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The Tulsa Riot

The Tulsa Riot

(p.56) Chapter IV The Tulsa Riot
Anatomy of Four Race Riots
Lee E. WilliamsLee E. Williams
University Press of Mississippi

In May 1921, a racial riot erupted due to a distorted and exaggerated report of a white woman employed as an elevator operator. At the time of the rioting, Tulsa was a boom town languishing in crime and corruption. Criminal acts were common, and both blacks and whites showed little respect for the law. The Tulsa riot was triggered by an incident involving Sarah Page, a white woman who was working as an elevator operator, and Dick Rowland, a black teen whom she accused of criminally assaulting her. In truth, Rowland, a bootblack by trade, accidentally stepped on Page’s foot. She slapped him and he retaliated by grabbing her before fleeing. The Tulsa Tribune, a daily newspaper, printed the story of alleged assault. This chapter examines the Tulsa riot and its aftermath.

Keywords:   riot, Tulsa, crime, corruption, blacks, whites, Sarah Page, Dick Rowland, Tulsa Tribune

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