Murder, Mystery & Makeup - Tulsa Race Massacre - What Happened?!

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today we are dabbling in some american history

whoo as uncomfortable as american history can be

it’s still important that we talk about it right

i’m sure we can all agree on that

at least i hope

because there is something always to be learned from it

so we are going to oklahoma

that’s right baby

oklahoma oklahoma

oklahoma in 1921

oklahoma had a racially

socially and politically tense atmosphere

the first world war had ended in 1918

with the return of many ex servicemen coming back home

civil rights was still lacking for many people

and the ku klux klan was on the rise

the ku klutz clan

i should have looked up

like when they started

but i think it was around this time

but they were on the rise

and they were becoming more and more popular

and more well known


tulsa oklahoma was a booming oil city

which supported a large number of affluent

educated and professional african americans

this caused tensions in the city

and a combination of factors played apart

in all of this

really it was mainly like just racial tensions

oklahoma was admitted as a state in november of 1907

the newly created state legislator passed jim crow laws

which were state and local laws

that enforced racial segregation

the 1907 oklahoma constitution

did not call for strict segregation

but still the very first law passed

segregated all rail travel and voter registration rules

which effectively disenfranchised

most of the black community

so that meant that they were also not allowed to

serve on juries or in local office

now these laws were in place

until the passing of the federal voting

rights act of 1965

which was 60 years

after this event that we’re talking about today

on august 14th 1960

tulsa had passed a law

that mandated residential segregation

by forbidding

blacks or whites from residing on any block

where three fourths or more of the residents

were of the other race

now the united states supreme court

declared that this was unconstitutional

the following year

tulsa and many other southern cities

continued to establish and enforce segregation

for the next three decades

they didn’t give a shit

they were playing by their own rules

since 1915 the ku klux klan

had been growing in urban chapters across the country

by the end of 1921

tulsa had about 3200 residents in the clan

by one estimate

and the city’s population was 72 000 in 1920

there’s a lot of people in the ku klux klan

is what i’m saying

so greenwood was a district in tulsa

organized in 1906

greenwood became so successful

that it was known as

the black wall street

so the black community had created their own businesses

and services

in this area

and several grocery stores

two movie theaters

they had night clubs

they had restaurants

numerous churches

and even their own newspaper

oh yes they had black professionals

including dentists

doctors lawyers

all lived and worked in this area as well

now because the black community was not welcome

in other towns

city or cities

or even to live on

like the same block of white people

so instead they decided hey

let’s start our own successful town

let’s do it ourselves

and that’s what they did

so greenwood residents

selected their own leaders

and raised capital there

to support economic growth

i mean they took it into their own hands

they’re like look

the white men are not gonna allow us to be successful

in their neighborhoods

or be successful

contributing members of society

in their neighborhoods

so let’s just take it into our own hands

which they did

they built their own town

their own neighborhood

that was very successful

and of course

this caught attention

from the white community

fed into the racism

that was going on

because how dare they

start their own

successful neighborhood

and how dare they be more successful than us

they didn’t like that

on may 30th 1921

a young black teenager named dick roland

who worked as a shoes shiner

employed at the main street shine parlor

he had entered an elevator at the drexel building

which was an office building on south main street

it’s believed that roland may have been

trying to get to the only restroom in the building

but it’s unsure

he goes into the building

and he goes to the elevator

now the woman operating the elevator

was a white woman named sarah page

and dick roland had entered the elevator

and what happened on the elevator is unknown exactly

but what we do know is that at some point

while the two were on the elevator

sarah page had screamed

and dick roland was seen running out of the elevator

the guy who was working the front desk in the building

he ran over to the elevator

and he saw sarah

and what he said was a distraught state

and he called the police

the police came out and most likely questioned sarah

but there was no written account anywhere of her

statement that has been found

they must have been like oh

i’ll just remember it with my mind

or they burned it

we don’t know

most believed that

the police had determined what happened between the two

and then authorities conducted

like a low key investigation of their own

without doing the proper paperwork

now unfortunately

people were talking

rumors were swirling

not even long after the incident took place

about what supposedly happened on that elevator

it had circulated through the city’s white community

a front page story

in the tulsa tribune

reported that police had arrested roland

for sexually assaulting page

this is what they put on the front page

of their newspaper

that roland had sexually assaulted

page mind you

this didn’t happen

i know it’s a spoiler

but he didn’t sexually assault her

