Primary Source: Tulsa Race Riots Investigation Concludes (The Nation, August 10, 1921)

From “Editorial Paragraphs” - The Nation (August 10, 1921) {Slightly Edited for Classroom Use}

The final report of the grand jury investigating the Tulsa riots is just what might have been expected. It found that the Negroes were responsible for the riot; that an armed band of Negroes marched to the defense of Dick Rowland, a Negro who, they feared, might be lynched, when no attempt whatever had been made to lynch him—there being, of course, no precedent for such a thing! The report goes on to say that the large crowd of whites whom the Negroes found surrounding the jail were a peaceful crowd and that though they took part in the general melee that followed they were not to blame. 

The report does not quite say that the Negroes set the torch to their own homes or that certain of them were so foolish as to commit suicide in the hope of being immortalized as race riot victims. But it does decide the underlying cause of the affair was the growth of a desire for social equality among the Negroes—and doubtless, also, the fact that many of them had accumulated fortunes quite too pretentious for their race and station. While finding that the police had not properly enforced the law, the report refused to blame the sheriff for the riot.

Is it any wonder that the Negroes are quietly removing themselves and their bank accounts from the neighborhood of Tulsa? And should Tulsa expect much sympathy when it complains as it does of this financial loss to the community? For our part we wish that the Negroes had sufficient racial solidarity to make it certain that no Negro would stay for one minute within the confines of the most disgraced of our cities in 1921.

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