POTUS Commemorates Tulsa Race Massacre: ‘Great Nations Come to Terms With Their Dark Sides’
President Joe Biden on Tuesday became the first sitting commander in chief to travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in which at least 300 Black residents were killed when a white mob burned down 30 blocks of the Greenwood District, known back then as “Black Wall Street.”
“Hell was unleashed. Literal hell was unleashed,” Biden said in a powerful speech. “My fellow Americans, this was not a riot — this was a massacre.”
CBS News noted that “roughly 300 Black-owned businesses were destroyed, and Black homeowners and business owners received no aid from the local government. Their insurance claims were also denied.”
Biden stressed that the public must to come to terms with the country’s sins of the past so that a brighter future for everyone can finally be realized.
“Millions of white Americans belong to the [Ku Klux] Klan and they weren’t even embarrassed by it. They were proud of it, and that hate became embedded systematically and systemically in our laws and our culture,” Biden said of the perpetrators, who were never made to face justice for their historically heinous crimes.
“We do ourselves no favors by pretending none of this ever happened or doesn’t impact us today because it does still impact us today. We can’t just choose to learn what we want to know, and not what we should know,” Biden continued as the audience erupted into thunderous applause.
“We should know the good, the bad, everything. That’s what great nations do. They come to terms with their dark sides. And we’re a great nation. They only way to build a common ground is to truly repair and rebuild. I’ve come here to help fill the silence. Because in silence, wounds deepen, and only, as painful as it is, only in remembrance do wounds heal. We just have to choose to remember,” said Biden.
“For much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness. But just because history is silent, it doesn’t mean that it did not take place. And while darkness can hid much, it erases nothing. It erases nothing. Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous, they can’t be buried, no matter how hard people try,” Biden added.
Watch below via CBS News:
President Biden: "We can't just choose to learn what we want to know, and not what we should know. We should know the good, the bad, everything. That's what great nations do. They come to terms with their dark sides. And we're a great nation." https://t.co/0kXzNfudf0 pic.twitter.com/GGtUboOldP
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 1, 2021