A century ago, in the southern U.S. town, the arrest of a young black man accused of assaulting a white woman sparked one of the worst outpourings of racial violence ever seen in the country.
The photo shows the aftermath, at the east corner of Greenwood Avenue and East Archer Street, of the Tulsa Race Massacre, during which mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses in the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., June 1921.
On May 31, 1921, after the arrest of Dick Rowland, hundreds of furious white people gathered outside the Tulsa courthouse, signaling to black residents that a lynching – a common practice at the time and until as recently as the 1960s – was imminent.
The oldest known living survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Viola Fletcher, 107, attends the Black Wall Street Legacy Festival 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., May 28, 2021.
A group of African American World War I veterans, some of them armed, mobilized in an attempt to protect Rowland. Tensions spiked and shots were fired. Fewer in number, the African American residents retreated to Greenwood, known at the time for its economic prosperity and many businesses.
Smoldering ruins of African American's homes following the Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., June 1921.
The next day, at dawn, white men looted and burned the buildings, chasing down and beating black people living there.
Rev. Dr. Robert Turner of the Historic Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church holds his weekly Reparations March ahead of the 100 year anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., May 26, 2021.
All day long, they ransacked Black Wall Street – police not only did not intervene but joined in the destruction – until nothing was left but ruins and ashes, killing up to 300 people in the process. The destruction left some 10,000 people homeless.
Rubble of houses in an African American neighborhood after the Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., June 1921.