they were just being shitty people

okay but they ran it

oh baby they ran that story

front page front page

you don’t think

that’s gonna get people a little riled up

of course it is

it’s 1921 they’re just waiting for an excuse to rage

the white people that is

this newspaper gets out there

and roland had a good reason to be scared

because at this time

an accusation alone

could put him at risk

for an attack

by angry mobs

of white people

knew his life was gonna is now in danger

so roland now fearing his life

for good reason

roland decided to stay with him

mother who lived in the greenwood neighborhood

so he went there

to try and hide out

until hopefully

things calmed down

on the morning after the incident

roland was located and arrested

and taken to the tulsa city jail

then was transferred

due to the jail

receiving threatening phone calls from people

saying that they were going to kill roland

and to just hand him over

because they were going to take care of him

they meaning the angry

white people

so as nighttime approached

an angry white mob was gathering outside the courthouse

where roland was at

and they were demanding that the sheriff

hand over roland

the sheriff

willard mccullough

he refused to hand over roland

and his officers barricaded the top floor

to protect protect him as well

they shut down the building’s elevators

and had the remaining men

barricade themselves at the top of the stairs

with orders to shoot any intruders

site pretty much

if they came up

and were trying to get through

the sheriff

though decided

i’m just gonna go outside

and try and like

talk to the angry people

and grew white people

try to calm them down

so he goes out there

tries to calm them down

and send them home

but he had no luck

they were not going anywhere

they were not going

unless he handed over roland

the angry mob wanted roland lynched

and were protesting

to lynch roland

now a few blocks away

members of the community gathered

and discussed

what was going on

what happened to roland

why was everyone angry

like what are we gonna do

to calm this down

and make sure that roland is okay

they were trying their best

to come up with a plan to

prevent the

crowd from lynching roland

because let’s be real

it was probably going to happen

if they allowed it

at around 9 pm

a group of about 25

armed black men

including some

world war i veterans

they went to the courthouse

to offer help

guarding roland

from the growing mob

now the reason

it said why

they went down there

in the first place

naturally you know

people wanted to think like well

they were trying to

start something

by going down there

and they shouldn’t have done that

but the reason

they said that

they went down there

in the first place

was because

the main sheriff

sheriff macola

he personally told them

that their presence was required

at the courthouse

so 25 of them

they go out there

and the sheriff

turns them away

saying they were not needed

but 10 witnesses

said that they were just following the order

from the sheriff

in the first place

that personally

asked for them

to be there

the sheriff went out

made like a public

statement saying

i never asked for them

he’s publicly

denying that

he gave any

orders for them

to be there

so a little frustrated

but they were just trying to follow the rules

now if seeing the armed

black community show up

many of the white mob

try to unsuccessfully

break into the

national guard

armory nearby

they were trying to break in

steal guns and also

get more ammunition

so rumors are

still circling

around that

there’s going to be

a possible lynching

obviously people

from the greenwood

we’re getting nervous about this

it’s probably

going to happen

it’s going to happen

unless they

stand their ground

75 members of the

greenwood community

they had returned to the

courthouse armed

and they showed up there

around 10 pm

they just were there

to make sure that

nothing happened

to roland like

it was simple as

that you know


though there was

only 75 of them

when they got to the

court house

they see that

there were over 1500

angry white people

1500 versus

75 scary now

according to witnesses

a white man

is alleged to have

told one of the

armed black men

to surrender his pistol

of course it was

probably more

aggressive than that

but pretty much

telling him

to give me your gun

or whatever

you know but

the man refused

and a shot was fired

now some say that

it may have

been accidental

or it was meant

to be a warning

but because of

this one shot

it turned into

many firing

their weapons

at one another

so after shots were fired

pretty much

chaos broke out

mm hmm one gunshot

pretty much

started everybody

getting out of control

so those who came from

greenwood they ran

they pretty much

retreated on foot

back to greenwood

summon vehicles

i’m sorry but

they pretty much

went back to greenwood

the armed white mob

instead of just

leaving them alone

they decided to

follow them

back into greenwood

so a lot of the angry

white mobsters

they stopped to loot

local stores

for additional weapons

and ammunition

along the way

any bystanders

who they saw

like leaving a

movie theater

maybe like the show

had just ended

they’re walking out

someone leaving

a restaurant

or whatever

the angry white people

they shot them

they were just

shooting anybody

that they saw

who was black

so panic had set in

because the

angry white mob

they began firing

on any black people

that they saw

turning quickly

into an angry

white riot at

around 11 pm

members of the national

guard unit began

to assemble

at the armory

to organize

a plan to subdue

the rioters

several groups

