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NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. — Nehemiah D. Frank, the editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times and National Parent Union founding delegate delivered a powerful speech at the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Frank is also a descendant of a family who survived the massacre and lost wealth.
“Imagine a time when my family and community faced unimaginable horrors. Bullets rained down upon us as a seething White mob, numbering in the thousands, sought to unleash their anger. When the gunfire ceased, our homes and businesses were looted and set ablaze. As the smoke cleared, a momentary relief washed over us, only to be shattered by the sight of planes dropping bombs from above. Our promised land became an inferno,” Frank explained to the United Nations General Assembly about the race massacre that had occurred in his city.
“It’s crucial to understand that we were only two generations removed from the shackles of institutional slavery. In just 18 hours, racial hatred destroyed what had taken 56 years to build. We found ourselves back at square one, stripped of our generational wealth, starting anew.”
Frank highlighted the pressing need to support Black Americans and their allies in their struggle against the censorship of Black history in schools.
“For decades, the massacre was concealed, driven by white fragility that prevented its teaching in schools. While White children escaped the burden of collective guilt, Black children were denied the opportunity to learn about their cultural excellence,” he pointedly remarked about the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Frank appealed to the international community to join the fight against the censorship of Black history in American schools, urging them to pressure the U.S. government to protect every child’s right to an education that is inclusive and reflective of their history.
“It is my hope that the nations of the world and those in this Forum will exert pressure on our government to fight harder for our children’s right to learn, to be represented in the pages of history,” he appealed to the heads of nations represented and to those attending the Permanent Forum for People of African Descent.
“Let us ensure that the story of Greenwood and the triumphs of Black communities are not erased nor forgotten,” he added.
Frank’s passionate speech about the Tulsa Race Massacre and call for the end to book bans in the U.S. received a standing ovation from several heads of state and those participating in the Forum.
PEN America has reported a notable increase in individual book bans within the United States, with 1,477 instances recorded, marking a 28 percent rise compared to the previous six-month period of January to June 2022.
It’s important to note that while there is no federal ban on books, these instances signify a concerning effort to suppress Black history and marginalized experiences in schools which may lead to stigma and social tension.