On Monday, May 31, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre with a nationally-televised event called “Remember & Rise.”
The ceremony will honor the once thriving Black Tulsa community that was attacked and bombed by whites in a century ago between May 31 and June 1. Nearly 10,000 people were pronounced dead in the Greenwood District known as “Black Wall Street,” destroying one of the most flourishing Black neighborhoods in the country. Survivors and descendants of the Tulsa race massacre are also slated to be in attendance and celebrated.
Voter rights advocate and politician Stacey Abrams will speak at the event, according to the “Remember & Rise” website. “We are honored to welcome Stacey Abrams to Tulsa for the Centennial,” said Phil Armstrong, project director for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, in a statement.
“Her tireless efforts to create equity and access for Black Georgia voters has inspired the entire country to re-envision what inclusive structures, systems and communities should look like. We are excited to hear from Stacey in person and apply her tenacity and dedication to the reconciliation of Greenwood beyond this year.”
Abrams said she is unified with the mission of what the “Remember & Rise” program represents. In a statement, Abrams said she joins “in the recognition of what Tulsa’s Black families endured 100 years ago. “Together, we can create a more equitable nation where systemic racism is conquered at last,” she said. “The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre is a story of remarkable loss and tragedy, but it also speaks to the resilience and strength of the Greenwood community. This Centennial commemoration compels us to reflect on this tragic history, without which reconciliation is impossible. Its reverberations continue across communities today, where too many Black Americans face economic hardship, disproportionate police and gun violence, and assaults on their freedom to vote.”
Author and actor Hill Harper will host the event, which will also feature a spoken word performance from “America’s Got Talent” contestant Brandon Leake. “Hill Harper and Brandon Leake are both stellar artists that will help deliver our message of healing and unity for our entire community,” said Armstrong.
There will be speeches and performances from Damon Lindelof, producer of HBO’s award-winning series “The Watchmen;” centennial commissioners Armstrong, Hannibal B. Johnson and state Sen. Kevin Matthews; Tulsa entertainers Tony Mason and Eldredge Jackson; and Greenwood Art Project lead artists Rick Lowe and William Cordova. John Legend is also slated to headline the show at ONEOK Field.