No, History Will Not Remember

No one told me about Tulsa until I was in my 30s. I suspect I’m not the only one. Most Gen-Xers and older millennials, even those of us who went to college, didn’t have the story of how “Black Wall Street” was razed to the ground by white supremacists in our curricula. I had an advanced degree and a civil rights law practice before I heard about it for the first time.

Now, on its 100th anniversary, the Tulsa Massacre is finally part of our popular national narrative — for now, anyway. That is to say: White folks who happen to be floating in certain media bubbles know about it. It gets coverage on NPR. A few documentaries are available for streaming. People write about it for publications that are still printed on slick paper. How long we retain this information in our collective databanks, and what we choose to do with it, remains to be seen.

The fact that no one told us about Tulsa might reasonably lead conscientious white people to ask: What else are we missing?

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