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When you were in middle/high school, were you taught anything at all about...


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.... the Tulsa Race Massacre?  (Today is the 100 year anniversary.)

 

I attended public schools in rural upstate New York and then exurb northern CT.  I never heard about it until well into adulthood.

Today is the 100th anniversary.   Once Upon a Time in Greenwood.

 

 

The resentment is evidently not limited to the long-ago past; over the last two nights a NYC gallery running a commemorative exhibit has twice been defaced.

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I don't think I'd heard about it--at least not in enough detail that I recalled it later. I heard about it via Stuff You Missed in History class. They have a podcast about it (maybe two).

PBS aired a documentary last night about it as well. 

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No, and I grew up in Oklahoma. I didn't learn about it until I was an adult. We were required to take Oklahoma History in the 9th grade and it was not included. 

Oklahoma History also omitted many of the atrocities committed against the Native American tribes in Oklahoma. For example, I didn't know anything about the Osage murders until I was an adult. 

We were taught about the Trail of Tears and the "five civilized tribes." These were the five tribes (Cherokee, Seminole, Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw) that were forcibly moved from the southeastern USA to Oklahoma. "Five civilized tribes" was the term we were taught. 🤮

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Dh and I were talking about this last night.   Dh pointed out that whenever big racial events were mentioned in history, it’s always in the South, mainly AL and MS.  Neither of us had heard of the Tulsa Race Massacre until recently.  We both grew up near the gulf coast.  Not sure if that made a difference or not.

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Oklahoma History is actually pretty interesting if it's taught honestly. I can't think of any books to recommend besides the recent one about the Osage murders, Killers of the Flower Moon

Tribes were forcibly moved to "Indian territory" and they had to start over again in Oklahoma. Then they lost land again because they were allied with the Confederacy during the Civil War. They were "civilized" because they were slaveholders and Christian. 

Then the land that was taken from the tribes was opened up to white settlement through a land-run. They literally set off a gun and people ran to claim land. Sooners were people who snuck in the night before to make a claim. 

There was long campaign to steal lands from the tribes. Some of it was legal, some not. 

The African American population in Oklahoma was always very small but the state had Jim Crow laws. It was one of the states under the control of the KKK during the 1920s. 

It had a very economic progressive streak at times. This was related to farming. But that was stamped out. Now it is solid red with a low voter turnout. 

It's a good example of a long term movement to steal the rights of people and take away their connection to democracy. COVID hit them hard which is not at all surprising given what the state is today. 

If you want to know how messy American history can be and what can happen if people don't pay attention, look at Oklahoma. 

 

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I grew up in South Carolina in a liberal family, took AP U.S. history ... and learned nothing about it, as far as I know. It's possible we covered it briefly and I just didn't tuck it into my long-term memory.  

I only learned about it a few years ago, but I do know that it featured heavily in the HBO (?) adaptation of The Watchmen last year. I'm not sure how widely that was watched, but it does point to a general upwelling in the collective consciousness. 

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1 minute ago, Pawz4me said:

Not that I recall. I also don't recall learning anything about the Wilmington coup even though I grew up right here in NC. 

Yeah, I'm pretty sure both Tulsa and Rosewood were touched on with a few sentences in APUSH - I know that I was aware of them before I was an adult, though I can't say exactly when and I definitely didn't know much. But I did that entire NC history program - the one that makes you spend forever on NC history and only learned about Wilmington as an adult and that really dismays me. They make you memorize every single county and they don't teach this. At least, they didn't.

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I can’t say when exactly, but I have heard of the Tulsa Race Riots for years.  I didn’t have a good grasp and have to agree that calling it a Race Riot is very misleading!  
 

I also grew up in Oklahoma.  

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I remember memorizing the 5 Civilized Tribes one of the things that made them civilized was that they owned slaves.  That was in an old textbook we had in elementary school.  
 

To be fair — I memorized the 5 Civilized Tribes, but I read the textbook for fun and the teacher would comment about not using a lot of it because it was dated, but I did not know what she meant by that at the time.  

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2 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I remember memorizing the 5 Civilized Tribes one of the things that made them civilized was that they owned slaves.  That was in an old textbook we had in elementary school.  
 

To be fair — I memorized the 5 Civilized Tribes, but I read the textbook for fun and the teacher would comment about not using a lot of it because it was dated, but I did not know what she meant by that at the time.  

Yes, we had to memorize the names of the 5 Civilized Tribes too. 

Did you take Oklahoma history in the 9th grade? 

Was the textbook small and yellow? 

 

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Posted (edited)

It was 4th grade.  I was supposed to have a semester in 9th grade, but the 9th and 10th grade teachers decided to split American History between 2 years, and were supposed to bring in Oklahoma history sometimes, but I think they did not really cover it much.  
 

In elementary school we always learned about the Land Run and had a big event.
 

Edit:  I can’t remember the textbook now.  

Edited by Lecka
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No. I grew up in Northern California. I learned about it as an adult.
 

We mentioned it once to my in laws, both of whom grew up in Oklahoma and now live in Tulsa. They had never heard of it either.

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re Isabel Wilkerson's Warmth of Other Suns

1 hour ago, WTM said:

I learned about these things when I read Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns

Thanks for mentioning this. That's probably where I first heard of it as well.  (I learned a LOT of history I'd never learned before, there.)  And I see from Amazon that I got the book in 2016.

