A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
They Dropped a bomb on me!!!!
Editor’s note: This article first appeared on BASN on June 4, 2012. But it is worthy to be printed every year as a constant reminder of what happened on May 31, 1921.
NORTH CAROLINA (BASN)—As we watch in amazement, Kevin Durant, the new version of “The Ice Man” (George Gervin), effortlessly sling up another long distance three pointer or fearlessly “finger-rolls” a lay-up over the extended hand of Tim Duncan, we must remember what happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1, 1921.
As we marvel at the quickness and explosiveness of the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, weaving between defenders and gliding down the lane for a monstrous dunk, we must remember what happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1, 1921.
As we celebrate the craftiness and basketball savvy of “The Bearded One” James Harden, we must remember what happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 31, 1921.
Yes, we must remember what happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1, 1921 as the Oklahoma Thunder miraculously bounce back from a two game deficit in order to tie up the series (2-2) against the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Western Conference Finals, the same way we have been told in history class to “Remember the Alamo.”
Matter of fact, it should be mandatory for all NBA players to read up on and study what occurred on June 1,1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma the same way it is mandatory for all Thunder players to attend the Alfred P.Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, which was bombed by domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh on April 19,1995.
Why? Because on June 1, 1921, an entire Black community was wiped off the face of the earth by a jealous white lynch mob of Ku Klux Klan members, high ranking city officials and envious symphatizers, who stood along the border of town and shamelessly watched as Black people, were killed on sight.
According to some historians, 35 people lost their lives in this massacre. But evidence later, sadly suggest, after an extensive investigation, that at least 300 African -Americans were killed on that fatal day and over 600 successful businesses were lost. This included 21 churches,21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores, two movie theaters plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, jewelry stores, pawn shops, libraries, schools, law offices, a half dozen private airplanes and even a bus System.
All of this destruction and devastation, according to several reports was sparked by a fabricated editorial printed in the Tulsa Tribune entitled “Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator,” which claimed that a Black man named Dick Rowland had raped a white woman named Sarah Page in an elevator downtown, which was absolutely false.
This incident, unfortunately, enflamed the Ku Klux Klan, which had been recruiting ex-veterans that fought in World War I, who had come home to joblessness and despair. Along with their frustration for being unemployed, they were influenced heavily by the epic 1915 film The Birth of a Nation by D.W.Griffin.
All of these things influenced an angry white mob, who had become increasing envious of the Black wealth being displayed in the all-Black business district known as “Black Wall Street,” to seek vigilante justice with guns collected from WWI to use this fabricated rape story as an scapegoat to kill, loot, and burn down one of the most prosperous Black business community in the history of the United States.
This striving business district known as Black Wall Street or “Little Africa,” which many considered a mini Beverly Hills in its time, due to the fact that, the money earned in this self-sustained community circulated up to 36 to 100 times before it left.
The main section of this self-contained community known as “Black Wall Street” was Greenwood Avenue. Greenwood Avenue was intersected by Archer and Pine Streets, which is where the acronym G.A.P was created. The name G.A.P eventually became the name of the famous R and B music group the GAP Band, which featured the legendary Charlie Wilson and his two brothers Lonnie Simmons and Rudy Taylor, who are all from Tulsa.
The GAP band, in fact, referenced the murder and mayhem that took place in Tulsa in their 1982 hit single entitled “Drop the Bomb,” with lyrics that sounded like this…
You dropped a bomb on me, baby You dropped a bomb on me You dropped a bomb on me, baby You dropped a bomb on me I-I-I I-I-I won’t forget it I-I-I I-I-I won’t forget it.
The “You dropped a bomb on me” lyrics referred to the allegation from several survivors that airplanes were used to drop bombs on their booming Black business community.
Along with this aeriel attack from the sky, the National Guard was also called in and mounted two machine guns and fired into the area.
Despite 24 hours of chaos and violence, in which Black people were killed and had “their bodies crudely buried in mass graves, stuffed in coal mines and tossed into the Arkansas River,” this event is barely mentioned in the history books and is absent from most of the conversation surrounding the state of Oklahoma.
With that said, while we are currently “occupied with Wall Street,” let’s remember what took place on Black Wall Street.
In other words, during these NBA Playoffs, as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Heard, Kendrick Perkins, and Serge Ibaka try to bring a NBA Championship to the city of Oklahoma and Kenny Smith, Shaq, and Charles Barkley attempt to break down the games on TNT, let’s take a little time to remember what took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1, 1921.
Because, I know I won’t forget it.
Why? Because, “They Dropped a Bomb on Me, Baby.”