The Adventist Church Destroyed in The Tulsa Race Massacre

June 1, 2021, was the 100th anniversary of the horrific Greenwood Massacre. This event involved the attach and fire-bombing a predominately Black section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing many people, and burning down many businesses and homes of the area known as “Black Wall Street.”


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11273
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The description of the event as a “negro riot” at the time appears to indicate that the writer then, as now, vilified the black victims of the horrific massacre.

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Indeed, Hymers, and/or is a proof of powerful propaganda in the public realm.

Incidentally … since the article talks about money so much … any compensation / reparation then or now? THAT would be a sign of governmental acknowledgement of what happened.

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It would indeed be a sign of government commitment to compensation but experience has taught us that governments in the USA and Canada are more interested in cosmetic acts like launching commissions to explore what happened and hardly ever implement their recommendations. So I, for one, am not holding my breath.

Just thinking about the use of the word Massacre in the byline? Is this a historically accurate description? Just asking that’s all.

Massacre - The act or an instance of killing a large number of humans indiscriminately and cruelly.

Around 150-300 people killed indiscriminately and cruelly.

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Let’s dig a little deeper into the use to the term “negro riot” to describe the utter destruction of Greenwood.

It is evident that the incident (probably accidental) that threatened the vigilante execution (lynching) of Black shoe shiner Dick Rowland was minor and utterly disproportionate to death penalty, even if lawfully applied. Then the unexpected use of guns and organization by the Black citizens of Greenwood to prevent the lynching and defend Rowland’s life triggered a primal, tribal and well rehearsed segregationist response among the white citizens of Tulsa that was even more massively disproportionate. This defense is what the white citizens interpreted as a “negro riot”. Most whites actually “saw” a riot where there was no riot.

At the nearby Alamo, a similar defense by whites (though actually less justifiable in the big picture) goes down in lore as the heroic, iconic, foundational myth of Texas.

God bless the Adventist brethren, Black and white, who so nobly demonstrated the love of Jesus in how they responded to this tragedy. I’m looking forward to the “rest of the story”.

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It would be interesting to find out how many white Seventh-day Adventists participated in the Tulsa Race Massacre. SDA churches are like families in which everyone knows what everyone else has done. There may be some recollection on the part of patriarchs and matriarchs in white SDA churches in and around Tulsa about what was said in the aftermath of the Massacre.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Oklahoma remains racially segregated. No one there seems to be embarrassed by this.

Going to Oklahoma and visiting a white SDA church, most likely populated by Donald Trump supporters, is probably very much like attending a KKK meeting. We need more anthropological studies in our faith community. I think a write-up of one’s experiences visiting a white SDA church in Oklahoma or talking to indigent SDAs in Appalachia or spending time with small-town SDA folks in North Dakota would be very interesting to read, just as interesting as Clifford Geertz’s “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight.”

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Does anyone in this blog really think that none of these people who are writing these reports are unaware of the massive execution that took place here? Or are all the good brethren too afraid to mention what actually took place because it would be too unsettling to the “white folks”, who they might be dependent upon to help rebuild the church. And, never mind that mass grave with hundreds of slaughtered souls crying out for justice. All I hear about in this piece is the hardship of loosing a stinking building. How about all the lives that were lost because of this brutal massacre? And why is the Tulsa SDA Churches segregated to this day? What the H is wrong with this denomination anyway?

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Are you really asking if it was a massacre? REALLY?

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An easy deduction to make from the reporting is that the Negro SDAs in Tulsa were not allowed to worship in the white SDA church. The simple Christian gesture of welcoming with open arms the Negro SDAs who had lost their church was unthinkable to the white SDAs. The reporting also indicates that rebuilding the church was at the very bottom of the list of priorities of white SDAs. The Negro SDAs could have what little money was in the Poor Fund and what little money might be raised in a special offering seven months after the Massacre, but that’s all.

The patronizing attitude is so rich. The Negro SDAs are said to be of “good courage,” “quite comfortable,” and that they “rejoice” in having the little ____box that is 20 by 20 in size. It’s like telling the homeless guy collecting money from car drivers who have stopped for the red light, “Hey, you look pretty good. That sleeping bag and shopping cart under the bridge is a real good state of affairs for you. You must be rejoicing at your good fortune.”

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Thank you to Greg Hudson for his effort to help us process the world in which this tragedy occurred in Tulsa.

This piece invites one to imagine that there could be several similar “history rabbit holes” just waiting to be explored. What did the Adventist Church discuss in the time around the Selma March? What did the Adventist Church write about during Waco Tragedy? It would seem that Adventists are mainly concerned about Adventists, missing opportunities to connect our lives bigger forces for good around us. I’d like to see us aim for a bigger vision of God’s Kingdom Work.

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Phil,
I don’t disagree with you but…what about the mass slaughter? Doesn’t the whole concept of having a place to worship should take second place to the fact that hundreds of innocent people were killed and an entire town burned to the ground because an angry white mob came in and slaughtered these people with impunity. The entire attention of our church seems to be focused on building a church, not the genocide that took place.

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Really truly as in yes.

Are you sure of that number 150-300? Around? Perhaps more investigation is needed before we draw conclusions.

Sure…let’s “WHITE” wash this further. When you don’t want to admit something, then you study it. What does it matter if there were 50 or 500. The fact that a whole town was burned down and many many people were slaughtered, it matters not what the numbers are. Even one is too many.

Please, everyone, get your priorities straight. Many people died. You can rebuild a church but you will never be able to bring them back to life. Focus people, focus.

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It’s an estimate of the number of people who died, there are several reports that give different estimates. However, the number is certainly high. In 1921 the Tusla Tribune initially gave a figure of 9 white deaths and 36 black deaths, they later revised the figure to 176 deaths.

The indiscriminate killing of people was followed by arson, as a result some bodies must have been burnt in the fire. Even if you were present a day after the killings, determining the exact number of death would have been an impossible task using 1921 technology. You cannot get an exact number.

Other factors may also hinder the authorities from getting an exact number, for example in recent genocides and massacres some people hurriedly bury their loved ones in shallow graves before escaping to safety and dogs and wild animals ate the dead bodies before they were found, counted and burried.

Many innocent people died, that’s what matters.

I agree there is probably no way there will be an accurate number. I certainly abhor the loss of innocent life and the wanton destruction of property (certainly mirrors the summer of 2020) or January 6th to a lesser degree. My point is simply, accuracy builds a better look at history.

Our divisions aren’t restricted to racial divisions. I was at church with a friend from Northern Ireland who had never heard of SDA’s - it was a good visit until he was asked by an Irish member whether he supported/was a member of the Ulster Defense League (the militant anti-catholic force). No, he answered quietly, and they just stared at him (he’s Roman Catholic). I later found that SDA’s in his region couldn’t mix with Them, and actively worked against Them. The sadness goes on…

There is no comparison between the victims of this race massacre and the homeless guy, who often makes a comfortable living and doesn’t want to get off the street.