BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — With Black History Month comes a time to reflect on the history and triumphs of those within the Black community.
“A well off segregated Black community was thriving, [and] was essentially wiped off the face of the earth in the span of 48 hours and then wiped from the history books,” said Dr. Tracey Salisbury, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at CSUB.
What Dr. Salisbury is referring to is the Tulsa Race Massacre.
On May 30, 1921, a young Black man named Dick Rowland was riding the elevator in the Greenwood District with a white woman named Sarah Page.
According to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, Rowland was arrested.
On May 31, the Tulsa Tribune released an inflammatory report which caused a confrontation between Black and white-armed mobs near the courthouse, causing the outnumbered African Americans to retreat to the Greenwood District.
By June 1, Greenwood was looted and burned down by white rioters.
“There was no normal to go back to it. [It] was gone, if you see the pictures, the photographs, it looked like it had been bombed and essentially it had.”
One message Dr. Salisbury wanted to drive home is that previously the Tulsa Massacre numbers had been watered down, stating around 36 people had died. But according to her and the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, that number is closer to 300 people.
“You destroyed that generational wealth down there in Tulsa and the descendants, because I believe there are still four people who are over 100 years old who were alive then with children, they talk about how it’s taken a lifetime for their families to earn that money back.”
Dr. Salsbury said that is what Black Americans are facing now in 2022, that it's going to take a lifetime to learn the power of the Black dollar.