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Tulsa Race Massacre: Mobs' invasion of Greenwood was swift and destructive

Tulsa Race Massacre: Mobs' invasion of Greenwood was swift and destructive

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A history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Some said a loud whistle signaled the invasion of Greenwood. In any event, at dawn on the morning of June 1, the neighborhood was overrun.

Black Tulsans had been surrendering themselves to National Guardsmen patrolling the district’s western fringe throughout the night, but in the morning, roughly 30 men under the command of Capt. John McCuen advanced into Greenwood itself. Their orders were to take into custody every African American they could and subdue any who resisted.

Along the Frisco tracks, Maj. Charles Daley — a high-ranking officer in both the National Guard and the Tulsa Police Department — and a few others tried to hold back a mob determined to teach Tulsa’s Black population a lesson. The mob, apparently including many given special police commissions, broke through.

“Following the fight last night,” reported the Tribune on the afternoon of June 1, “white men everywhere were threatening to wipe out ‘Little Africa’ forever with the torch.”

They proceeded to do just that.

Randy Krehbiel


Twitter: @rkrehbiel


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