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Biden: 'Literal Hell Was Unleashed' in Tulsa

He marks 100th anniversary of race massacre
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 1, 2021 4:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – An emotional President Biden marked the 100th anniversary of the massacre that destroyed a thriving Black community in Tulsa, declaring Tuesday that he had "come to fill the silence" about one of the nation’s darkest—and long suppressed—moments of racial violence. "Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous, they cannot be buried, no matter how hard people try. Only with truth can come healing, " Biden said, per the AP. "Just because history is silent, it does not mean that it did not take place," Biden said. He said that "hell was unleashed. Literal hell was unleashed" as a white mob killed hundreds of Black people. And now, he said, the nation must come to grips with the following sin of denial. Great nations, he said, "come to terms with their dark sides."

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"We can’t just choose what we want to know, and not what we should know," said Biden. "I come here to help fill the silence, because in silence wounds deepen." In 1921—on May 31 and June 1—a white mob, including some people hastily deputized by authorities, looted and burned Tulsa's Greenwood district, which was known as “Black Wall Street." As many as 300 Black Tulsans were killed, and thousands of survivors were forced for a time into internment camps overseen by the National Guard. On Tuesday, the president, joined by top Black advisers, met privately with three surviving members of the Greenwood community who lived through the violence, all between the ages of 101 and 107, the White House said.

(Read more Tulsa stories.)

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