Current Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Chief Chuck Jordan apologized for his department’s inactions over 90 years ago in the attack on the “Black Wall Street.”
“As your chief today, I can apologize for our police department. I am sorry and distressed that the Tulsa Police Department did not protect its citizens during those tragic days in 1921,” said Jordan at an event held at John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park.
Jordan spoke at a Greenwood District event that was intended to spread cultural awareness of historical events, as we all promote entrepreneurship.
“I cannot apologize for the actions, inaction and dereliction that those individual officers and their chief exhibited during that dark time,” he added, according to BreakingBrown.com.
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That dark time Jordan was referring to was the 1921 race riot where whites attacked blacks living in the Greenwood area, which was known as “Black Wall Street,” the wealthiest black city in the United States. An estimated 10,000 blacks were left homeless and 35 blocks were burned to the ground.
Tulsa police were said to have helped set fire to the property of blacks in that area.
African Americans in need of medical attention could not get any because the black hospital was burned and destroyed during the riot.
The attack happened after a black teen’s alleged assault of a white female, but even white attorneys did not buy the story.
However, the area known as Black Wall Street saw its theaters, grocery stores and independent newspapers torched by angry white mobs anyway.
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At Saturday’s event, Chief Jordan said he believes an apology would bring healing.
“I have heard things said like ‘well, that was a different time,’” he said. “That excuse does not hold water with me.”