5 Facts About the Tulsa Race Massacre

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

During an 18-hour period between May 31 and June 1, 1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma, became the setting of one of the most devastating racial massacres to happen on U.S. soil. The Tulsa Race Massacre killed dozens, if not hundreds, of people, and left a permanent scar on one the most vibrant Black communities in America.

Despite the impact of the event, it's still omitted from textbooks today. Here are some facts you should know about the Tulsa Race Massacre.

1. Tulsa’s African-American business district was known as “Black wall Street.”

In early 1921, Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood was home to the majority of the city's 10,000 Black residents, making it the second-largest African-American community in Oklahoma. It was also one of America’s wealthiest Black neighborhoods at the time. It boasted a library branch, two newspapers, and a prosperous business district dubbed “Black Wall Street.”

2. There’s some confusion over what sparked the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Though Tulsa was an affluent town, it was embroiled in crime and racial tensions. White mobs were known to lynch people they suspected of crimes in the name of vigilante justice, and the police did little to stop them. These lynch mobs barely needed a reason to launch a crusade if their target was Black.

On May 31, 1921, a Black teenager named Dick Rowland was arrested following an incident that occurred in the Drexel Building on South Main Street the previous day. After he entered the elevator of the office building, the elevator operator—a white woman named Sarah Page—screamed, and Rowland fled. While it was this incident that sparked the Tulsa Race Massacre, it's not exactly clear what transpired between Rowland and Page. The most common story is that Rowland stepped on Page's foot, causing her to yelp in pain. But the Tulsa Tribune had a different story; it reported that Rowland had tried to rape Page, and a mob of angry white residents showed up at the courthouse demanding the police hand him over.

3. It's unclear just how many people were killed during the Tulsa Race Massacre, but it's one of America's most deadly incidents of racial violence.

Law enforcement refused to release Rowland to the mob, but the crowd didn’t disperse. A group of armed Black men showed up at the courthouse to offer the police their support in protecting Rowland. Tensions rose between the two groups and shots were fired, kicking off a riot that would last for approximately 18 hours, until June 1.

The mob of hundreds of angry white Tulsans infiltrated Greenwood, where they looted and burned homes and businesses and attacked unarmed residents. More than 1200 houses and buildings were burned, including a school, a library, a hospital, churches, and both of Greenwood's newspapers. Between 50 and 300 people were likely killed in the massacre, making it one of the deadliest incidents of racial violence in U.S. history.

4. Police may have encouraged violence during the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Tulsa police weren’t able to control the riot, and they may have even helped fuel it. According to an eyewitness account, the authorities armed and deputized white members of the mob and used racial slurs when encouraging them to go after Black Tulsans. When the National Guard eventually arrived to stop the violence, they mainly focused on protecting a white neighborhood from imaginary threats instead of attending to the Black neighborhood that was on fire.

5. There was an effort to erase the Tulsa Race Massacre from history.

The Tulsa Race Massacre is missing from many school curriculums and history books today. That’s because in the years that followed, there was a concerted effort to suppress the story. The Tulsa Tribune article accusing Dick Rowland of assault, which originally ran as a front-page story, was removed from bound volumes of the paper, and accounts of the incident were wiped from police and state militia archives. In the decades after the massacre, there were no public memorials or other events commemorating it.

It wasn't until 1997—a full 76 years after the event—that the government formed an official Race Riot Commission to investigate the details of the Tulsa Race Massacre. In 2020, just one year away from the 100-year anniversary, an extensive curriculum on the massacre was finally provided to Oklahoma school districts.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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Why Do We Have Daylight Saving Time?

Patrick Daxenbichler/iStock via Getty Images
Patrick Daxenbichler/iStock via Getty Images

As you drag your time-confused body out of bed at what seems like a shockingly late hour next week, you might find yourself wondering why on Earth we even have Daylight Saving Time.

Though Benjamin Franklin was mostly joking when he suggested it as a money-saving tactic in a satirical essay from 1784, others who later proposed the idea were totally serious. In 1895, entomologist George Vernon Hudson pitched it to the Royal Society in New Zealand as a way to prolong daylight for bug-hunting purposes, and William Willett spent the early 1900s lobbying British Parliament to adopt an 80-minute time jump in April; neither man was successful.

During World War I, however, the need to conserve energy—which, at the time, chiefly came from coal—increased, and Germany was the first to give Daylight Saving Time the green light in 1916. Britain and other European countries quickly followed suit, and the U.S. entered the game in 1918. The practice was dropped almost everywhere after the war, but it was widely resurrected just a few decades later during World War II.

After that war ended, the U.S. abandoned DST yet again—sort of. Without any official legislation, the country devolved into a jumble of conflicting practices. According to History.com, Iowa had 23 different pairs of start and end dates for DST in 1965, while other areas of the country didn’t observe DST at all.

In 1966, Congress put an end to the chaos by passing the Uniform Time Act, which specified that DST would begin at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in April, and end at the same time on the last Sunday in October. (The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended DST by shifting these dates to the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November.) It didn’t require that all states and territories actually observe DST, and some of them didn’t—Arizona and Hawaii still don’t.

Throughout its long, lurching history, the supposed merits of Daylight Saving Time have always been about cutting down on electricity usage and conserving energy in general. But, as Live Science reports, experts disagree on whether this actually works. Some studies suggest that while the extra daylight hour might decrease lighting-related electricity use, it also means people could be keeping their air conditioners running for long enough that it increases the overall usage of electricity.

If your extended night’s sleep seems to have left you with a little extra time on your hands, see how DST affects your part of the country here.

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