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Hundreds gather at historic Tulsa church to dedicate prayer wall on anniversary of massacre

People bow their heads in prayer during a Prayer Wall memorial gathering at the AME Church in the Greenwood district
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Hundreds of people gathered at a historic church in Tulsa, Okla., to dedicate a prayer wall on the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.

The dedication took place outside of Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood, according to The Associated Press.

The building was nearly destroyed in the massacre, but its members continued meeting there and it later became a symbol of resilience, the AP notes.

Among the attendees were Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who shared photos of the event on Twitter.

Also in attendance were the Revs. Jesse Jackson and William J. Barber.

Barber said he was “humbled even to stand on this holy ground,” according to the AP. 

“You can kill the people but you cannot kill the voice of the blood,” he added.

In 1921, white mobs descended on Tulsa’s Greenwood District, which was known as “Black Wall Street,” burning it to the ground and killing about 300 people. It is regarded as one of the worst acts of racial violence in history.

President Biden on Monday issued a proclamation marking the anniversary of the massacre, writing that “we honor the legacy of the Greenwood community, and of Black Wall Street, by reaffirming our commitment to advance racial justice through the whole of our government, and working to root out systemic racism from our laws, our policies, and our hearts.”

Biden will visit Tulsa on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the massacre, and announce efforts to close the racial wealth gap in the United States.

Tags Barbara Lee Chris Coons Joe Biden Oklahoma Tulsa Tulsa Massacre

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