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Emotional Photos Show How Tulsa Is Marking 100 Years Since A Massacre

Vigils, parades, murals, and ceremonies are trying to educate the public and acknowledge the long-standing pain — both emotional and physical — from a century ago.

Posted on June 1, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. ET

Residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma, are this week marking the centennial of the 1921 Greenwood massacre with dozens of events. That includes a visit on Tuesday from President Joe Biden, who is set to meet with the three known survivors of the atrocity.

As many as 300 Black people were killed by a white mob, including National Guard soldiers and other members of law enforcement, during the infamous Tulsa massacre. The violence caused the destruction of the city's Greenwood neighborhood, a prosperous area that was known at the time as Black Wall Street.

No one was held accountable, and the massacre was not officially acknowledged, even within the city, for decades. But recently, Tulsa has started to grapple with its violent past, with two museums dedicated to documenting the history of Greenwood and memorials for those killed.

Many, including a local pastor of the only church that survived the massacre, are calling for reparations for the survivors and their descendants to restore the wealth that was destroyed.

Vigils, parades, murals, and ceremonies are attempting to educate the public and acknowledge the long-standing pain — both emotional and physical — from a century ago.


A man and young boy look at a mural showing a Black woman carrying a Black man amid flaming ruins
Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Nehemiah Frank teaches his cousin David McIntye II about the Tulsa massacre in the Greenwood district in Tulsa on May 28, 2021.

A man prays at an altar with his head in his hands
John Locher / AP

The Rev. Robert R.A. Turner, pastor of the historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church, prays in the sanctuary of the church between meetings around centennial commemorations of the Tulsa massacre, May 28, 2021.

An older Black man and two older Black man wave as they sit in the back of a carriage
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Tulsa massacre survivors, (from left) Hughes Van Ellis Sr., Lessie Benningfield Randle, and Viola Fletcher, wave and high-five supporters from a horse-drawn carriage before a march in Tulsa, May 28, 2021.

Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Left: the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa after a thunderstorm. Left: An image of devastation from the Tulsa massacre from the documentary Rebuilding Black Wall Street is shown on a drive-in movie screen during a screening at the centennial commemorations of the destruction of the Black neighborhood in Tulsa, May 26, 2021.

Lawrence Bryant / Reuters

A flower lies on the Stone Hill memorial to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, in Tulsa, May 31, 2021.

/Polly Irungu / Reuters

The oldest known living survivor of the Tulsa massacre, Viola Fletcher, 107, attends the Black Wall Street Legacy Festival 2021 in Tulsa, May 28, 2021.

Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Members of the Black Panther Party and other armed demonstrators rally in the Greenwood district during commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre on May 29, 2021, in Tulsa.

Brandon Bell / Getty Images

A band marches through residential streets in the Greenwood district during commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre on May 29, 2021, in Tulsa.

The Washington Post / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Survivor Viola Fletcher (center) adds soil to a jar as survivor Hughes Van Ellis (right) looks on during a soil collection ceremony during the commemoration of the Tulsa massacre centennial on May 31, 2021, in Tulsa.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

Tulsa massacre survivors Lessie Benningfield Randle (left), Viola Fletcher (center), and Hughes Van Ellis Sr. (right) receive checks for $100,000 from the Justice for Greenwood organization, May 29, 2021.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images

People look at the 1921 Black Wall Street Memorial on the 100-year anniversary of the Greenwood massacre in Tulsa, May 31, 2021.

John Locher / AP

People pray during the dedication of a prayer wall at the historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Greenwood neighborhood during the centennial commemoration of the Tulsa massacre, May 31, 2021.

John Locher / AP

People pray at the dedication of a prayer wall outside of the historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Greenwood neighborhood during the centennial of the Tulsa massacre, May 31, 2021.

A man with the word endure on his mask and a woman with the word hope written on tape across her mouth
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / Getty Images

Two people attend a silent prayer for victims of the 1921 Tulsa massacre on the 100-year anniversary in Tulsa, May 31, 2021.

John Locher / AP

People pray as they hold their hands on a prayer wall outside of the historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church during the centennial of the Tulsa massacre, May 31, 2021.

John Locher / AP

People hold candles during a vigil for the centennial commemorations of the Tulsa massacre in the historic Greenwood neighborhood, May 31, 2021.



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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