In 1921, A Mob Destroyed America's Richest Black Neighborhood And Killed 300 Innocent People

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre was the deadliest massacre on American soil since the Civil War - but it is rarely mentioned in history books. Over a two-day period, 300 people were killed and over a thousand homes and businesses were looted and burned. The victims included Black veterans of World War I, the proprietor of the largest African American-owned hotel in the country, and scores of innocent people.

What happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921? A mob of 10,000 whites descended on Greenwood, the richest Black neighborhood in America, after a Black teenager on his way to a Blacks-only bathroom stepped on the foot of a white elevator operator. The same flimsy pretext was used for countless lynchings and riots, including the Florida Rosewood Massacre only two years later.

The Greenwood, Oklahoma, massacre destroyed a thriving Black neighborhood as planes dropped firebombs on American citizens. The National Guard detained 6,000 Black residents - but not a single white person was arrested. The Tulsa race massacre death toll was at least 300 people, but the true number may never be known, since Tulsa’s only Black hospitals were destroyed in the massacre, and segregated white hospitals refused to treat Black victims. In America’s long history of racial violence, the Tulsa massacre is one of the most tragic events.