were deployed downtown

to set up guard

at the courthouse

also at the

police station

and other public facilities

the forces appeared

to have been deployed

to protect the

white districts

which were adjacent

to the greenwood

and not there

to protect greenwood itself

or the community

aka the black

community at all

it was there

to protect the angry

white people

as the evening continued

the national

guard rounded

up numerous

black people

and took them to the

convention hall

on brady street

for detention

why they were

being arrested

and detained

well to simply put it

they were being arrested

because they were black

didn’t have gun

there were many people

arrested to change

and taken in

who were not armed

who were just

fucking minding

their own damn business

and that’s a

fact i mean

that’s not even

up for debate

some people

try to debate it

but i don’t know why

so many prominent

white tolsons

also participated

in the riot

including tulsa founder

and ku klux

klan member

w tate brady

who participated

in the riot

as a night watchman

he showed up

like oh i’m

gonna help with

this shit so

june 1st 1921

throughout the

early morning

small groups of

whites made

it into green

wood by car

some on foot

but mainly on car

and was just

shooting with no

rhyme or reason

into businesses

and residents

and they would throw

lighted oil rags

into several

buildings along

the streets

setting whatever

was in their

in their path

on fire then

crews from the

tulsa fire department

came to town

you know they

arrived right

to put out the fires

as firemen do

so they showed up

and they were there

to put out the fires

but the firefighters

were turned away

at gunpoint

by the angry white mob

they would not

allow them to

enter into the town

and put out the fires

so residents

inside greenwood

many of them

began to get

their handguns

or something

to defend their


while a lot more

tried to flee

the town completely

they had to

get out but

throughout the

night both sides

continued fighting

according to a red

cross estimate

around 1 256

houses were burned

throughout the night

215 18 others

were looted

but not set on fire

two newspaper companies

schools a library

a hospital churches

hotels stores

and many other

black owned businesses

were destroyed

or damaged by

fire for what

we know what

cause they were

racist and angry

it’s believed that

100 to 300 people

were killed

during this massacre

numerous eyewitnesses described

airplanes flying

above the town

and they were

firing their

rifles out of

the airplane

and they also

dropped fire bombs

on buildings

homes and families

law enforcement personnel

were thought

to be aboard

at least some of

those airplanes

but there were

some flights

said to be privately

owned by who

you know by who

eyewitness accounts

such as testimony

from the survivors

during commission hearings

and a manuscript

by eyewitnesses

discovered in

2015 said that

on the morning

of june 1st

at least a dozen

or more planes

circled the


and dropped burning

turpentine balls

on an office

building a hotel

gas station

and multiple

other buildings

men also fired rifles at

young and old

black residents

gunning them down

in the street

where they just

left everybody

in the street

law enforcement

officials you

know stepped in

and gave a little statement

they’re like look

those airplanes

they were put

there to simply

provide safety

and protection

against a n

word uprising

end quote in

other parts

of the city

where there

was a lot of

middle class

white families

who employed

black people in

their homes

as livin cooks

and servants

well the angry

white rioters

went to their homes

and they demanded

that the families

turn over their

employees to

be taken to

detention centers

around the city

now because

these angry

white people

are showing up

with fucking rifles

and fucking shit

many of them

complied because

if they didn’t

well they were

harassed by

the writers

and their homes

were then vandalized

so then the

governor of

oklahoma well

i kind of already

mentioned this

but the governor

of oklahoma

had ordered

the national

guard to come

in you know

so 109 troops

from oklahoma

city and then

following that

oklahoma city

was put under

martial law

which would be

established day

so troops were

pretty much

arresting anyone

and everyone

who was black

and then requiring them

acquiring the

chinese to carry

identification cards

and it said

as many as 600

black greenwood

residents were

held at three

local facilities

they had the

convention hall

which would

be now known

as the brady

theater the

tulsa fairgrounds

which then it

was located

about a mile

north east of

greenwood and

mcnulty park

which was a

or is a baseball stadium

is it still

a baseball stadium

probably somewhere

held at these

locations for

as long as eight

days for what

you ask for

being black

martial law

was declared

around 11 30 am

and by noon

the troops had managed

to suppress

most of the

remaining violence

in the hours

after the tulsa

race massacre

all charges

against dick

roland were

dropped sarah

the woman who

was working

the elevator

she decided

that she didn’t want to

press charges

she dropped

the charges

so the police

had concluded

that roland had

most likely

just stumbled

into page or

even stepped

on her foot

while they were both

in the elevator

which led to her

kind of shrieking

or screaming

whatever she did

roland who was

kept safely

under guard

in the jail

during the riot

he ended up

being exonerated

and he left tulsa

the next morning

and reportedly

never returned

i mean yay for roland

but 35 city

