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Biden to visit Tulsa to commemorate 100th anniversary of Tulsa Race Massacre

The attack, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history, has for years been ignored on the national level.
Tulsa massacre
Damaged properties burn during the Tulsa massacre in June 1921.Oklahoma Historical Society / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, next week to commemorate 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history.

The White House has not yet announced details of Biden's trip, but the visit by a U.S. president to Tulsa on the centennial underscores the renewed push to acknowledge the massacre, which has been left out of American history and ignored on the national level.

On the evening of May 31, through the afternoon of June 1, 1921, a violent mob of hundreds of white people attacked Tulsa's Greenwood District, known for its thriving Black community, burning businesses and homes to the ground and murdering as many as 300 Black Tulsans.

A 2001 state commission report found that the mob destroyed 35-square-blocks and caused $1.8 million in property loss claims, or $27 million in today’s dollars.

The Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, the group spearheading observances of the 100th anniversary, said that Stacey Abrams and John Legend will also headline a "Remember & Rise" commemoration event.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited Tulsa in 2020 during their re-election campaign, sparking an outcry for initially scheduling a rally for June 19 — Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. They postponed the rally to the next day following the criticism.

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt initially urged Trump and Pence to visit the Greenwood District, also known as "Black Wall Street," but backed down after resistance from community leaders who said that they were not welcome there.

The last-known living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre testified last week before a congressional committee considering reparations for survivors and their descendants.

"I have lived through the massacre every day. Our country may forget this history, but I cannot," Viola Fletcher, 107, the oldest living survivor of the massacre, told Congress.