1921: Black Business District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Attacked, Aerially Bombed and Razed, Victims Dumped in Mass Graves

An otherwise poor and uninformative documentary (funded by Pennsylvania Public Television and Corporation for Public Broadcasting) on the US bombing and burning alive of 11 residents, adults and children, of the MOVE house in Philadelphia, 1985, begins with one minute (10:30 to 11:30) on the rarely-mentioned 1921 onslaught, aerial bombing, and incineration of the “Black Wall Street” business district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, by white mobs, including the KKK and government forces.

From the PPT, CPB doc:

May 31st, 1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The ‘Negro Wall Street’ district of the Greenwood neighborhood is bombed from the air.

Whites invade the enviable black business district, looting, burning, killing.

The police commandeer private planes. The 101st Airborne is flown in. A load of dynamite is dropped. 75 instantly killed. Hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed.

Four truckloads of bodies are shoveled into mass graves along the Arkansas river.

4,000 black men, women, and children arrested and placed in concentration camps, where they are required to carry ‘passes’.

The city quickly re-zones the neighborhood so that the railroad can be run through, thus completing the destruction of that neighborhood.

Wikipedia states that on May 31 and June 1, 1921:

…a group of white people attacked the black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It resulted in the Greenwood District, also known as ‘the Black Wall Street‘ and the wealthiest black community in the United States, being burned to the ground.

An estimated 10,000 blacks were left homeless, and 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire. The official count of the dead by the Oklahoma Department of Vital Statistics was 39, but other estimates of black fatalities vary from 55 to about 300.

The events of the riot were long omitted from local and state histories. “The Tulsa race riot of 1921 was rarely mentioned in history books, classrooms or even in private. Blacks and whites alike grew into middle age unaware of what had taken place.”

One official, the police chief, was found guilty of “failing to take proper precautions for protecting life and property, and for conspiring to free automobile thieves and collect rewards.”

“No legal records indicate that any other white official was ever charged of wrongdoing or even negligence.”

Black Wall Street neighborhood after the massacre and being razed:


Of the wider trend of this kind of violence in the US during that period, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Elliot G. Jaspin has documented in his book, Buried in Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America, that whites in the US, mainly in the period of about 1900 to about 1920, engaged in extraordinarily widespread, mass “racial cleansings” of large areas in which black people lived.

White terrorists would form mobs and drive out the black people, torturing and killing those who could not escape or refused to leave.  The US government allowed the practice and did not punish or rectify it, and many of the cleansed counties remain entirely white today.

Records, like those from the Black Wall Street massacre, abound of harrowing escapes as white mobs fired at black civilians in their neighborhoods and burned down their houses, forcing people to flee through forests and creeks, hide in wells, or simply get on trains at gunpoint and go away.

Crucially, Jaspin also documents why this history is almost entirely unknown in the US: people either deny or try to explain away racial cleansings [and many other crimes of their society], through tactics such as using euphemisms, making excuses, or, the tactic perhaps most seen today, blaming the victims.

George Orwell wrote: “The nationalist not only does not disprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Lynchings of black people were also a frequent occurrence during, before, and after this period.

Harvard scholar Garikai Chengu notes:

A lynching was a quintessential American public ritual that often took place in front of large crowds that sometimes numbered in the thousands. Historian Mark Gado notes that, “onlookers sometimes fired rifles and handguns hundreds of times into the corpse while people cheered and children played during the festivities”.

…in 1899 the Springfield Weekly described a lynching by chronicling how, “the Negro was deprived of his ears, fingers and genital parts of his body. He pleaded pitifully for his life while the mutilation was going on…before the body was cool, it was cut to pieces, the bones crushed into small bits…the Negro’s heart was cut into several pieces, as was also his liver…small pieces of bones went for 25 cents…”. Such graphic accounts were the norm in the South, and photos, were regularly taken of the lynched bodies on display and made into postcards that were sent all over the country.

Lynchings were sanctioned by the US government, as they were not prevented and went unpunished.

In the US today, Chengu continues, the:

…police state assassinates the Black victim twice. Once by way of lynching and again to assassinate the victim’s character so as to justify the public execution [blaming the victim].

Chauncey DeVega notes at Alternet:

American Exceptionalism [the US state-worshiper’s version of “Our God is the One True God”] blinds those who share its gaze to uncomfortable facts and truths about their own country.

The burned to death images of the black body were a form of mass culture in 19th- and 20th-century America.

DeVega gives some samples of reports on how lynchings were carried out:

Two thousand people gathered for the killing, some taking a special excursion train from Atlanta for the purpose. The leaders of the lynching stripped Hose, chained him to a tree, stacked wood around him, and soaked everything in kerosene. The mob cut off Hose’s ears, fingers and genitals; they peeled the skin from his face. They watched, a newspaper reported, ”with unfeigning satisfaction” as the man’s veins ruptured from the heat and his blood hissed in the flames.

Another lynching:

“Great masses of humanity flew as swiftly as possible through the streets of the city in order to be present at the bridge when the hanging took place … the Negro was … taken to the City Hall … crowds of men, women and children turned and hastened to the lawn.

“On the way to the scene of the burning people on every hand took a hand in showing their feelings in the matter by striking the Negro with anything obtainable, some struck him with shovels, bricks, clubs, and others stabbed him and cut him until when he was strung up his body was a solid color of red, the blood of the many wounds inflicted covered him from head to foot.

“Dry goods boxes and all kinds of inflammable material were gathered, and it required but an instant to convert this into seething flames. When the Negro was first hoisted into the air his tongue protruded from his mouth and his face was besmeared with blood.”

“Life was not extinct within the Negro’s body, although nearly so, when another chain was placed around his neck and thrown over the limb of a tree on the lawn, everybody trying to get to the Negro and have some part in his death. The infuriated mob then leaned the Negro, who was half alive and half dead, against the tree, he having just strength enough within his limbs to support him.

“As rapidly as possible the Negro was then jerked into the air at which a shout from thousands of throats went up on the morning air and dry goods boxes, excelsior, wood and every other article that would burn was then in evidence, appearing as if by magic. A huge dry goods box was then produced and filled to the top with all of the material that had been secured.

“The Negro’s body was swaying in the air, and all of the time a noise as of thousands was heard and the Negro’s body was lowered into the box.” “No sooner had his body touched the box than people pressed forward, each eager to be the first to light the fire, matches were touched to the inflammable material and as smoke rapidly rose in the air, such a demonstration as of people gone mad was never heard before. Everybody pressed closer to get souvenirs of the affair. When they had finished with the Negro his body was mutilated.

“Fingers, ears, pieces of clothing, toes and other parts of the Negro’s body were cut off by members of the mob that had crowded to the scene as if by magic when the word that the Negro had been taken in charge by the mob was heralded over the city. As the smoke rose to the heavens, the mass of people, numbering in the neighborhood of 10,000 crowding the City Hall law and overflowing the square, hanging from the windows of buildings, viewing the scene from the tops of buildings and trees, set up a shout that was heard blocks away.”

In another lynching:

…fingers and toes were cut off, his teeth pulled out by pliers and finally he was castrated. It still wasn’t enough. Irwin was then burned alive in front of hundreds of onlookers (Brundage, p. 42).

DeVega continues that white torture and execution of blacks:

…was a ceremony … with distinct practices, that symbolically purged the black body from the white polity…

The rendering of spectacular violence against non-whites paid a psychological wage to white people that helped to create a type of social cement for White America, one that covered up its own intra-group tensions of class, religion, and gender. This racial logic continues in the present with a racially discriminatory criminal justice system, the murder by police of black and brown people, and how white Americans support such unfair treatment.

A 2001 report on the destruction of Black Wall Street “included the commission’s recommendations for some compensatory actions, most of which were not implemented by the state and city governments. The state passed legislation to establish some scholarships for descendants of survivors, economic development of Greenwood, and a memorial park to the victims in Tulsa. The latter was dedicated in 2010.”


5/19 Addition:

A 1999 article from The Telegraph notes that “Dr Clyde Snow, the world’s leading authority in forensic anthropology” was at that time “preparing to spend the coming months in his home state of Oklahoma, identifying the remains of hundreds of men, women and children believed buried in communal graves.”

