OU Hosting Observance of Tulsa Race Massacre 100-Year Anniversary

Mike Seals - September 21, 2020 10:43 pm

NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma will host a curators’ talk, panel discussion and library exhibit – the first in a series of events at OU to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the deadliest acts of anti-Black violence in American history.

Scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, the event will be livestreamed at link.ou.edu/trmdiscussion to accommodate a larger audience due to COVID-19 capacity limitations and safety protocols.

“As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, reflecting on this tragedy and fully understanding our history through ongoing, meaningful dialogue is one of the ways we can work toward building an inclusive culture on our campus and beyond,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr.

The event will feature a livestreamed curators’ talk presented by Mechelle Brown and Karlos K. Hill, who curated Bizzell Memorial Library’s upcoming exhibit From Tragedy to Triumph: Race Massacre Survivor Stories. During the talk, Brown, program coordinator and tour guide at Tulsa’s Greenwood Cultural Center, and Hill, chair of the Clara Luper Department of African and African American Studies at OU, will shed light on the exhibit, which will tell the story of the massacre through a combination of compelling photographs and vivid eyewitness accounts from survivors.

A panel discussion, livestreamed from Bizzell Memorial Library’s Great Reading Room, will provide the community with an opportunity to reflect on the upcoming centennial. The discussion will feature distinguished speakers representing the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, including Oklahoma State Senator and Commission Chair Kevin Matthews, Project Manager Phil Armstrong and Greenwood Rising Founding Director Hannibal B. Johnson. Harroz, along with OU Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Belinda Higgs Hyppolite, will also speak during the event.

Members of the general public are invited to visit the library exhibit, located on the main floor of Bizzell Memorial Library toward the northeast corner, which will open following the panel discussion. The exhibit will be available to tour during the library’s hours of operation. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed.

The Sept. 24 launch event is hosted by the Office of the President; the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Coordinating Committee.

The event is the first of many that will be held throughout the year at OU to commemorate the Tulsa Race Massacre. Additional commemoration projects will include a symposium; presentation by Oklahoma Archeological Survey researchers on their ongoing work on mass graves in Tulsa; a presidential dream course focusing on the literary, media and historical response to the massacre; and more than a dozen courses and other initiatives involving faculty and staff from OU’s Norman, Tulsa and Oklahoma City campuses. For more information about upcoming events, visit ou.edu/tulsa1921.

The OU commemorations of the Tulsa Race Massacre are being coordinated by Drs. Daniel Simon, Karlos Hill and Kalenda Eaton. Activities are financially supported, in part, by a major grant from Oklahoma Humanities and a Faculty Investment Program grant from the OU Research Council and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships.

For more information about the Sept. 24 panel discussion and library exhibit, contact [email protected].


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