Black Caucus Member Critical Of Senate's Resolution Commemorating Tulsa Race Massacre

May 26, 2021

Sen. George Young (D-Oklahoma City)

The Oklahoma Senate adopted on Wednesday a four-page resolution commemorating the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Senate Resolution 24 was introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat. 

"I think it’s an important truth that we as Oklahoma leaders need to acknowledge and teach so we don’t repeat history," Treat said.

The resolution also applauds the race massacre centennial commission for demonstrating unity and encourages Oklahomans to visit the Greenwood District.

Sen. George Young (D-Oklahoma City) was critical of the resolution, however, saying it is very different from an eight-page version offered in the House by the Legislative Black Caucus, which he is a member of.

"The 1997 Tulsa Race Riot Commission did a 200-page report that I think accurately looks at a lot of the things that happened that we’re missing in this particular document," Young said.

House Concurrent Resolution 1012 cites the race riot commission’s recommendation of reparations for survivors and their descendants through direct payments, a scholarship fund, economic development assistance and a memorial. It also goes into detail about events leading to the attack on Greenwood and notes it was termed a "riot" so insurers did not have to pay claims.

Young, the only senator to debate on the resolution, also criticized the chamber’s leaders for bringing up the resolution after silence on racist incidents.

"Newkirk, Oklahoma; Norman, Oklahoma; and even Edmond, Oklahoma — we’ve had events that the leadership of this body has not addressed for us, to us, and has not put out anything, and now we’re going to try and say that we support events that are going on in Tulsa, Oklahoma," Young said.

Ku Klux Klan flyers were distributed in Newkirk early this year, while a basketball announcer directed a racial slur at the Norman High girls team and a teacher told an Edmond seventh-grader his "Black King" T-shirt was racist.