It was 100 years ago today that a mob of white people laid waste to the Greenwood Community, leaving hundreds of Black residents dead, burning businesses, schools, and homes. Until recently, the massacre was hardly recognized and unknown to many Americans.
Survivor Viola Fletcher, who is 107 years old, was among those in attendance. She spoke before Congress earlier this month about her memories of the massacre.
On Monday, May 31, 2021, people gathered at Sandpiper Hill in Tulsa to honor those victims and to call out racism. Some lined up to fill jars with soil representing the unknown dead.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas made remarks along with Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson, who compared the peace of the Million Man March of 1995 to the violence of the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Rep. Johnson said, “We all have to work together to cure the sickness that ails us as a nation and that sickness is called racism. It’s at our core. It’s in the soil. We must acknowledge it and root it out and so this event today, right here, this is ground zero for human rights.”
“We are here to acknowledge however that the vastness of this country has been built by those of us who are the descendant of enslaved Africans,” Rep. Jackson Lee said. “Do not deny us. Do not diminish us. Do not leave us. Do not castigate us. Do not characterize us.”