In the statement, Biden called on Americans to “reflect on the deep roots of racial terror in our Nation and recommit to the work of rooting out systemic racism across our country.”
“The Federal Government must reckon with and acknowledge the role that it has played in stripping wealth and opportunity from Black communities,” Biden said. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to acknowledging the role Federal policy played in Greenwood and other Black communities and addressing longstanding racial inequities through historic investments in the economic security of children and families.”
Black Wall Street was a thriving community in Tulsa’s Greenwood District in the early 20th century. Business owners, lawyers, and more helped build the area into one of the most prominent neighborhoods in Tulsa.
But during an 18-hour period between May 31 and June 1, 1921, a white mob destroyed approximately 35 square blocks of Greenwood, leaving hundreds of homes, businesses, and churches burned, 300 Black Americans killed, and nearly 10,000 homeless.
“The destruction caused by the mob was followed by laws and policies that made recovery nearly impossible,” Biden continued. “Local ordinances were passed requiring new construction standards that were prohibitively expensive, meaning many Black families could not rebuild. The attack on Black families and Black wealth in Greenwood persisted across generations.”
Biden ended the speech by urging Americans to “celebrate the bravery and resilience of those who survived and sought to rebuild their lives again, and commit together to eradicate systemic racism and help to rebuild communities and lives that have been destroyed by it.”
Read Biden’s full statement here.