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I do not remember it from Oklahoma History class, just from museums now, as I have homeschooled my kids.  But I do not remember anything about my high school state history class to be honest.  Like I can't even remember which of the two high schools I attended I took it at, so it could have been taught...

I of course did not realize until I was an adult what was meant by civilized tribes, when we learned them, and have been sure to teach to my kids what was meant by that. 

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I didn’t know about Tulsa until last year. DH didn’t know about it until a few days ago. Both of us graduated from Iowa schools in the 1980s. 
I didn’t know about Wilmington until just now, thanks to the link above. 
We were taught about the Oklahoma land rush and Trail of tears, but little else about Native American history. 
I still have my Iowa history project and I kept all of my Iowa history exams. We grew up near Council Bluffs and Lewis and Clark went through that area. DH and I didn’t know that until...10-12 years ago? When we were homeschooling and studied Lewis and Clark. I pulled out my Iowa history exams, which would have been taken in the late 1970s. Not a single question about Lewis and Clark. But we did have an entire test covering the Mormons camping north of Council Bluffs when they were forced westward. 

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Born and raised in Tulsa and still here.  I knew about it bc I knew people from that area/history growing up.  And I had a 7th grade black history teacher who would mention stuff like this.  But it wasn’t in any history books here that I recall.

 

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I did.  I went to junior high school that was a majority African American school, and all of my social studies teachers in grades 7-9 were AA.  The curriculum wasn't nearly as standardized as it is now, and the teachers had a lot of latitude to teach whatever they wanted.  We did learn about this.

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I grew up in TX and didn’t know of it until I was an adult. All my history teachers were coaches though who didn’t really teach. One spent the whole year teaching JFK assassination conspiracy theories. Fun times.

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2 hours ago, bibiche said:

Reparations now. 

And exactly how would that look?  How do we make dead people pay for the things they did to now dead people 100 years later? Zero snark in this question but people keep saying this and not answering this question. 

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46 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

And exactly how would that look?  How do we make dead people pay for the things they did to now dead people 100 years later? Zero snark in this question but people keep saying this and not answering this question. 

I ask myself the same question over indigenous issues here.  I guess the one thing we can do is throw everything we can at the intergenerational issues that have resulted from these kind of actions for the kids of survivors etc.  I don’t know if that’s relevant for you all though.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, bibiche said:

Reparations now. 

What would the ideal outcome of this be?  For example, say we were to give an appropriate amount of money to the appropriate individuals right now.  What would those individuals' lives look like five, ten, twenty years from now?  What would the lives of their children be like?  If we do this, would we magically stop having problems with race relations?

Edited by EKS
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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, EKS said:

What would the outcome of this be?  For example, say we were to give an appropriate amount of money to the appropriate individuals right now.  What would those individuals' lives look like five, ten, twenty years from now?  What would the lives of their children be like?  If we do this, would we magically stop having problems with race relations?

If I steaL your car or raze it and you/your kids are finally able to obtain compensation, who the hack cares what you do with the money. It’s yours. No, it doesn’t solve problems or bring your car back but it’s a step toward righting specific wrongs. There are living victims, still, today, who were present when this occurred.

Edited by Sneezyone
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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I ask myself the same question over indigenous issues here.  I guess the one thing we can do is throw everything we can at the intergenerational issues that have resulted from these kind of actions for the kids of survivors etc.  I don’t know if that’s relevant for you all though.

It is, it’s just too big to wrap heads around. Significant massacres occurred well into the 20th century and not just in Tulsa. Other practices extended into my parents’ generation, specifically redlining, farm subsidies, GI Bill application, and the omission of domestic workers from social security.

I didn’t learn about Tulsa in school. I learned about it at home.

Edited by Sneezyone
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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

If I steaL your car or raze it and you /your kids are finally able to obtain compensation, who the hack cares what they do with the money. It’s theirs. No, it doesn’t solve problems but it’s a step toward righting specific wrongs. There are living victims, still, today, who were present when this occurred.

Exactly. And reparations and race relations have nothing to do with one another. I don’t have high hopes of better race relations when people still can’t grasp that reparations are just. Guess we’ll have to hold out hope for the younger generation, who hopefully are less racist than their elders.

Edited by bibiche
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29 minutes ago, EKS said:

What would the outcome of this be?  For example, say we were to give an appropriate amount of money to the appropriate individuals right now.  What would those individuals' lives look like five, ten, twenty years from now?  What would the lives of their children be like?  If we do this, would we magically stop having problems with race relations?

I don’t think anyone is deluded into thinking it means race issues stop. But if some jerk totals my car, I’m permitted restitution. If someone does something that directly results in the loss of my home and or life, my children have a right to demand restitution from that someone. 

The problem here is that nearly all those who were involved in either side are dead, most of their kids are elderly or dead, so the question is, how many generations away get to make a claim?  And how much of a claim is reasonable?

Keeping in mind that the Tulsa of today has had in influx of population since the 70s. Most people being asked to pay higher taxes, at a time when the entire world feels terribly cash strapped, to support reparation didn’t even have family that lived in Oklahoma back then.

So I don’t know. Maybe all the property stolen during the massacre should be bought by the city to become a beautiful park and community center/historical center to black history in Tulsa?  I’d be sorta okay with that. It’s not perfect but it’s tangible and benefits everyone. (Except the current users of those properties, who would still get something that would allow them to move their business successfully. 🥴)

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