OKLAHOMA SCHOOL SYSTEM ADDS TULSA RACE MASSACRE TO CURRICULUM
By Awa Gueye
February 22, 2020
In 1921, the Tulsa Race Massacre, accurately referred to by Senator Kevin Matthews as “Tulsa’s dirty secret”, occurred. The tragedy took place over 18 hours when a white mob made up of an estimated 10,000 people attacked a predominately Black neighborhood called Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Greenwood community had a district known as “Black Wall Street”, popular for the thriving Black businesses. The Tulsa Race Massacre was an event so disgusting it resulted in the destruction of those amazing businesses, killed hundreds, left thousands homeless, and hundreds of people unaccounted for. To make things even more grosser, until recently, few knew about this National Terrorist attack.
Art has changed this reality. After the huge success of HBO’s Watchmen, many people learned about the true history of Tulsa and have shared that knowledge. The refusal to keep a dirty secret has created change in the real world too.
Beginning this Fall, Oklahoma schools will now include the 1921Tulsa Race Massacre in curriculums. “What we want to ensure is that… we are teaching in a grade-appropriate level those facts that have not been taught in a way they should have been taught in Oklahoma. This is… our history and we should know it,” explained State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
Hopefully, this will encourage more artists who shine a light on truth and the world to acknowledge its wrongs instead of pretending it didn’t happen and erasing our past.