In 1921, white citizens of Tulsa burned down the Black neighborhood of Greenwood, killing hundreds of residents, ruining dozens of businesses, and destroying a community of 10,000. For generations, the history was buried, surfacing only through the determined research of a professor here or a novelist there; it wasn’t until 2001 that the state of Oklahoma commissioned a report revealing the extent of the damage. One hundred years on, the Tulsa massacre is the most infamous of a number of 20th-century efforts by white mobs to destroy Black communities. RJ Young, author of the memoir Let It Bang and a Fox Sports analyst, offers his perspective in Requiem for the Massacre, both as a native Tulsan deeply embedded in its present and as a Black writer conflicted by the tone of the centennial events a year ago.
Go beyond the episode:
- RJ Young’s Requiem for the Massacre: A Black History on the Conflict, Hope, and Fallout of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
- For more history on the violence in Tulsa, read Scott Ellsworth’s The Ground Breaking; Cameron McWhirter’s Red Summer details the unprecedented anti-Black riots and lynchings of 1919
- “How HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ Brought the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre to Life;” a descendent of the massacre reflects on watching the show
- Just this week, even more unmarked graves were discovered in Tulsa’s Greenwood Cemetery
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