1921 Tulsa Race Riot curriculum to be taught statewide

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OKLAHOMA CITY– Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today joined State Senator Kevin Matthews (D-Tulsa) at Oklahoma City’s Douglass High School to announce the completion of education curriculum about the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot that will be taught statewide. This online toolkit is part of the mission of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Centennial Commission, which was created a year ago to educate Oklahomans and Americans about the Race Riot and its impact on the state and nation; remember its victims and survivors; and create an environment conducive to fostering sustainable entrepreneurship and heritage tourism within North Tulsa.

From May 31 until June 1, 1921, it is estimated that 300 individuals were killed during a race-related massacre in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. An economically and socially vibrant community, often called Black Wall Street, thrived prior to the riot. The curriculum unveiled today tells the story of Black Wall Street, the Race Riot, and its aftermath. The Oklahoma History Center helped the Commission create the curriculum, which can be found and downloaded online at www.tulsa2021.org/resources. The Oklahoma Department of Education plans to begin including this curriculum in their training for teachers this summer.

“I am honored to be a part of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Centennial Commission and the effort to teach the story to Oklahomans,” said Lankford. “It is important to remember tragedies like this because there is something we can learn from the past as we look towards the future.”

“We specifically chose to have this curriculum unveiled during Black History Month,” said Matthews. “People need to know that the Greenwood area, which was once called the Black Wall Street of America, was developed right here in Tulsa, in our state, and about the tragedy that occurred here.”

During today’s press conference, Matthews pointed out that the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC tells the history of the Race Riot, but that it is not taught in Oklahoma. He was pleased to learn that Lankford also shared about the Riot on the Senate Floor and he wants more people to know the history.

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