U.S. President Biden stresses need to confront extremism and hatred on 100-year anniversary of Tulsa Race Massacre

TULSA, Oklahoma, U.S. — In a speech delivered on Tuesday in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma marking the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, U.S. President Joe Biden stated that the white supremacy movement, not the Islamic State (ISIS), Al-Qaeda, or other religious extremists, constitutes the greatest terrorist threat in the country.

“As I said in my address to the joint session of Congress, according to the intelligence community, terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today, not Isis, not Al-Qaeda, white supremacists,” said President Biden.

Biden instructed his administration to intensify the fight against domestic extremism, track and hold extremists accountable, as well as conduct a comprehensive assessment of the risks posed by this phenomenon.

In 1921 — on 31 May and 1 June — a white mob, including some people hastily deputized by authorities, looted and burned Tulsa’s Greenwood district, which was referred to 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. Burned bricks and a fragment of a church basement are about all that survive today of the more than 30-block historically Black district.

In his speech, Biden stated that the hate that has permeated much of American history must be addressed:

“We must address what remains the stain on the soul of America. What happened in Greenwood was an act of hate and domestic terrorism with a through line that exists today still. Just close your eyes, remember what you saw in Charlottesville four years ago on television. Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the KKK coming out of those fields at night with lighted torches, the veins bulging as they were screaming. Remember? Just close your eyes and picture what it was. Well, Mother Fletcher said, when she saw the insurrection at the capital on January 9th, it broke her heart. A mob of violent white extremists, thugs, said reminded her of what happened in Greenwood 100 years ago. Look around at the various hate crimes against Asian Americans and Jewish Americans. Hate that never goes away. Hate only hides.”