Descendants of the Tulsa Race Massacre, which was shrouded in secrecy for decades, are still seeking justice 100 years later and calling for reparations.
Pressure has grown on Capitol Hill to deliver justice to these victims. Earlier this month, a 107-year-old survivor of the massacre, Viola Fletcher, testified before Congress and called for justice and for the country to officially acknowledge the massacre.
“I am 107 years old and have never seen justice. I pray that one day I will,” Fletcher told lawmakers. Fletcher was seven years old when she witnessed the massacre.
President Biden’s trip today is on the same day the city of Tulsa will begin exhuming bodies possibly linked to the massacre. On Tuesday morning, experts led in part by the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey will begin mapping and prepping the site located in Oaklawn Cemetery.
Today, Greenwood is a fraction of the size it was before the massacre. The wealthy neighborhood was never fully rebuilt and its descendants say the area never fully recovered.
In his proclamation on Monday, the President said that the laws and policies passed in the wake of the massacre made the neighborhood’s recovery nearly impossible. He said the federal government needs to “acknowledge the role that it has played in stripping wealth and opportunity from Black communities.”
He reaffirmed his commitment to address systemic racism in America, “to advance racial justice through the whole of our government, and working to root out systemic racism from our laws, our policies, and our hearts.”
The President said his administration is addressing longstanding racial inequalities by investing in programs to provide capital to small businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, and ensuring that infrastructure projects advance racial equity and environmental justice.
In addition to the American Jobs Plan, Biden has proposed the American Families Plan, which would invest heavily in education, paid leave and child care.