S.C.R. NO.



S.D. 1














     WHEREAS, in the late 1800s, an incredible number of Americans of African descent (African Americans) began to move away from Southern states to escape the region's systemic lack of opportunity; and


     WHEREAS, Tulsa County in Oklahoma, which reveled in economic success under its title the "Oil Capital of the World," was an attractive destination for people seeking opportunities; and


     WHEREAS, in the early 1900s, due to the passage of Jim Crow laws (or racial segregation laws) after the Reconstruction Act of 1867, many Americans continued to believe and support the ideas of white supremacy and thus, racial segregation and oppression continued largely unabated after the Civil War; and


     WHEREAS, violent crimes such as lynching, which went unchecked by the justice system, were committed to enforce racial segregation and instill terror in the African American population; and


     WHEREAS, pursuant to Jim Crow laws passed by the State of Oklahoma and Tulsa County, the African Americans in Tulsa were confined to the "Greenwood District", which they subsequently developed into a nationally-renowned entrepreneurial center known as the "Black Wall Street", with over ten thousand residents by 1920; and


     WHEREAS, on May 30, 1921, Dick Roland, a nineteen year old African American man, was alleged to have assaulted a white teenaged girl under dubious circumstances, and propelled by the sensational reporting by a local newspaper, the brewing resentment amongst white Americans against the rising wealth and success of African Americans, and a racially hostile climate in general, white residents then instigated calls for the man's lynching; and


     WHEREAS, on May 31, 1921, hundreds of white men having the makings of a lynch mob congregated near the Tulsa County Courthouse where Dick Roland was being held and demanded that he be turned over to them; and


     WHEREAS, the arrival of a small group of armed African American residents who came to the Courthouse to ensure Mr. Roland's safety was interpreted by the white residents as a "Negro uprising"; and


     WHEREAS, from May 31 to June 1, 1921, thousands of weapon‑wielding white persons invaded the Greenwood District and decimated the African American community in what is now known as the "Tulsa Race Massacre"; and


     WHEREAS, the local officials not only failed to take actions to calm or contain the violence but aggravated it by providing firearms and ammunition to and deputizing hundreds of white men from the crowd that gathered as a potential lynch mob, who in that capacity engaged in overt and often illegal acts that destroyed the Greenwood community; and


     WHEREAS, the white mob indiscriminately killed numerous African American residents and looted, damaged, deliberately burned, or otherwise destroyed an estimated 1,256 homes, as well as virtually every other structure in the Greenwood District including churches, schools, businesses, the library, and the only hospital; and


     WHEREAS, under martial law declared by the Governor of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma National Guard arrested the remaining 6,000 residents of Greenwood, detained them in internment camps, forced them to into labor, and refused to release them until a white person applied for their release and vouched for their subsequent behavior; and


     WHEREAS, in a period of less than twenty-four hours, the white mob's violence led to the destruction of thirty-five square blocks of the Greenwood District, deaths of an estimated three hundred people, injuries of over eight hundred people, property damage of over $2,000,000, and nearly ten thousand homeless African American Greenwood residents; and


     WHEREAS, local officials actively impeded the African American Tulsans' effort to rebuild their community by refusing support for reconstruction from other cities and imposing a restrictive fire code that made rebuilding too expensive for most residents; and


     WHEREAS, none of the state and local officials nor white residents who participated in the massacre were held accountable for their acts of violence or contributions thereto, as the officials advanced a narrative that attributed the massacre to Greenwood residents, which induced the all-white grand jury to conclude that the African Americans caused the violence and the attorney for the state gave immunity to all white persons who looted the homes of or murdered African Americans; and


     WHEREAS, for decades, the terror, violence, and losses of the massacre was largely omitted from local, state, and national histories until the Oklahoma State Legislature created a commission in 1997 to study the event; and


     WHEREAS, on February 28, 2001, the commission issued a report that set forth a historical record of the massacre and recommended that reparations be made to the identified survivors and their descendants; and


     WHEREAS, despite the commission's recommendation, reparations to the survivors of the massacre and their descendants have not been made; and


     WHEREAS, the issues of systemic racism, police brutality, and racially motivated violence and human rights violations against Black people continue to exist in the United States; and


     WHEREAS, the year 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre; and


     WHEREAS, in July 2020, resolutions to recognize the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre were introduced in both chambers of the United State Congress but neither received a vote; and


     WHEREAS, On March 10, 2021, resolutions to recognize the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre were again introduced in both chambers of the United States Congress, as S.Res. 104 in the United States Senate, sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Warren and twenty-five cosponsors, and H.Res. 205 in the United States House of Representatives, sponsored by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and ninety-three cosponsors; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Legislature acknowledges the forthcoming centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this body acknowledges the historical significance of this event not only to honor the lives and legacies of the African Americans killed during the massacre and those who were left to suffer from the loss of their homes and livelihoods, but also to condemn the continued legacy of racism; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the members of the United States Congress are requested to take action to advance S.Res. 104 and H.Res. 215; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, members of Hawaii's congressional delegation, Governor, Governor of Oklahoma, Mayor of the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the nine Councilors of the Tulsa City Council, and Chairperson of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.

Report Title: 

Tulsa Race Massacre