blocks were

completely destroyed

over 800 people

were treated

for their injuries

and the official

tally of deaths

in the massacre

was 36 people

which now historians

consider much too low

the tulsa race

massacre stood

as one of the

deadliest riots

in us history

behind only

the new york

draft riots

of 1863 which

killed 119 people

in the years

to come as the

black community

worked to rebuild

their ruined homes

and businesses


in the city

only increased

and oklahoma’s newly


branch of the kkk

grew in strength

of course how

the the newspaper

was playing

this of course

was trying to

make the black

community out

to be the bad ones

like they tend to do

for decades

there was no

public ceremonies

there were no

memorials for

the dead or

any efforts

to even acknowledge

the events taken

place between may

31 and june 1

and 1921 instead

there was a

deliberate effort to

cover up the

whole thing

like it never

happened yep

that’s right

wholesome massacre

what’s that

rumors that’s

how i imagine

the people in

the office were

what’s that

never heard

of it never

happened no

remember the

tulsa tribune

they were the

newspaper who

reported the

story in the

first place

and essentially

caused the outrage

well guess what

they removed

the front page

story of may

31st from its

bound volumes


erasing it from

its records

like it never

happened they

should be held


scholars later discovered

that police and

state archives

about the riot

were completely

missing as well

as a result

until recently

the tulsa race

massacre was

rarely mentioned

in history books

it wasn’t taught in

school rules

or even talked

about in 1996

on the riot

75th anniversary

a service was held

at the mount zion

baptist church

which rioters had

to the ground

and a memorial

was placed in

front of greenwood

cultural center

the following year

an official

state government

commission was created

to investigate

the tulsa race

riot scientists

and historians

began looking

into long ago

including numerous

victims buried

in unmarked

graves in 2001

the report of

the race riot

commission concluded

that between

100 and 300 people

were killed

and more than

eight 2000 were

made homeless

over those 18

hours and 1921

over the next year

local citizens

filed more than

18 million dollars

in riot related claims

against the city

they did that

by june of 1922

now despite

the promise

of funding many

people from the

greenwood community

spent the winter

of 1921 and

1922 intense

as they worked

to rebuild their


oh yes they

were living

in tents set

up by the red

cross most of

the promise

funding was

never raised

for the residents

and they struggled

to rebuild after

the violence

they had little

to no financial

help in order

to continue

rebuilding a

new fire code

was said to be

set in place

to prevent another

tragedy from

happening and

they were going

to do this by

banning wooden

frame houses

in place of

the previously

burnt homes

now because of

this new fire

code that was

supposedly being

set in place

it halted all


and caused major

delays so they

weren’t even

allowed to rebuild

until this new

fire code was

set in place

so they’re just sitting

and waiting

and they keep

putting it off

putting it off

putting it off

and they were

doing that on

purpose because

they wanted

to take the

land over so

the reconstruction committee

simply failed

to formulate

a single plan

moving forward

which left many of

the residents

prohibited from

rebuilding for

several months

because it was

going against

the fire code

city planners

though they


saw the fire

that destroyed homes

and businesses

across greenwood

as a really good thing

they were like

hey awesome

there’s a bunch

of open land

because they

had plans for

this new land

okay showing

a complete disregard

for the welfare

of affected

residents but

they were like

oh hell yeah

you know why

they were making

plans of their

own on what

they wanted

to do with the

area plans were


made to rezoned

the burned area

for industrial use

the reconstruction

committee wanted

to have the

black landholders

sign over their properties

and less than

and two years

later a large

central rail

hub called the

tulsa union

depot was built

where many of

the homes and

businesses destroyed

used to be now

this is not

a fact but a

personal opinion

that i stand

by and truly

believe they

were purposely

blaming this

fire code to

prevent them

from building

in this area

because they

knew the white


they knew that

they wanted

to take this

land over and

they didn’t want

to give them

18 million dollars

so they kept

putting it off

putting it off

putting it off

and eventually

the people who were

living in tents

trying to rebuild

they had no

money right

they had no

homes they were

growing more

and more exhausted

so they left

and some of

the land holders

were offered a

small compensation

for their land

but it was said

to not be much

you know they

had no option

at that point

because they

had all this

extra land now

it allowed for them

to build an

even larger

train depot

because they just

had so much

extra space

now there were

no zip zada


for any of the

charges related to

the violence

when it came

to the white rioters

because the

black community

paid a big price

and a lot of them

were detained

there were decades

of silence about

the terror violence

and losses of

this event the riot

was largely

omitted from

local state

and national

histories a

woman by the

name of mary e

jones parish

she was a young

african american

teacher and

journalist from

new york she

was hired to

write an account

of the riot

she was a survivor

and wrote about her


and collected

other accounts

and experiences

that people she knew

she gathered


and compiled

a partial roster of

property losses

in the african

american community

she published

these in events of the

tulsa disaster

which was the

first book to

be published

about the riot

many who tried to

share their stories to

local newspapers

city newspapers

town newspapers

wherever they could

encountered pressure

mainly by the

white community

to keep silent

or they would

take the story

and do nothing

with it five

elderly survivors

filed a suit

against the

city of tulsa

and the state

of oklahoma

in february

of 2003 this suit

said that the

state and the

city should

compensate the

victims and

their families

to honor their

admitted obligations

which was detailed

in a commission’s report

the federal

district and

courts dismissed

the suit citing

the statue of


had been exceeded

on the then

80 year old

case the state

requires that

civil right

cases be filed

within two years

of the event

the supreme

court of the

united states

when you hear that

the supreme

court of the

united states

you kind of

think like oh

there’s hope right

the supreme

court i mean

that’s major

anywho well

they failed

the people and

they declined

to hear the

appeal and this

was in 2003

so i mean it’s not

like it was

back in 1921

so in april 2007

there was a

push for us

congress to

pass a bill

that extended

the statue of


for this particular

case given the

state and city’s


for the destruction

and long suppression

of material

about it now

the bill would

be introduced

and heard by

the judiciary

committee of

the house but

once again did

not pass they


the bill in 2009

as the john hope

franklin tulsa

greenwood race

riot claims


act of 2009

and then again

they reintroduced

the bill in 2012

but it has not

gotten out of

the judiciary

committee it’s

just sat there

it was named

in honor of

the late dr

john hope franklin

who was a first

hand witness

to the destructive

impact that the

riot had on

the community

dr franklin

made numerous

contributions to the


of the long

term effects

of the riot

on the people

and work to

keep the issue

alive in history

according to the

state department

of education

it has required

the topic in

oklahoma history

classes since

2000 and the

incident has been

included in

oklahoma history

books since 2009

but it wasn’t

required really

country wide

or anything

to actually

learn about it

so a bill in

the oklahoma

state senate

requiring that

all oklahoma high

schools teach

the tulsa race

riot failed

to pass in 2012

the opponents

the people who were

against this

bill claimed

schools are

already learning

about this riot

we don’t need

to make it a

bill and in

november 2018

the 1921 race

riot commission

was officially

renamed the 1921

race massacre

commission nearly

a century later

in april of

2020 yes in

april of 2020

this happened

in 1921 tulsa

plans to dig

for suspected

mass graves

in a city owned

cemetery that

may have been

used to dispose

the victims

bodies they

believe that

there’s a mass

grave somewhere

there has to be


there really

isn’t much of a

happy ending

to this story

but my friends

that is the

awful story

about the tulsa

race massacre

what is owed

this community

99 years later

is a repairing

education and

economic incentives

something more

than symbolic

gestures or

an official report

as an apology

extended to

the survivors

it’s in the oklahoma


hands and it

has been for

a very long

time i’m sure

we can both

agree that this

story is just

absolutely horrific

and it’s a good

example for

anyone out there

who’s likes

to say like

well why didn’t they just

start their

own community

then and be

successful cause

i’ve seen shit

like that and

it’s like well

they did they did

just that and

it was taken

away from them

it was burned

to the ground

along with their

families their

family members

their wives

their kids destroyed

taken from them

they were punished

for succeeding

and this the

tulsa race massacre

was just a small

little bump

in the road

of plot racism

abuse murder

and attacks

that they have

faced in this

country the

black community

during this time

they had just

come back from

world war one

they were serving

a country it

wasn’t even

their country

they went to

war fought for

our country

came back home

and fought another war

and it’s like

nobody wants to


i’m sorry not

nobody but a

lot of people

don’t want to


the struggle

that’s gone on

for a long time

as if their

lives don’t

matter and i

challenge you

to just learn

history read

about the things

that have been

suppressed for

a long time

like this the 99th


just passed

next year is

going to be

the 100th anniversary

of the tulsa

race massacre

i don’t know

i was trying

to think of

a plan what can

we do to help

i’m open to


in the comment sections

i don’t know

how to get a

bill passed

or something

but i would

love to have

that to happen

these families

deserve it if

you were in

their shoes

you would feel

that way too

come on i hope

this is all

making sense

i’m being very careful

with my words

because a lot

of people can

take this as

a personal attack

and get very

defensive and

that’s not what

i’m trying to

do i’m just

trying to have

a conversation

we have to educate

ourselves we have

to do better

thank you guys

so much for

hanging out

with me today

i hope you have

a wonderful

rest of your day

you make good

choices please

be safe out there

and you guys

next week bye

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