The Oklahoma Eagle Editorial


When Art Says To Be Quiet

Passions are sure to run deep and wide in the coming months as Tulsa prepares to recognize the 100-year anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Not all those feelings are going to be positive, and it appears some will not be heard at all.

New York composer Daniel Roumain was commissioned to contribute for mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, one of four libretti for “Greenwood Overcomes” an opera scheduled in time for the many events set in May 2021. Graves apparently was not happy about the final line “God Bless America; God Damn America” and Tulsa Opera brass wanted the words removed. Roumain refused to delete the line. Not certain in what exact context the line is used; however, if it is in response to being slaughtered in the streets, being bombed, the city torched and houses burned, then a negative response to the raw events might be in order. More importantly, the anger would be understood even if it is inappropriate and unpatriotic. Interesting, news coverage of the firing did not mention Roumain said “God Bless America” first before damning the nation after the worst race massacre in United States history.

In the end, Roumain was fired and will be paid his fee. He still owns the unheard piece and can produce it anywhere he wants. Perhaps he can show it outside on Greenwood and add the firing to the end.

Tulsa is dropping the ball in recognizing the sad recognition of our cities most tragic day. The city is falling back on silence during the most uncomfortable moments instead of taking responsibility.

Race Massacre Grave Panel Moves To Proceed With Oaklawn Excavation

Plans are set to proceed with a full excavation and analysis of the Original 18 site at Oaklawn Cemetery this summer in the on-going search for undocumented deaths related to the 1921 Race Massacre. It was hoped there would have been good progress in finding a significant number of those who were buried in mass graves. The nature of the search and dealing with private owners of the sites has made the search slow but sure.

The 1921 Graves Public Oversight Committee has called for a full excavation and analysis be performed at Oaklawn cemetery. The ultimate effort could take months searchers say. In the end the City of Tulsa will hire a funeral director and other services as they conclude their effort.

Finding as many of the lost as possible is a painful and slow process in what took a few devastating hours 100 years ago. Hopefully, the efforts can bring closure for many who never knew what happened to their loved ones. As many as 300 are thought to have been killed and carted off. Some say many were buried in mass graves and it’s possible some were deposited in the Arkansas river. Strong evidence is going to be hard to come by after 100 years. What is important now is the effort to bring some peace and closure for many families who still do not know.

Oral Roberts BB Victory Brings Racist Threats To Losing Teams

Here in Tulsa, Oral Roberts University’s (ORU) basketball team is bringing pride to our city and state. However, it has come at a cost to at least some of the teams ORU upset on their way to the Sweet 16 with some horrible fans. ORU came into the NCAA basketball tournament sometimes called March Madness as a lowly 15th seed. Almost always teams seeded that low face one of the top teams in the nation. They always lose, but this time ORU beat the mighty Ohio State University and the nation was shocked. Apparently, some did not take the upset so well.

One of the fans told Ohio State University forward E.J. Liddell, 20, “I hope you die I really do.” Other teams like University of Illinois suffered similar treatment by unhinged fans, who aimed their hatred towards the black players.

Sad in any case, but people forget these are young men barely out of their teens and may not be accustomed to the level of racism lobbed at them. University officials are working their technology departments to find the cowardly bigots.

Good luck to ORU and the other 15 teams this weekend as they play for the championship of college basketball. Hopefully, the season can end in brotherhood and sportsmanship and not racial hatred.

Cruel Letter Sent To Grieving Asian Family Part Of Growing Trend Since Covid

Unfortunately, the murder of six Asian women working in spas have not tamped down on hatred but perhaps spawned more bigotry. The mass shootings last week in Atlanta has shocked that community to its core. Now in California, more acts of racial hatred are popping up as more incidents are being reported.

In Leisure World retirement community, racial acrimony is rare. This week as Claudia Choi was preparing to bury her father Byong, a terrible letter was sent to them celebrating his death and included other horrible comments. Asian groups immediately started gathering in support for the grieving family and the Atlanta tragedy.

In Los Angeles California a protest became a target as a white driver sped through the crowd nearly running over people. He turned around drove through again, then stopping to hurl some racist slurs at the group. His license plate was recorded, and the police are investigating.

Oklahoma legislators have passed a recent law that waives liability for running over protesters in certain situations. Oklahoma sadly leads the nation in racist laws that are thought to be unconstitutional on their face but for now remain laws.

But why should we care about what happens in Atlanta or California? Because as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said; “No one is free until we are all free.” It was true when he said it back during the civil rights era and it is even more true today.