Joe Biden remembered the victims of the Tulsa massacre and warned that the right to vote of African Americans in the US "is under attack."
The president of the United States participated in the commemoration of the centenary of one of the worst episodes of racist violence in the country's history. "I have come here to help break the silence," he said.
US President Joe Biden visited the Tulsa, Oklahoma, site of a 1921 racist massacre on Tuesday to "help break the silence" that has long hung over one of the worst episodes of anti-violence. African Americans in the history of the country.
"The events we are talking about occurred 100 years ago, and yet I am the first president in 100 years to come to Tulsa," insisted the president, who said he wanted to "get the truth out." "I have come here to help break the silence. Because in silence, the wounds deepen, "he added.
In his speech, the Democratic president also assured that the vote of the Afro-American population "is being attacked. "This sacred right is being assaulted with incredible intensity," Biden said, describing the attacks on the right to vote as "an unprecedented assault on our democracy."
On the other hand, the Biden administration announced on Tuesday economic aid measures for the African-American population to facilitate their access to the property or business creation, considered crucial in the Tulsa community.
On May 31, 1921, a young African-American was arrested after assaulting a white woman. A group of men from his community came out to defend him, confronting hundreds of white protesters. Then shots were fired, and the African-Americans fled to their Greenwood neighborhood. The next day, at dawn, whites looted and burned businesses and houses in what was then known as "Black Wall Street," an example of economic success.
In 2001, a commission of inquiry recommended that Greenwood residents receive compensation. But there was no reply.
On Monday, Tulsa Mayor George Bynum formally apologized for "the city's inability to protect" the community in 1921.
Like the economic losses, the death toll is difficult to estimate. Still, historians estimate that as many as 300 African Americans died, nearly 10,000 were left homeless. Meanwhile, no white official was convicted. According to the commission's report, the police, who did not try to prevent the slaughter, even armed some of the rioters.
On Monday, Biden said the US government must "recognize its role in stealing wealth and opportunity from black neighborhoods," including Greenwood.
In Tulsa, this is just the beginning. Residents expect more than a favorable president to address the issue.
The effects of the destruction continue to be felt in Oklahoma City, a former slave-owning southern state and a stronghold of the Ku Klux Klan. The inequalities between the predominantly African-American north of Tulsa and the predominantly white south are stark.
In a statement released Tuesday, the White House acknowledged that the destruction at Greenwood was followed by laws and policies that complicated recovery. "Due to disparities in wealth creation such as an interest rate, divestment in black families in Tulsa and across the country throughout our history is still being felt," he said.
On April 19, some survivors traveled to Washington to testify before Congress and asked the country to acknowledge their plight. Beyond compensation, residents hope the opportunity will help generalize the tragedy, a long-standing taboo.
Excavations have recently revealed a desire for transparency in the search for mass graves, where many black dead were buried.