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Mass graves, internment camps, no compensation: The story of Black Wall Street

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Have you ever thought carefully or learned the real story of Black Wall Street?  The atrocities are countless, and the state of Oklahoma has yet to pay reparations.  In this interview, Dr Boyce Watkins speaks with an historian who tells the story in grave detail.  Scores of deaths, loss of businesses and even people of color being put in internment camps make up the story that is almost never told.

This community was doing better than the white community around it.   There were scores of black businesses destroyed during the massacre, which occurred after false charges were filed against a black man.  This led to lynch mobs, attacks by police, and even bombs being dropped by the national guard.  The military didn’t drop bombs on the white community that started the violence, but they readily bombed the African American community that had more to lose than the whites.

After finding their reason to attack, angry whites came and burned down this community that had millions of dollars in wealth.  Many proud doctors, lawyers and business owners were left homeless and were even unable to rebuild after the destruction was over.  The white community, after the massacre, created laws that made it nearly impossible for the black community to rebuild.  They actually required that all new buildings be built with a material that was inaccessible to the black people in town.

To this day, whites control Tulsa, Oklahoma and their grandchildren still control the assets that were stolen.  Maybe it’s time to revisit the idea of asking them to repay what was stolen from the black people in this community.  At least there should be an apology, do you think?

We should tell this story to our children out of respect for those who lost everything.  Oprah is going to tell the story soon, but we should also tell this story ourselves.

 

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James

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