Photo Courtesy of EJI
National Organization Announces Historical Marker and High School Essay Contest as Part of Campaign to Memorialize History of Lynching in Tulsa County
TULSA, OK – In its short history, Oklahoma has bore witness to some of the most horrific acts of racial terror in the United States, including the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre when white mobsters and klansmen destroyed the thriving Greenwood neighborhood and lynched hundreds of Black citizens. Our disturbing past cannot be hidden; it must be faced head-on.
The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, AL, in partnership with the Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition is working to ensure that our history is memorialized. In September of 2019, The Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition will be unveiling the first historical marker specifically purposed to tell the story of racial terror in Tulsa. The marker, placed on the property of Vernon AME Church in historic Greenwood, will be unveiled in a ceremony this fall honoring the power and spirit of Black Wall Street and memorializing the catastrophe that destroyed it.
As a part of this ceremony, EJI will be hosting an essay contest for all Tulsa county high school students. The winner of the essay contest will be invited to share their essay at the ceremony in September alongside community leaders and EJI officials.
Essays will be open beginning in May, with submissions accepted through the middle of the summer. Any public high school student enrolled at the end of the 2018-2019 school year is eligible to enter. Essays will be judged by staff at the Equal Justice Initiative and scholarships will be awarded to students who write the top essays. Additional details about the essay contest will be provided to local school and district officials in the coming days.
We believe deeply in sharing the stories of our painful past that so often go untold, because it is only by facing our truth that we are able to make progress toward justice and true reconciliation. We are excited about and inspired by the opportunity we have to engage our bold and brilliant students in commemorating and shaping our history, together.