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Tulsa Race Riot of 1921

             To this day, all of the facts about the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 are still not known. There are many controversies about what exactly happened, but most people will agree that it was a true tragedy.
             On May 31, 1921, a black man by the name of Dick Rowland was on an elevator operated by a white woman, Sarah Page. As the elevator jolted, Mr. Rowland accidentally grabbed Ms. Page's arm. She accused him of assaulting her. He was arrested simply on her word. Rumors circulated that Rowland was going to be hanged that night.
             Groups of blacks and whites gathered at the courthouse where Rowland was held. There were mediators for both sides, although they went unheard. A white man confronted an armed black man who had come to protect Rowland. The white man asked the black man why he had a gun. The black man replied that he would use it if he had to. The white man tried to take the gun from the black man. The gun went off. It hit the white man, and killed him. Thus the riot began (Morris). This is where the controversy begins.
             "Sixty or seventy automobiles filled with armed men were in the line drawn about the black belt and there were many reports to the effect that they planned to range through the negro settlement and "clean it out"" ("Race War "). White men who owned cars volunteered to drive one or two armed men around the riot area to prevent the riot from spreading into other areas of the town. .
             One newspaper article said, " After six hours of race rioting, extending over the entire city, two white men are known to be dead and about a score are known to be injured. There are no known negro fatalities, though reports are that several were killed. One injured negro is at the police station and is expected momentarily to die" ("Race War"). The reason the black man was at a police station and not a hospital remains unknown, but this is a typical example of the mind-set of the day.

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