Hundreds gather to honor the lives lost in the Tulsa Race Massacre

Members of Operation PUSH were in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Monday as the nation marked 100 years since an infamous day where racism reared its ugly head.

100 years ago on May 31, 1921, 300 Black people if not more were killed and the economy they created was dismantled.

"Homes were burned, some 23 churches were burned to the ground. Other people went into hiding for months. Others ran for their lives," said Bishop Tavis Grant, Rainbow PUSH Coalition National Field Director.


May 31, 1921 is when as many as 300 Black people died over the course of 16 hours in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the Greenwood neighborhood known as "Black Wall Street."

"There were cleaners, several clothing stores, banks, this was a thriving independent economy," said Bishop Tavis Grant.

It was all completely wiped away by mobs of  angry white residents that set the fire.

Survivors have been pushing for reparations. Viola fletcher was just 7-years-old when it happened.

"I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street," said Fletcher. "I still smell smoke and see fire."

The country at that time had just recovered from the influenza pandemic and five years later, Black Wall Street was completely restored.

Hundreds gathered outside the historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was nearly destroyed in the race massacre.

Reverend Jesse Jackson acknowledges the country still has a long way to go, but his words were encouraging as we look to the future.

"We will not give up, we will not surrender. Keep hope alive," said Rev. Jesse Jackson.