Using radar, scientists found that as many as 400 black people were buried in the mass graves after what Dr. Snow called “a form of ethnic cleansing”.  [Forms the crime takes include physical involuntary transfer of a group, involuntary transfer using terror, murder and other abuses, killing off large parts of the group, as in this case, and others, all of which have been practiced for hundreds of years to create and hold the US territory.]

The Tulsa massacre is largely unknown to US citizens “not least because of a campaign by the local authorities to cover up the full extent of the killing in its immediate aftermath.”

“Dozens of official documents are missing, believed destroyed in the cover-up. Most controversially, a headline and editorial from the Tulsa Tribune that called for whites to “lynch a negro tonight”, which is widely believed to have sparked the slaughter, have been removed from every surviving archive edition. A reward is now being offered for a copy of the original newspaper.”

A survivor, “Clyde Eddy, has come forward to say that he saw boxes of dead blacks being buried secretly in crates in unmarked graves at a city cemetery. Four other possible sites of mass graves are also to be investigated.”

Oklahoma senator Don Ross stated of the massacre that “Some people have worked very hard to keep this hidden”.

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  • John Francis

    Some of my forbears are from Camden, Arkansas. I remember hearing stories, when I was a kid, of blacks being taken into the woods and never heard from again. My grandmother, who was a meek, loveable soul, commented to us how it was so terrible how the blacks were done. I can only imagine what she saw growing up.

    • william mony

      Only through the healing through our Lord Jesus can we begin to address the evil perpetuated against all minorities.
      The government far from healing the wounds they have thrown gasoline on them.
      We need to let people know that the powers that be, want us fighting as they get rich and steal from us at reckless abandon.
      The uniting of people needs to come at the local street level
      Pray for our nation.

      • Saddan Brackin

        But Jesus won’t do it we weren’t praying to Jesus when we got here ..we were given this satanic religion as a blinding tool…hell if it made these Babylonian people conscious we wouldn’t be having this convo

        • william mony

          You can pray to whoever you want, but the ONLY way to the father is through the son, Jesus.
          Soon, the world will be fainting from fear at what is coming upon the earth.

  • Rickey Douglas Love

    This was skipped in my American History Classes,and is Sickening ~ There has always been,.,., and will and will be the Inhumane on the Planet,.,., Sometimes I think I was Born on the Wrong One ~ Peace . . .

    • kim

      Why are people hiding the truth somone who is 52 just found out about the tulsa bombing on another blog why keep important history that could change the lives of many black people to realize we had something here in america we finally had something to ourselves like mexicans with thier own grocery stores laundromats, and etc. Why maybe its so embarrassing to O.K. when every year they hold anniversaries for the mural event but noone says anything about this which in my opinion is way worser.

  • jadan

    This is a “Christian country”. Exceptional. Indispensable. You can be sure that each of these souvenir-takers was a Bible thumper.

    • Teodoro Cervantes-Leon

      Actually such behavior proves that the perpetrators were anything but Christian. Christian in name only. You will know them by their fruit.

  • wunsacon

    Washington’s Blog, thank you again for the education that “history” classes in U.S. public school did not provide me.

    I’ve learned that, contrary to right-wing accusations, public education is not liberal. The “history” books are pre-selected and obscure the truth, perhaps to raise the next generation of naive voters. And, generally, the teachers either only know what they themselves were “taught” or censor themselves b/c speaking out is not worth the risk.

    • rhonda.foster

      This is a terribly biased article written to inflame emotions rather that tell the truth. The author of this article fails to mention it was the KKK that was directly responsible for the atrocity in Tulsa. Furthermore, the KKK was responsible for the terrible lynchings that were described here. Don’t believe me? LOOK IT UP and draw your conclusions from the truth.

      What about the “Tulsa Outrage” in 1917? Doesn’t that deserve to be discussed as well? One of the founders of Tulsa was Wyatt Tate Brady, a prominent businessman and hotelier at the time when 12 members of the Industrial Workers of the World were whipped, tarred and feathered.

      Oh, he was a card-carrying member of the KKK too! A federal investigation into the incident revealed statements from all 30 attackers which pointed the finger directly at Brady and Tulsa’s Chief of Police. LOOK IT UP PEOPLE!!!

