Juneteenth, Tulsa, and a moment of racial reckoning in America

The Black Wall Street mural in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Okla. Credit: Kurt Gwartney for KCRW.

On June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas finally learned they were free. Juneteenth, a commemoration of that moment 155 years ago, has been called America’s second Independence Day. And today it’s drawing more attention as the nation continues to grapple with systemic racism.

This year, the holiday comes the day before President Trump holds what’s being billed as a “comeback rally” in Tulsa. And it will happen just blocks away from the site of one of the worst racial massacres in the nation’s history, where white mobs burned down a thriving Black community, killing hundreds in 1921.

In May and June 1921, an angry white mob torched Tulsa’s prosperous Greenwood District, known as the nation’s “Black Wall Street.” Credit: Oklahoma Historical Society.
Credits

Guests:
James Goodwin - civil rights attorney and publisher of Tulsa’s black-owned weekly newspaper, Daina Ramey Berry - University of Texas at Austin and author of “A Black Women’s History of the United States"

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin