In 1921, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, erupted in race riots that left up to 300 people dead. Homes and businesses were burned.
The riot has been mostly ignored by history. But a recent fatal police shooting of an African-American man in Tulsa has re-focused attention on the city’s past.
Bruce Fisher, retired curator of the African-American projects at the Oklahoma Historical Society, and Kate Carlton Greer, a reporter for KGOU, join Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss Tulsa’s past and present.
Interview Highlights: Bruce Fisher & Kate Carlton Greer
On the history of the race riots
Fisher: “The word went out all around Oklahoma that they were killing black people, randomly, in Tulsa.”
“Too many times African Americans were lynched. Now it’s shootings.”
On a past forgotten by many
Fisher: “Black History Month didn’t cover that.”
Greer: “They’re supposed to be taught. But that doesn’t mean that students always hear it.”
Fisher, on one image from a collection of photographs from the riots: “It’s a very eerie reminder of what we see today with, ‘Hands up, don’t shoot.'”
Greer: “There are some people that connect the dots [with police shootings]. But, by and large, people aren’t talking about the shootings and relating them back to the race riots.”
Bruce Fisher, retired curator of the African-American projects at the Oklahoma Historical Society.