      The author speaks of terrorists and history shows that the Ku Klux Klan was the terrorist arm of the Democrat Party. LOOK IT UP PEOPLE!!!

      Here’s a link to make it easy for you: https://www.bing.com/search?q=

      This ugly little fact about the Democrat Party is detailed in the book, A Short History of Reconstruction, (Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., 1990) by Dr. Eric Foner, the renown liberal historian who is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. LOOK IT UP PEOPLE!!!

      It doesn’t take much research to uncover the true facts in an unbiased light. Only those with an agenda will refuse to do their own research into the facts, they would rather promote half-truths that have been embellished to suit their own agenda. That is called a LIE of OMISSION.

      Get the facts…ALL OF THE FACTS…and then USE YOUR BRAIN to separate fact from fiction.

      • rhonda.foster

        So just WHO is “Chauncey DeVega”? Did anybody here take the time to look him/them up? I did.

        Turns out that DeVega is a conglomeration of three people who hide behind a name to promote their hateful, race-baiting bullshit. Always an agenda…

        Who is Chauncey DeVega? We are 3 black people whose friends got tired of hearing our daily rants, and reading our many (and often forwarded) emails. Collectively, we
        read too much, have opinions on everything, and have too many degrees–and the debt to prove it.

        We are respectable negroes who are just a little angry (and you know what happens when we get angry). It may appear that we are the same, but as you will see, we are quite different. We often agree, and we often don’t.

        We be respectable negroes who will remain anonymous for now, but there will be clues, tasty morsels of information, that friends (and perhaps enemies) can use to find out our gov’t names.

      • wunsacon

        >> The author speaks of terrorists and history shows that the Ku Klux Klan
        was the terrorist arm of the Democrat Party. LOOK IT UP PEOPLE!!!

        Aside from the fact that the D’s and R’s switched positions on race relations and civil rights during the 60’s, the important point (for me) isn’t which political party racist murderers partied with but the fact that this (and your examples of statist-capitalists murdering workers) happened at all and is mentioned only superficially in “history” books.

        • rhonda.foster

          The D’s and R’s are the same people that yell and scream at each other in front of the cameras, yet they are best buddies when the cameras leave. ALL politicians follow Cicero’s advice – tell the people what they want to hear and you will win the election. That is exactly what they do and this has been going on since Roman times.

          You make a very valid point in that these events in today’s history books are glossed over if they are even mentioned at all. How can we expect people to learn from past mistakes (history) if they are oblivious to those mistakes. We can’t. Therefore we are condemned to repeat those same mistakes.

          • Exactly. So why then do you criticize Chauncy DeVega as race-baiters when they are just trying to illuminate “past mistakes” that have been “glossed over if they are even mentioned at all?”

          • James Barnhart

            Rhonda.foster It is not entirely true that the D’s and R’s are best of buddies when the cameras leave. The Republican party is the reason why the blacks were given their freedom, given the rights to vote, the reason why the Civil Rights Act was passed, the reason why blacks in military were given equal pay, the reason children of both races attending school together.
            The Democrats have done everything to discredit the Republican party. History pointed out that John F Kennedy spear headed the Civil Rights Movement, but it was in fact Dwight D Eisenhower who proposed that matters involving the lack of civil liberties for black Americans be looked at and equal rights be exercised by all Americans. It was was when he was a general in the U.S. Army when he saw the blacks and white soldiers were serving in separate platoons as well as the unfair practices of paying black soldiers lower wages than the whites. When Eisenhower put it out there to level the playing field, it was coming close to the end of his second term, he kept it low key, giving little attention to it as possible. Which is the reason why history overlooked Eisenhower on the conception of civil rights. He didn’t want the Democrats attacking it from the get go, he wanted to give it legs so it could have a running start. Why do you think Kennedy got shot dead before the end of his presidency? He was the man who was going to carry the Civil Rights to fruition, he was also going to expose the Secret Society and do away with the Federal Reserve. But the Democrats were more afraid of the outrage it was going to bring to the South, and Lyndon B. Johnson was a Southerner. History shows that Johnson was a racist, he was not bashful about throwing around the N-word. He even tried to stall Martin Luther King Jr. in leading the march in Selma.
            Let history prove that the Republicans were the strength behind the liberty and equal status of Black Americans. God bless

          • Paying Attention

            No, LIBERALS are the reason why civil rights were finally moved forward as an agenda — Republican Liberals like Lincoln. Please read up on your history, paying close attention to the “Southern Strategy” that explains the effort to change the racist south from following the Democrats to embracing the conservatives in the republican party. The Republicans kicked all the liberals out of their party and they found a home with the democrats. Now the republicans are left with no liberals and are much worse for it.

