Biden compares white mob in Tulsa massacre to Charlottesville rallygoers


President Biden on Tuesday compared the white mob that attacked Black residents in Tulsa, Okla., in 1921 to the “white supremacists” who marched in the far-right “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., four years ago.

Biden made the remarks during a speech commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, urging Americans to address the racism that fueled the attack, which he said remains a “stain on the soul of America.”

“What happened in Greenwood was an act of hate and domestic terrorism with a through line that exists today still,” Biden said, referring to the once-thriving Black neighborhood in Tulsa where hundreds of residents were killed.

“Just close your eyes and remember what you saw in Charlottesville four years ago on television,” the president continued. “Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the KKK [were] coming out of those fields at night in Virginia with lighted torches, the veins bulging as they were screaming.”

The 2017 rally turned violent as clashes broke out between white nationalists and counterprotesters. During the violence, a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.

Biden when announcing his presidential campaign in April 2019 cited the violence in Charlottesville, as well as then-President Trump’s response to it, as the defining moment that prompted his decision to launch his White House bid. 

In his campaign announcement video, Biden specifically condemned Trump’s argument that there were “some very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville. 

“With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate, and those with the courage to stand against it,” Biden said at the time. 

“And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime,” the then-presidential candidate explained. 

Biden on Tuesday argued that the U.S. still has a long way to go in addressing the legacies of racism, unveiling a broad plan committed to reaching racial equity throughout the country while acknowledging the evidence of racism that still exists today. 

The president then noted remarks from Viola Fletcher, 107, one of the last living survivors of the Tulsa massacre, who said she was deeply saddened to see pro-Trump rioters storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

Mother Fletcher said when she saw the insurrection at the Capitol … it broke her heart,” Biden said Tuesday. “A mob of violent white extremists, thugs.” 

“She said it reminded her of what happened here in Greenwood a hundred years ago,” the president added.

In 1921, a white mob destroyed 35 city blocks of the area once referred to as Black Wall Street, taking down more than 1,000 homes and raiding several more. 

Biden in his address unveiled changes to strengthen anti-discrimination housing measures rolled back during the Trump era and announced plans to expand policy measures aimed at benefiting minority-owned businesses.

Tags Anti-racism Biden Charlottesville Donald Trump Greenwood, Tulsa Joe Biden Oklahoma The Black Wall Street Tulsa Massacre
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