oldest survivor of the incident, Ms Viola Fletcher, 107-year-old, has asked for justice
Had Dick Rowland no pressing need to answer nature’s call, then arguably America’s worst race massacre could’ve been prevented. Or realistically could it ever have been? Tulsa, Oklahoma was for long sitting on a tinder box, and racial conflicts were waiting to explode. But Rowland, just 17 in May of 1921, didn’t understand all the complications the color of his skin brought with it. He was just a young and poor human being. And he desperately needed to visit a restroom—one reserved for African Americans on the top floor of a building next to the one where he shined shoes of white Americans to make a living. His skin color didn’t, of course, allow him to use a restroom in the building he worked in, so he ran that day towards the elevator in the next building to ride it up to the sixth floor. This was 1920s America where Jim Crow laws were in place, and eugenics was in fashion.