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US PRESIDENT Joe Biden is set to visit the scene of the Tulsa race massacre in Oklahoma tomorrow as the victims’ descendants continue the fight for justice.
Full details of Mr Biden’s trip to mark the centenary had not been released by the White House today, but it was understood that he will use the occasion to press others to recognise the massacre.
As many as 300 people were killed in the pogrom that took place between May 31 and June 1 1921 when mobs of white people, many of them armed with weapons supplied by city officials, descended on Tulsa’s Greenwood district — known as “the black Wall Street.”
The massacre followed clashes which took place after 19-year-old black shoe-shiner Dick Rowland was accused of assaulting Sarah Page, a 17-year-old white lift operator at the nearby Drexel Building.
The attack on the prosperous black district was carried out on the ground and from private aircraft, destroying more than 35 blocks.
At least 800 black residents required hospital treatment and 6,000 were rounded up and placed in hurriedly erected internment camps.
About 10,000 black people were made homeless as a result of the attacks. More than $1.5 million (£1.1m) in buildings and $750,000 (£530,000) in personal property was destroyed.
Last week the oldest living survivor of the massacre, 107-year-old Viola Fletcher, appeared before Congress to press the case for reparations.
“I will never forget the violence of the white mob when we left our home,” she said. “I still see black men being shot, black bodies lining the street. I still smell smoke and see fire. … I still hear airplanes flying overheard. I hear the screams.”
Last year a lawsuit was filed against the City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and the Oklahoma National Guard, seeking to establish a victims’ compensation fund.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are set to submit a legal response to a motion to dismiss the suit tomorrow.
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