‘This was not a riot, this was a massacre’: Biden commemorates 100th anniversary of the racist Tulsa attack that killed hundreds of Black people

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, 2021, in Arlington, Va.( Biden on Tuesday will take part in a remembrance of one of the nation’s darkest _ and largely forgotten _ moments of racial violence, marking the 100th anniversary of a massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma that wiped out a thriving Black community

  • Biden gave remarks in Oklahoma to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre.
  • A mob killed hundreds of Black Tulsans and destroyed countless homes and businesses.
  • Biden outlined steps the White House will take to tackle race-based income inequality.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden headed to Oklahoma on Tuesday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the devastating Tulsa massacre, one of the deadliest race riots in United States history.

Biden, along with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge and senior White House advisors Susan Rice and Cedric Richmond, toured the Greenwood Community Center and gave remarks in the afternoon.

As Biden noted, he is the first president ever to travel to Tulsa to mark an anniversary of the race massacre. He received a standing ovation from the assembled audience when he held a moment of silence, and said: “My fellow Americans, this was not a riot, this was a massacre.”

Biden acknowledged that the story of the massacre has “told in silence” and “cloaked in darkness,” for decades adding, “But just because history is silent doesn’t mean that it did not take place And while darkness can hide much, it erases nothing.”

“To all those lost so many years ago, to all the descendants of those who suffered, to the community, that’s why we’re here, to make sure America knows the story in full,” Biden said.

Biden also unveiled new White House initiatives to tackle the racial wealth gap in the US during his speech on Tuesday, which include measures to support Black-owned businesses and combat systemic housing discrimination and redlining.

Read more: Meet the young entrepreneurs rebuilding Tulsa’s booming ‘Black Wall Street’ 100 years after a white mob burned it down

In the 1921 massacre, a mob made up of white residents, with support from city officials, killed and injured hundreds of Black Tulsans and looted and destroyed countless businesses, eviscerating a vibrant business community including a street dubbed Black Wall Street.

The massacre followed mounting racial animus towards Black Americans, a resurgence in the presence of white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, and aggressive efforts to disenfranchise and segregate Black citizens in the state during the Jim Crow era.

The incident itself was set off after a white female elevator operator accused a 19-year-old Black shoeshiner named Dick Rowland, who worked in the Greenwood district, of sexually assaulting her on May 30, 1921. Her allegation prompted a lynch mob to descend on the courthouse where Rowland was being held. The charges against Rowland were dropped after the massacre.

In all, the mob is estimated to have killed as many as 300 Black residents of Tulsa and burned down huge swaths of the Greenwood business district, a neighborhood of the city where Black-owned and managed businesses thrived. The riot also displaced thousands of Black Tulsans, with the Red Cross estimating that over 1,200 homes in the area were burned down and hundreds more looted.

“Hell was unleashed, literal hell was unleashed,” Biden said in his speech.

The history of the massacre was swept under the rug for decades, with local media outlets and scholars discouraged from studying or shedding light on the incident. And, as Insider’s Taylor Ardery reported, the massacre was even excluded from many Oklahoma public school curriculums.

“We can’t just choose to learn what we want to know, and not what we should know,” Biden said, acknowledging the “clear effort” to “erase” the massacre “from our memory, our collective memories, from the news and every conversation.”

Now, local community leaders, advocates, and the few living survivors of the attack are calling on the US to confront the painful history of the attack and are advocating for financial reparations for the lives and businesses destroyed.

City officials are also exhuming gravesites where massacre victims were believed to be buried for archaeological research and DNA testing.

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Pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood receives standing ovation after making ‘QAnon’ gestures to crowd, report says

lin wood trump
Attorney Lin Wood, member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, gestures while speaking during a rally on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Alpharetta, Ga.

  • Lin Wood repeatedly drew a ‘Q’ symbol with his finger at a conference, Newsweek reported.
  • The lawyer also referred to ‘Q’ several times and falsely claimed that Trump is still president.
  • The ‘Q’ symbol is associated with the discredited, far-right conspiracy theory ‘QAnon.’
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lin Wood, a far-right attorney and loyal ally to former President Donald Trump, sent an audience into a frenzy when he made ‘Q’ gestures during a convention speech on Friday, according to Newsweek.

The Georgia lawyer, who has gained notoriety for spreading election misinformation and calling for former Vice President Mike Pence’s execution, spoke at the conservative Health and Freedom Conference at Rhema Bible College in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He repeatedly drew a ‘Q’ symbol in their air with his right index finger, Newsweek reported.

The letter ‘Q’ has become synonymous with the far-right conspiracy movement ‘QAnon.’ Adherents of this discredited conspiracy theory believe that a mythical cabal of Satanic pedophiles, who are thought to be part of the “deep state,” work together to undermine former President Donald Trump.

Read more: Republicans should be worried about what Marjorie Taylor Greene will say next

During Wood’s speech, Newsweek reported, he referenced ‘Q’ several times.

“He [God] is going to rebirth you into the spirit world and create exactly the person that he intended you to be,” Wood said, according to the media outlet. “There’s your Q.”

The audience, Newsweek said, then began cheering and rose for a standing ovation while he continued to sound out and draw the letter.

“That is Q. What does that Q mean?” he reportedly continued. “Don’t you ever give up hope on this country.”

trump qanon
A Trump supporters holds up a large QAnon sign while waiting in line to see President Donald J. Trump at his rally on August 2, 2018/

Wood then proceeded to claim falsely that Trump is still in office. “He won the presidency and he is the person that we the people selected,” Wood said, according to Newsweek. “Donald J. Trump is still the president of the United States of America. He is your president.”

He also used the speech to target Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, and to compare himself to the Hebrew King David, the media outlet said.

Wood, who is best known for painting a false narrative of a stolen election by filing failed lawsuits, is no stranger to controversy.

He was permanently banned from using Twitter after violating a suspension by inciting violence, BuzzFeed News reported.

The State Bar of Georgia is also looking into disciplining him for imploring his followers to target members of the institution, Insider’s Connor Perrett previously reported.

The Health and Freedom Conference dedicated to opposing the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of freedoms is due to conclude Saturday night with a mask burning ceremony.

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