          • Susan Burns

            Liberals are NOT the reason why civil rights were finally moved forward as an agenda. REPUBLICANS are the reason why civil rights were finally moved forward as an agenda. If you are talking about the CLASSIC Liberal, which has NOTHING to do with liberalism today, then that’s another topic altogether. Yes, Lincoln was a “classic” liberal – BUT he was a REPUBLICAN and it is the REPUBLICAN PARTY who is responsible for moving the civil rights agenda forward to its fruition and today’s liberals have had NOTHING to do with it. It is the DEMOCRAT PARTY and today’s LIBERALS, including Hillary Rotten Clinton, who have consistently fought the civil rights movement.

        • Susan Burns

          The D’s and R’s NEVER “switched positions”. That is ANOTHER LIE brought to you by the Progressives. The Republicans have ALWAYS been on the side of freedom and liberty and protecting inalienable rights for ALL. There has NEVER been a time when Republicans have NOT been for civil rights. So that is a bald-faced LIE you have been fed that the D’s and R’s ‘switched’ sides.

      • Audrey M Ellis

        It Happened! That’s all! It Happened! The rest does not matter!!! For peoples Sake!

        • Bluelephant

          That is what is most important-
          The government allowed-
          Law Enforcment allowed it and aided in the torturous acts against a HUMAN LIFE

          And I think of the words used to Discribe people of color as SAVAGE-

          I sit back and read all these comments that people stand by, stand firm on,
          And the funny thing is—
          None of you were there
          None of us…
          So again you lean HEAVILY on a HIS-TORY and what is written in HIS BOOK…
          All that really matters.. Is we have lost many black lives
          Many generations lost- hopes, dreams, inventions, artist, musicians..whatever greatness there was to come from these slain people, was ended forcibly

          My God.
          What if colored people were allowed to thrive and flurish

          I hate social media.
          I know someone will always have a negative response.. To another persons thoughts and opinions..
          But … Before you respond
          Try to step back and really look at the big picture.. Hate is wrong, racism is wrong
          But they both still live and thrive happily in the USA.
          I have experience it, my mother, my grand mother , my great grand mother would not even speak about her father – who was the slave owner of their family..
          And she took the pain and all that she had seen with her to the grave..
          Pain, and terror …

          So when I read this articles it hits home very much-
          And sad to say after what I’ve seen for the past two years with all the killings
          Nothing has changed and nothing will change.
          Unfortunately. Sad but very True
          Because the powers that allow such atrocities to happen and continue to happen
          Have no intention on changing anything
          Unless it will benefit them…

      • Saddan Btackin

        So what’s yr point…was the mob members and children who looked at the burning corpse members of the KKK …how about their parents were they? Once again underplaying the situation.. That’s why all over the world these Babylonians are called DEVILS…SAD THING IS WHITE PEOPLE THAT ARE MARKED BY THIS LACK OF UNIVERSAL MELONIN

      • Laydcop

        Are you saying what happened is excused because it was carried out by the KKK. Your privilege has you totally blind. I guess that’s how you live with this information.

      • Audrey Kelsey

        The government under WIlliam Harding–a Rethuglican, sent in aerial bombing of the Tulsa neighborhood. Black people were rounded up and put in “concentration camps” under Harding’s term in the executive office.
        This was sanctioned under a Rethug administration. That’s the facts–you have condemned yourself with your LIE of OMISSION.

      • Alex

        What is the documentary referenced at the beginning by CBS and PPT?


    • wunsacon

      I sorta expected someone to “criticize” my post by pointing out the irony that — despite my assessment that state-selected history books promote statist naivety — left-wingers nevertheless promote state-run education to the exclusion of choice promoted by right-wingers (i.e., home schooling). (To be clear: I favor voucher programs.)

