On Monday, hundreds attended an interfaith service outside a historic African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the 100th anniversary of one of the deadliest race massacres in U.S. History.
According to The Christian Post, in 1921, a white mob violently attacked the Black Tulsa neighborhood of Greenwood, leaving over 1,200 houses destroyed and 39 people dead, most of them African American.
Historians, however, estimate that the death toll could have been as high as 300.
On Monday, prominent African American faith leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. William Barber, joined local faith leaders at Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood.
“You can kill the people, but you cannot kill the voice of the blood,” stated Barber at the event, adding that he was “humbled even to stand on this holy ground.”
The AME church was almost destroyed in the massacre, but parishioners continued to meet in the basement, the Associated Press reports. Several years later, the church was rebuilt and became a symbol of resilience amongst the African American community.
In 2018, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Democratic Congress members were also in attendance during Monday’s memorial ceremony, such as Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA.), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).
In a separate event on the same day, President Joe Biden delivered a speech at the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa concerning the tragedy that took place a century ago.
Biden cited scripture from 1 Corinthians, which reads, ‘For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then, face to face, now I know in part, then I shall know fully,’”
“For much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness,” he added. “But just because history is silent, it doesn’t mean that it did not take place. And while darkness can hide much, it erases nothing.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Brandon Bell/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.