THE BLACK WALL STREET
“The key issue seemed to be control over the oil boom across Oklahoma. The White power structure did not want this oil boom being controlled by Blacks or Native Americans.”
― Robin Walker, The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street
One of the greatest problem of our society is racial discrimination, one can even call it the reason for the rotting of humanity, this has been there for hundreds of years, the very thought of superior race based on color, caste , gender and much more. We have seen brutal treatment of the blacks in the United States of America, recently the inhumane atrocity caused to George Floyd is a small example of how the so called “Superiors” treat the others! The growing support for the movement and the self realization by the people brings back some hope! But many harsh incidents against the blacks, far atrocious than the recent happenings have been erased from the pages of our history, one such story is that of the Black Wall Street.
It was one of the worst episodes of racial discrimination that ultimately lead to brutal massacre. It took place in 1921 in Greenwood District, Tulsa in Oklahoma. As the name suggests, it was one of the most busy business area, opportunities and profits were plenty, it was like a business hub to the majority population of blacks there. Hundreds of business owned by them and was a bustling area 24/7. Some even refer to that time to be one of the best periods of growth and prosperity- they refer to it as the golden period.
What was going around in the country?
What was happening around the world was totally different, in fact just opposite to the situation in the black wall street. It was the time when the Ku Klux Klan , shortly called KKK was very active. To those who don’t know what KKK is, they are basically a white supremacist racial group, with hatred against the African American. There were so many brutal killings and destruction all around USA. It is still remembered as the “Red Summer of 1919”. During such time, seeing the black wall street very prosperous, increased their hatred against them, they were eventually looking for a cause to ignite the massacre which ultimately led to something that even the very descendants of the people who lived there, fear to talk or think about.
What started the incident?
At that time, on 30th Dec 1921, a 19 year old, black teenager named Dick Rowland who used to shine shoes boarded an elevator of the Drexel building. That is when a white girl named Sarah Page also boarded. No one knew what happened inside, but suddenly Sarah starts to scream and two days later Dick gets arrested. Local newspapers and people started spreading news that she was assaulted by him in the elevator, even though Sarah never gave a complaint. This was the igniting cause, the supremacists racial groups were looking for! A group of white men in large numbers with guns and other weapons gathered around the court, also a relatively smaller group of black men also gathered. That is when the mob started fighting and the unexpected happen!
What exactly happened?
The black started retreating towards their houses, some of them fought back but in vain. There were hundreds of white man who killed hundreds of people, looted their assets and set fire to their property. The whole Tulsa neighborhood was burning like hell. This went on for few days, until everything was over, there was nothing remaining there; just ruins. It was initially in news that only white people died, later some said around hundred people died. But approximate estimates state that around 100+ houses burned down and more than 300 black people killed. But everything was cleared, no news, no articles no records- even the newspaper article about Dick and Sarah also went missing. The same intelligent cover up behind every single inhuman activity across the globe!
Where are the bodies?
This was known the “Tulsa Race Riot” , but went missing from the history books. After all this regular life started in Tulsa and people started living normally. But there is a part of this story that still affects them or haunts them, that is the bodies of the victims of the riot went missing. No one knew where they were, one of the survivors of this incident, stated few years back that all the bodies were piled up and buried in a cemetery in the black wall street locality itself. But cemetery accounted only for two bodies of the riot. Few years, using satellite images and soil tests they found soil anomalies in three different locations near the cemetery which indicate that it might be true. Basically all their ancestors are buried beneath where the people live right now, if its true. You read it right, they are living on top of the bodies.
The residents were not ready to dig, they didn’t want to disturb the deceased and insult them. So the process was stopped without any further step. But now, there are plans to dig and check to full stop to this story, and bury their ancestors properly with due respect. It was supposed to begin in April.
But why this story now? Things I came across for the past few months; racial urge to discriminate, caste based killings, misuse of power, inhuman punishments, harsh methods, violence and most important one out of them was: many being silent and doing nothing as if they never witnessed them and thinking such things don’t happen in our country or state!. These things have to stop, eradicated from root (racial discrimination won’t stop until kids are taught what is skin color!), practicing equality right from birth to death! That’s why a small story to retrospect our ideas, give it a thought and moving a small step closer towards change! Look around you, read more and change your ideas!