Washington [US], June 2 (ANI): US President Joe Biden on Tuesday (local time) traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit the survivors of the city's 1921 race massacre and unveiled a broad plan to drive racial equity throughout the country.
May 31 and June 1 marked 100 years of the Tulsa race massacre when an angry mob of white Tulsans burned and looted the area's black population, killing as many as 300 people and displacing thousands.
While delivering his remarks to commemorate 100 years of the incident, Biden said: "The events we speak of today took place 100 years ago, and yet I'm the first President in 100 years ever to come to Tulsa. I say that not as a compliment about me, but to think about it, a hundred years, and the first president to be here during that entire time and in this place and in this ground to acknowledge the truth, what took place here."
"For much too long the history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness. But just because history is silent, it doesn't mean that it did not take place. And while darkness can hide much, it erases nothing, it erases nothing. Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous they can't be buried no matter how hard people try," he added.
He further said that he would increase the share of the dollars the federal government spends to small disadvantaged businesses, including Black and Brown small businesses. He also highlighted disadvantages faced by the black community, as they lack lawyers and accountants.
"... I promise you, that's why I set up the National Small Business Administration that's much broader, because they're going to get those loans. Instead of consigning millions of American children to under-resourced schools, let's get each and every child three and four years old access to school," he said.
The US President also urged voting rights groups to redouble efforts to register and educate voters and assigned Vice President Kamala Harris to help these efforts and lead the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month.
"My administration will soon lay out our broader strategy to counter domestic terrorism and the violence driven by the most heinous hate crimes and other forms of bigotry," he said.
Located in the northern section of Tulsa, Greenwood prospered at a time when Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan rampantly discriminated against and terrorized Black Americans in the south, reported The Hill.
The white mob destroyed 35 city blocks and set ablaze over 1,200 homes in Tulsa in 1921. The cost of the property damage totaled nearly USD 2 million, which translates into almost USD 30 million today.
As many as 300 people died during the massacre, roughly 10,000 Greenwood residents were displaced in the incident. Today, white Tulsans are twice as likely to own a home compared to Black Tulsans and white households in the city have an average income of USD 55,448 as compared to that of Black households - USD 30,463 - according to The Hill.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have asserted that not only do the three remaining survivors of the massacre - Viola Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis and Lessie Benningfield Randle - deserve justice, but that what happened in Tulsa 100 years ago is a perfect example of why the discussion of federal reparations needs to move forward.
Meanwhile, Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee is currently sponsoring H.R. 40, a bill that would create a federal commission to study the need for reparations for Black Americans. "The idea of Tulsa, and the idea of continued disparities in the African American community, are ones that need to be repaired," she said. (ANI)