Tulsa Massacre Memorial Day event canceled abruptly
The abrupt cancellation of a Memorial Day event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre continues to reverberate with disputed details about the decision, CBS News reports.
Why it matters: The “Remember and Rise” event, which was to feature a performance from John Legend and a speech by Stacey Abrams, fell apart over a disagreement about using a portion of the money fundraised as reparations for survivors of the massacre.
Details: The event was organized by the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, which was founded and is chaired by Oklahoma state Sen. Kevin Matthews (D).
- The mostly Black commission is dedicated to commemorating the event and is comprised of elected officials, philanthropists, education representatives and community members.
- In total, the commission raised $30 million for a new history museum at the site of the massacre and a cultural center and art projects around Greenwood — a Tulsa neighborhood that was known at the time of massacre as the "Black Wall Street."
- A portion of the money was also set aside for “Remember and Rise," which was supposed to take place at the city’s minor league baseball stadium and would have been a primary attraction on Memorial Day, according to the New York Times.
Lawyers representing the three known survivors of the massacre in a lawsuit against the city of Tulsa and Oklahoma argued money from the commission should be used as reparations for the survivors.
- Negotiations between the lawyers and the commission broke down last week and Abrams and Legend pulled out, according to the Times.
- Matthews said Friday that the lawyers first requested $100,000 each and a $2 million donation toward a reparations fund. But after agreeing to the terms, Matthews, contends, he received an email last Sunday that requested $1 million for each survivor and $50 million for the fund. CBS News published a copy of the correspondence from attorney Demario Solomon-Simmons.
- Matthews and Solomon-Simmons continue to dispute details of the behind-the-scenes negotiations.
What's next: The White House announced last week that President Biden would travel to Tulsa this Tuesday to commemorate the massacre.