Lessie Benningfield Randle, 106, can still remember a house engulfed in flames and bodies stacked in truckbeds – horrors that 100 years later led to a pledge by President Joe Biden to work for racial justice.
“I was quite a little kid but I remember running and the soldiers were coming in,” Randle said in an interview with Reuters as her hometown of Tulsa prepared to mark one of the darkest chapters in its history.
Monday was the centenary of a massacre targeting Tulsa’s prosperous African-American community in the district of Greenwood that bore the nickname Black Wall Street.
After a Black man was accused of assaulting a white woman, an allegation that was never proven, white rioters gunned down Blacks, looted homes and set fire to buildings block by block. More than 1,000 buildings were destroyed.
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