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Tulsa Race Riot

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In this episode of Behind the Headlines, host Teri Barr talks with Tulsa World Editor Jason Collington and reporters Randy Krehbiel and Kendrick Marshall.  They share some of the new information learned while covering the anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre this year, along with the many things that remain unknown, and why a search for answers still continues. The horrible historic event, which left 35 square blocks in ashes and hundreds dead over the course of Memorial Day weekend 1921, erased decades of success for African Americans who had built solid homes and prosperous businesses in the Greenwood District of the city, also known as “Black Wall Street.” Many believe it started when a young black man, 19-year-old Dick Rowland, was accused of assaulting the white elevator operator, 17-year-old Sarah Page, triggering the mayhem that followed. "Revisit the history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre": 2009 coverage, "The Questions That Remain": See for privacy information.

Oklahomans know how fast a tornado can spin up, and it could just be bad luck that it happened so rapidly in a part of town with a lot of people and commerce, but we'd like to see the explanation offered by emergency management officials validated. An authoritative third party should review Sunday's events and see that everything happened as it should and when it should.

Oklahoma's outrageous habit of throwing away salvageable lives is just plain bad. If the more morality of the issue doesn't convince you, consider these arguments: It runs up the state's corrections budget, robs money from education, overcrowds our prisons, makes it harder to hold onto dangerous criminals, shrinks the work forces, continues the cycle of poverty across generations, and establishes the precedent that Oklahoma treats medical problems with incarceration.

State funding to public schools — which wasn't adequate to begin with — came up $54 million short last year.

And, in the crazy world of Oklahoma education circles, that's almost good news.

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