The Cougar Chronicle

CSUSM community learns about the greenwood massacre

Tyler Abrahams, Assistant News Editor

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Dressed in black attire, attendees walked around the Black Wall Street event observing several information booths on the terrible tragedy of the 1921 riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before the main event began.

On Mar. 6 in the USU Ballroom, Anthony Jett, Sr. the Black Student Center’s Associate Director hosted a panel of four guest speakers who raised awareness about the bloody massacre in the town of Greenwood.

Greenwood, Oklahoma was known as the Black Wall Street in 1921. There were black-owned banks, movie theaters and numerous other
black professionals that were thriving in Greenwood. That is, before the massacre.

Special guest moderator Anthony Benjamin Crump began by showing a CNN video titled Tulsa’s ‘Black Wall Street’ massacre.

The video showed protesters marching in 2016 against the police killing of Terence Crutcher, who was unarmed.

It described how there was a riot in 1921 that killed an estimate of 300 people in Greenwood and caused $2.7 million in property damages. All the insurance claims made by the victims were denied due to the massacre labeled as a riot.

Law attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons discussed how the legal system provided insurance companies the ability to deny payments for property damages. Dr. Tiffany Crutcher spoke about how her brother’s death in 2016 in Tulsa mirrored the massacre in 1921.

“If you’re black or brown in America there is an automatic assumption of guilt and danger. My brother, just like the people of Black Wall Street, he didn’t see this type of brutality coming,” said Dr. Crutcher.

Middle school teacher born and raised in Greenwood, Nehemiah D. Frank explained the difference between a riot and a massacre.

Frank said he teaches students that riots should invoke scenes from St. Louis, Baltimore or the LA riots in 1992. Massacres are what happened in the Holocaust.

The final speaker, Reverend Jamaal Nash-Dyer, explained how to move forward to educate the country and rewrite history.

He said, “What it takes is everyone doing what we’re doing today. Dialoguing about why it wasn’t called a riot and moving forward to the future and how we can change that and call it a massacre.”

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