May 31, 2023

Senator Warren, Lawmakers Reintroduce Resolution Recognizing Anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Bill Text (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with 22 of her Senate colleagues, reintroduced a resolution recognizing the anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and honoring the lives and legacies of the nearly 300 Black individuals who were killed and the nearly 9,000 Black individuals who were left homeless and penniless as a result. 

The resolution also condemns the violent white mob, including white municipal officials and law enforcement officials who directly aided and abetted the unlawful violence, but were never held accountable. It encourages schools and universities to incorporate the history of the Tulsa Race Massacre into their curriculum, and recognizes Congress’s commitment to acknowledge and learn from the United States’ history of racism and racial violence. 

“The racist mob and law enforcement officials who committed atrocities at the Tulsa race massacre were never prosecuted or held accountable,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “Over 100 years later, this resolution is a step towards acknowledging and reversing the legacy of white supremacy in this country and continuing the fight for racial justice.”

“Our country must continue to reckon with the horrific history of violence and discrimination against Black Americans,” said Senator Jeff Merkley. “The Tulsa Race Massacre was an incredibly dark and horrid stain on the history of our nation. Terror has been inflicted on Black communities for centuries, and justice requires actively working to acknowledge, heal, and reverse that history. This resolution is a stark reminder and recommitment to continue our fight against racist violence and to reverse the legacy of slavery and white supremacy in our country.”

“The Tulsa Race Massacre was one of the worst cases of violence against the Black community in our country, but so many Americans have never heard of it,” said Senator Tim Kaine. “This resolution is critical to acknowledging this horrific tragedy and reaffirming our commitment to learning from our past to build a better, more just future.”

“Just over 100 years ago in Tulsa, a vicious, racist mob tore through a thriving Black community – murdering hundreds of people, destroying families, and decimating a vibrant local economy – yet the survivors never got the justice they deserved,” said Senator Van Hollen. “This resolution is about condemning this brutal act of terror and directly confronting the painful truths of our past as we continue the critical work to advance social justice and racial equity in our nation.”

“The Tulsa Massacre was a brutal, hate-fueled attack that claimed the lives and livelihoods of many Black Americans,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “Our resolution recognizes a dark moment in our nation’s history and calls on us to continue the fight for racial justice.”

“A century ago, hundreds of Black Americans were murdered at the hands of a white mob in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood district. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,’ and after decades of organizing for justice, we still see the legacy of the Tulsa Massacre in our nation today,” said Senator Ed Markey. “This resolution recognizes the lives lost in the Tulsa Massacre and the systemic violence that Black Americans continue to face today, as we recommit to our work to abolish white supremacy.”

“On the 102th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, we honor the lives and legacies of the hundreds of Black individuals who were killed and the thousands who were left homeless in the Greenwood District,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “Our resolution invites us to acknowledge and reflect on the history of racial violence in the United States so that it will never be repeated. We must continue to educate ourselves in order to uproot systemic racism and form a more perfect union.”

“The victims who lost their lives and the survivors who lost their homes, businesses, and loved ones during the Tulsa Race Massacre deserve to have their stories heard,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. “Educating future generations on the atrocities committed is essential to understanding and learning from our nation’s troubled history of racial violence. We need to stand together against the racism that led to this massacre and continues to drive violence and discrimination in our country today.”

“The atrocities committed during the Tulsa Race Massacre upended the lives of thousands of Black Oklahomans, and destroyed the thriving neighborhood that was once dubbed Black Wall Street,” said Senator Cory Booker. “Today, I join my colleagues in introducing this resolution that will acknowledge this dark history and honor those who lost their lives. We must vow to never repeat history and to fight racial injustices whenever and wherever they arise.”

“The victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre were targeted for being Black and successful, and this resolution serves as a reminder that the fight for racial justice continues today over a century later,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “Every American deserves to feel safe in their community, and I will continue to honor the memories of the men, women, and children who were murdered in 1921 by working to combat discrimination and protect our families in Nevada and across the country.”

“The Tulsa Race Massacre was horrific. Hundreds of Black Americans were murdered and a thriving community was burned to the ground, leaving nearly 9,000 residents homeless,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “With this resolution, we honor and remember the lives lost, recognize the importance of continuing to share the history of the Tulsa Race Massacre, and recommit ourselves to fighting racism and injustice wherever it exists.”

This resolution was co sponsored by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), John Fetterman (D-Penn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).

The resolution was also endorsed by the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, National Coalition for History, and the Greenwood Rising Black Wall St. History Center.

“The Organization of American Historians strongly supports Sen. Warren’s resolution on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre,” said Beth English, Executive Director, Organization of American Historians. “The OAH hopes that this resolution contributes to a broader acknowledgement of and reckoning with this brutal and deadly attack on a Black community.”

“Everything has a history, including white supremacy and the many forms of violence, coercion, and cultural practices that have legitimated and enforced it,” said  Jim Grossman, Executive Director, American Historical Association. “What happened in Tulsa was extreme, but not unusual. It is part of our nation's heritage. We must acknowledge that heritage, learn from it, and do whatever each of us can to ensure that it is just that—heritage, rather than continuing practice.”

“The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 stands apart as one of the most violent and lethal atrocities ever to terrorize a Black American community,” Lee White, Executive Director, National Coalition for History. “While acknowledgment is not the same thing as repair or redress, truthful remembrance can and often does catalyze both. Such is our greatest hope for this legislation and why we endorse it wholeheartedly.”

“Greenwood Rising Black Wall St. History Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma stands in solidarity with Senator Warren and others in Congress in recognizing the solemn anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre,” said Raymond Doswell, Executive Director, Greenwood Rising Black Wall St. History Center. “At the History Center, every day of the year, we educate thousands to the horrors of those fateful events. At the same time, we extoll the brave creators of Black Wall Street along with the equally brave and resilient survivors of the tragedy.  These are examples of black excellence in our history that should never be buried and never be forgotten. Telling the whole story of Greenwood, and similar communities across the nation, will reveal the truth of African American history and set the stage for racial reconciliation.  We thank Senator Warren and her colleagues for reminding the nation of the continued dialogue needed to make the nation whole.”