From today, the United States commemorates one of the darkest episodes in its history. 100 Years Ago: On May 31 and June 1, 1921, there was a terrible massacre in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Nearly 300 dead, a whole neighborhood of the black community razed. What happened ?

It started with an incident in an elevator, a supposed incident. A young black American, Dick Rowland, a shoe shiner, is accused of behaving indecently towards a 17-year-old girl. For touching her. In fact, he would have tripped and grabbed her arm. In fact, she never said she was assaulted.

In any case, the young man is arrested. And rumor has it that he could be lynched. Part of the black community flock to the police station. Hearing this, white inhabitants run up. The confrontation is violent: 12 dead including 10 whites.

The response is terrible: the white community, backed by the authorities, attacks the neighborhood of Greenwood, which is called “Black Wall Street”, because a black American bourgeoisie had settled here. The homes and businesses of the black population are destroyed. An outburst of violence that would have caused the death of 300 people. Thousands of people are left homeless.

This massacre, one of the most terrible in American history, was quickly mentioned in the history books. For years in school there was talk of race riots. Now, when teachers talk about it in their class, they make the difference between race riots and massacres.

It became an important event again from 1997, with the creation of a commission to shed light on these events. And many young Americans have in fact discovered this page of their history thanks to a series or sportsmen like Lebron James. For series lovers, the Tulsa massacre is the opening scene of “Watchmen”, which is a series that has won a lot of awards. Where we see the planes launching incendiary bombs. Because we went that far, the local authorities took off planes to bomb the black community.

And at the moment, 2 documentaries covering these events are produced by stars of the NBA: one by Russel Westbrook (Wizards) and another by Lebron James (Lakers).

A concert scheduled to take place today has been canceled for no official reason. In fact, it is said to be linked to disagreements over the amount of reparations paid to the families of the victims: 300 dead, thousands of houses destroyed and no one convicted. The victims were never compensated. Residents want to boycott the museum dedicated to the massacre. Quite worryingly, there are fears of parades and clashes between armed groups: between white extremists and the “new black panthers”. More generally, there are those for whom this massacre should serve as a wake-up call, and would like official apologies. On the other hand, those who say: we have to move forward, there is no point in rehashing the past. We are a year after the murder of George Floyd. There are always racial tensions. The calm is precarious. Joe Biden is due to travel to Tulsa tomorrow. His speech will be eagerly awaited. He will have to find the words to calm the spirits.

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