I was listening to the World Service this morning, as I do every morning, and found out about an awful thing that happened 100 years ago today. It’s one of those awful things I’ve never heard of. And when I do hear about it, I’m amazed that I didn’t know.
I’m talking about the massacre in the Greenwood area of Tulsa which ended on 1 June 1921. It started with an accusation of assault against a young black shoe shine from a young white elevator operator. Due process of the law followed and the young man was arrested. Being a bunch of pricks, the white supremacists of Tulsa formed a lynch mob and headed down to the police station.
They demanded justice. The sort of justice that only a racist would truly understand.
A bunch of big black men heard about the lynch mob and decided to confront the racists. At this point, I’m really feeling sorry for the sheriff who has had to contend with an awful lot of anger directed at his place of work. And just because he was doing his job, as well.
Given there was a lot of testosterone being flung about, there was a single gunshot then the two mobs wound up turning into a massive riot which, in turn, became the Tulsa Race Massacre.
People went home and armed themselves then went marching down to Greenwood and started destroying buildings and people. They even started flying private planes over the area, firing guns from the cockpits and dropping fire bombs on the buildings. Seriously, you’d think they have had enough of that kind of shit following the recent world war.
Greenwood was soon turned into a burnt out, death ridden pit of hell. Deaths recorded at the time, by the official Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics were 36. That doesn’t sound like much of a massacre. Then, in 2001, a special commission was set up to examine the facts. It concluded that there were 39 deaths according to official autopsy reports. However, they estimated that there were more like 300.
Along with the human toll, the area also suffered a great death. From an affluent part of Tulsa, it was reduced to a lot of rubble and descended into squalor. It was an odd way for a city to behave against itself. It’s a civil war without any civility.
It makes you wonder.
And then, it was announced, that Joe Biden had visited Greenwood today to give a speech to commemorate the 100th anniversary of something which has pretty much been ignored by America over all that time. I’d like to think that was because they felt shame, but I think it’s probably because the racists don’t see it as anything significant.
While I was listening, two young red squirrels were leaping from branch to branch just outside the window in front of Mirinda’s desk (where I write my posts every morning). It made me wonder how many grey squirrels would just shoot them because of the colour of their fur.
Then there was the wonderful karmic story about the group of fear ridden Americans in a speed boat who circled a family displaying a gay pride flag proudly in their boat. The yobs were yelling homophobic slurs and abuse at the family as they sped around them. Then, the speedboat suddenly burst into flames and burnt to its gunnels.
Sadly, the gay family rescued the arseholes – they had to really – and the water fire boat put the burning speed boat out. Karma, while obviously not being a real thing, can be a real bitch when it happens.