As I have mentioned on my other blog, a year and three quarters ago, my life was altered irrevocably and it caused me to pull back from a lot of things. That is starting to clear up and I will be getting back to research again.
In the mean time there has been an alteration in terminology that I need to look at. This is the use of the word Massacre to refer to the events of May 31-June 1, 1921 in place of Riot.
Now, allow me to start by saying that the People of Color in Tulsa not only have the right, but also the obligation to take ownership of their history and if that involves changing what the events are called then that’s what should happen.
The term ‘riot’ has been used to try to force those events into a specific format, which among other things has curtailed insurance policies and reparations. Altering the terminology might help free things up a bit.
It does generate a number of quandaries for me, personally, starting with the name of this web site and all the references in this site to the event as a riot. Also, professionally, since the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Tulsa maintains the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 archive, 1920-2007 and that’s actually my job. Other organizations will need to come to their own conclusions. So let me address these in reverse order:
The University will not be change the name of the collection as it’s bad archival practice., however we acknowledge the evolution in terminology, as we will continue to do so should things change again in the future.
Now for this website, I’m not certain if I can change the name or even if I should. That’s the philosophical dilemma. Well that and the fact that there actually -was- a race riot during those events – lasting about 2 hours on May 31st from about 10 – midnight. What happened after that was not a riot.
The older material will remain as it has been since that’s the history of the research. I am sorry.