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Photograph of Jeffery Robinson at The Town Hall in New York City (Photo by Maddy Miller)
- Event to re-examine America’s 400-year history of White supremacy at the historic Black Wall Street/Greenwood District church in Tulsa, Oklahoma
- ACLU’s Jeffery Robinson to Lead Live, Interactive Program at Tulsa’s Historic Vernon AME Church.
Published 12/05/2019 | Reading Time 2 min 20 sec
TULSA, Okla. – In partnership with the Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church, Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, Terence Crutcher Foundation, Still She Rises, and the ACLU of Oklahoma, Jeffery Robinson, Deputy Legal Director and the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Trone Center for Justice and Equality, will re-examine America’s 400 year history of white supremacy in Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, a live, interactive program on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 4PM at the Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church.
Jeffery Robinson’s renowned history and justice lecture, Who We Are, will lay bare centuries of stolen history and spotlight our shared responsibility to reckon with America’s racial past to create a better present and future.
“This conversation will not be easy or comfortable, but it is a necessary one that will show us how the legacy of slavery and U.S. imperialism impacts every aspect of our society today,” said Jeffery Robinson, Deputy Legal Director and the Director of the ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality. “We are at a tipping point in this country and the walls that we’ve built between each other based on race, based on wealth, are not high enough to keep the tide back. And if we don’t deal with this, it will tear us apart.”
Weaving heartbreak, humor, passion, and rage, ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeffery Robinson shows us how the legacy of slavery impacts every aspect of our society. The history Robinson imparts is not easy. It is not comfortable. But it is necessary. In the end, Robinson’s words are a call to arms. He empowers his audience to change the future, leaving them with a sense of optimism about what America could look like if we have the courage to change it.
Tulsa’s recent and distant past play a critical role in Robinson’s talk. From the 1921 massacre in Greenwood to the 2016 murder of Terence Crutcher, what has happened and continues to happen in Tulsa is a microcosm of the challenges we face across America.
Photograph of the Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church (Photo by Nehemiah D. Frank)
The original Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church was destroyed during the 1921 Greenwood massacre, along with nearly the entire district. Starting on May 31, 1921, a white mob burned hundreds of black-owned businesses and homes. Historians believe as many as 300 black people were killed and 10,000 were left homeless. Witnesses recounted seeing men, women, and children shot, some while trying to escape burning houses. The Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church was reconstructed in 1928, just seven years after the massacre, and is considered symbolic by many for the resilience of black Tulsans and the Greenwood community.
Jeffery Robinson is honored to be giving his presentation to the Tulsa community on such hallowed ground. Members of the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission will be present along with family members of Terence Crutcher.
A version of Robinson’s Who We Are presentation, given in NYC on Juneteenth, 2018, is part of a forthcoming documentary by the same name. Robinson is will be in Tulsa, from Friday, December 6 through Monday, December 9, with his documentary team meeting with local leaders and community members to learn about Tulsa’s history and the efforts to determine the locations of mass graves from the 1921 massacre. The documentary will be released in Fall 2020 and is being produced by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler of Off Center Media.
More info can be found on the film’s website, https://thewhoweareproject.org/home.