      This state of affairs just reminds me how difficult it is to fix anything.

      • rhonda.foster

        I’m sorry if you thought my prior posts were critical of your post – that was not my intent. You clearly picked up on my message that people today are spoon fed the information that they want to hear based upon whatever political leaning they have and they do not take the time to search out the truth and use that information to independently form their own opinion. I, too, favor voucher programs. If we don’t teach true history combined with critical thinking and analytical skills, it is impossible to learn from the past.

        Personally, I just want to be left alone and take responsibility MYSELF for MY decisions – good or bad. I don’t need our government or some politician or television talking head to tell me how to think. I don’t take anything they say at face value…period. They are all liars and have proven that over and over and over…

        The “state of affairs” you speak of is beyond repair in my opinion. As long as people do not study history, they are condemned to repeat it and therein lies the crux of the current state of affairs. I do not believe it can be fixed. We are too far gone and destined to follow the Romans into the dustbin of history.

        • wunsacon

          >> I do not believe it can be fixed.

          I agree…too many choices on TV and people aren’t going hungry enough to hit the streets. They’re just being starved slowly of nutritional food and programmed to blame people in other cultures, classes, religion, ethnicity, or geography.

          >> We are too far gone and destined to follow the Romans into the dustbin of history.

          The wealthy will live just fine on board Elysium.

  • Teodoro Cervantes-Leon

    Man’s heart is wicked. This occurred during times of economic calm. Watch what we are capable of when greed, envy, and hate spring again.

  • The First Black Republicans

    Republicans Both Black and White sent these men to Congress!


    ‘K-K-K’ Democrats Lynching Killing Black & White ‘Radical Republicans’

    The Klu Klux Klan was founded as a Democrat proxy group. Many black Americans served in the U.S. Goverment in the 1800’s and beyond as part of the “Radical Republican” party. In 1912 the ‘Progressive’ Democrat, President Woodrow Wilson instituted racial segregation into the Federal Government. Many blacks were subsequently pushed out of the Federal Government.


  • This is what most folks do not know or even consider, and one day I did and came across this explanation I was seeking. Enjoy and please share with your connections.

    14th Amendment Citizenship: Citizen = SLAVE

    Prior to the alleged ratification of the 14th Amendment, there was no legal definition of a “citizen of the United States”, as everyone had primary citizenship in one of the several states. The Constitution referred to the sovereign state citizen, and no one else. Those who went to Washington, D.C. or outside the several states were commonly called “citizens of the United States.” In the Constitution for the United States, the term was used to identify state citizens who were eligible under the suffrage laws to hold office, and they were required under the Constitution to have primary allegiance to one of the several states.


  • Rare Live Footage of one of the first anti racism song ever

    Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit


  • Abraham Lincoln: What They Wont Teach You in School

    Was Lincoln a slave-defending patriot or a blood-thirsty tyrant? This video tells you what public AKA: Government school text books won’t.

  • All the more reason to support gun ownership

  • Servant of יהוה

    Wow, one of my friends sent me an e-mail message with an image and a small amount of text about this crime against humanity. I had hoped that it was not true, but it seems like yet another horrible, unrepentant evil that God (יהוה) will have to judge the nation for.

    The amazing thing is that if folks would just accept the Word of יהוה, they would realize that we are all related (originally via Adam and Eve — e.g., Genesis 2:7-25 — and, later, filtered through the sons of Noah and their wives — e.g., Genesis 8:18-22) and that there are NOT different kinds (so called races) of human beings (e.g., Acts 17:26).

    Furthermore, if folks would obey the Law of יהוה, which can be summarized as, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” (Galatians 5:14, KJV), tragedies like the one documented in this article would never occur.


  • Dow Jones

    The Anglozionazi Empire of Carnage; from its humble beginnings as a murderous almost village idiot like psychopathic thug to a present day end of times force of Satanic evil the likes of which humanity has never been subjected to.

    Onward to the collapse of this mutt “society”, the fast approaching civil war where all our demons will finally be set free.

  • Alex

    what is the CBS/PPT documentary referenced at the beginning?

  • Jennifer Katona

    Let’s make America great again, folks. Trump 2016!