President Biden on Tuesday became the first chief executive to commemorate the 1921 Tulsa race massacre that claimed the lives of dozens if not hundreds of black Americans 100 years, declaring, “This was not a riot. This was a massacre.”
“I come here to help fill the silence,” Biden told his audience at the Greenwood Cultural Center, in Tulsa, Okla., where he toured an exhibit marking the centenary of the massacre. “Because in silence, wounds deepen. And only, as painful as it is, only in remembrance do wounds heal. We just have to choose to remember.”
Biden began his remarks with a recounting of the events of May 31 and June 1, 1921, beginning with the arrest of a black shoeshiner accused of assaulting a white female elevator operator and continuing through the Ku Klux Klan-led carnage that leveled approximately three dozen blocks of the Greenwood district, dubbed “Black Wall Street” due to its prosperity.