About Me

Name:  I. Marc Carlson
The Librarian of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Tulsa, and Historical Researcher.
E-Mail:  Marc-Carlson@utulsa.edu
Telephone: (918) 631-2882

I have been researching the race riot and destruction since 1988.

Some of my other web sites can be seen on the blogroll to your right.

10 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I applaud you for your efforts to bring this tragedy to light for many. In the readings I have come across so far, it is not clear “who” (e.g. police chief, mayor) ordered the systematic invasion, clearing of buildings, rounding up of African American males, and the burning (scorched earth method) of the community. Is there any information what city officials sanctioned this destruction of lives and property.

    • That’s because what evidence there is suggests that there wasn’t a “who”, i.e a single person, masterminding the situation. I think it’s far more likely that it was just a total cock-up of lack of forethought, planning, and a complete inability to understand the consequences of poorly made decisions.

      Obviously, there are differences of opinions, and a complete lack of proof for any of them.

      What can proven is that there was a meeting of two armed groups that erupted into violence, which was followed by the National Guard disarming, rounding up and imprisoning the African American Community, leaving their homes open for looting and burning. At least 36 people died in the rioting of 31 May, and the fighting on 1 June, and several hundred died over the next few months as a result of the events.

      I’m sorry if that’s not the answer you were wanting though.

      • Actually there likely was a “who” but it was not a single person but instead was a group of people. The segregation laws of Oklahoma had an unintended consequence….black business that had previously been enjoyed by white men was forced into the black neighborhoods. They then created their own schools, theaters and grocery stores and that profit then stayed within the black community while the white community suffered an unintended and significant reduction in sales.

        Resentment over Black Wall Street (called the Negro Wall Street, then) was abound. There were many groups of white people grumbling about this. These informal organizations turned into a mass of KKK organizations being formally founded across Oklahoma the very same year as the razing of Black Wall Street. A total of 8 were established across Oklahoma. 3 were positioned surrounding Tulsa while the rest were evenly distributed.

        This is the sign of planning on a military scale. Any military officer will tell you the setup of the clan, if demonstrated as troops on a battlefield, was signalling an attack was eminent. And it happened.

        This isn’t the only such incident to occur in the early part of the 20th century. Like this one the others were suppressed, as well.

        So…between the stationing of KKK outposts the same year, the fact it was right after the black sharecroppers started unionizing, the fact that the events through this entire period all over the US have been hidden….

        There most certainly was a whom. It was a conspiracy of great magnitude that continues to this day….for slavery has never left, but only evolved.

  2. Mr. Carlson,

    I was wondering if anyone had ever looked at the economic effect the riots have had on Americans of African decent today. It is 93 years since this terrible tragedy, and I can’t help but to wonder if this city had been allowed to thrive where would we be as a nation today.

  3. thank you for your research, I was reading news about the Orlando massacre and someone in the comments section mentioned ‘Black Wall Street’ and Tulsa so I followed leads until I found your blog and wow, devastating reading! I was thinking however that ‘race riot’ masks the story because it doesn’t communicate the power disparity and racism and actually it is more like a pogrom. What do you think?

    • In my opinion, the events of May 31-June 1 are two separate but linked things. The first, starting at the courthouse and ending at the defensive lines at the tracks was a race riot. The second, rounding up the Greenwood community, and looting and burning their homes has had a number of names suggested war, massacre, burning, an so forth. I prefer Pogrom but since most Americans don’t understand the term, I don’t really have a preference. In any case, what we call it is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We need to be more concerned about making people aware of what happened and trying to see that it doesn’t happen again.

  4. yes I see your point about rearranging the deck chairs but I do think that language is crucial and the equivalence of power suggested by ‘race riot’ erases the specificity of the actions of one set of people who were destroying the lives and livelihoods of others on a mass scale based on their race. Saying that Americans don’t know what that word means, well, I’m from New Zealand and we don’t necessarily know the word either but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it.

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