Black leaders in Tulsa chose to cover memorials to the 1921 Black Wall Street massacre yesterday before a visit by Vice President Mike Pence, saying they didn’t want Pence to use the memorials as a “photo-op.”
They claimed that Pence’s visit during the day and Trump’s rally later that night were stoking racial tensions in the city and they didn’t want to give either Trump or Pence the opportunity to gain anything from the visit.
It’s unclear what Pence’s itinerary was after his arrival in Tulsa. The Tulsa World reported that Pence wanted to visit Greenwood, the neighborhood that was the site for the 1921 massacre of 300 blacks by Klansmen.
A rumor surfaced earlier in the day that Pence would make the trip to Greenwood, specifically Black Wall Street, around 5 p.m. to talk with African-American community advocates.
This was before Greenwood community members — anticipating a visit by Pence or Trump — covered portions of the Black Wall Street Memorial, which serves as an unofficial headstone for the hundreds of souls taken during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, “for fear of the Trump administration using it for the backdrop of a photo op,” the group said in a news release.
Signs that read, “THIS IS SACRED GROUND” and “THIS IS NOT A PHOTO OP, MR PRESIDENT” were taped to the Black Wall Street mural.
I guess they only want the president and vice president to visit memorials where white people were massacred.
Tiffany Crutcher echoed the prevailing sentiment of residents, saying the action was “a community decision” to guard the area from what she described as “personal agendas” prompted by the Trump campaign.
“We don’t want any symbolic gestures or photo ops saying that they came here,” Crutcher said.
“What we need for them to do is truly honor and respect black lives by implementing policies that will ensure more justice for Greenwood. We are very protective of our community and our sacred land.”
The Black Wall Street massacre was one of the worst instances of racial hate in American history. A visit by Trump and Pence would have brought the massacre to the fore of the American conscience as it never has been before. But politics trumps history and preventing Trump from gaining politically from images of him visiting the memorial became paramount to everything — including the black community gaining much-coveted attention for the cause of gaining justice for the massacre.
What do you say about people who’d rather shoot themselves in the foot rather than talk with someone who disagrees with them?