TULSA, Okla. — President Joe Biden is in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of an attack that wiped out a thriving Black community. The massacre started on the afternoon of May 31 and lasted for nearly a dozen hours into June 1, 1921.
Biden is the first sitting president to address the Tulsa Race Massacre victims and survivors.
He met with the three survivors of the attack who are still alive. During remarks later in the day, he publicly stated the survivors' story "will be known in full" now. "We are here to shine a light, to make sure Americans know the story in full."
More than 300 people lost their lives in the attack, and the Greenwood neighborhood, also known as 'Black Wall Street' at the time, was burned and destroyed.
"My fellow Americans, this was not a riot. This was a massacre," Biden told a crowd gathered in Tulsa.
There were no arrests for the attack and destruction. Buildings were burned to the ground and were not allowed to be rebuilt.
"We can't just choose to learn what we want to know, and not learn what we should know," Biden said. In silence, wounds deepen. Only in pain and remembrance do wounds heal."
Biden visited the Greenwood Cultural Center which is dedicated to preserving the history of the community and sharing the tragic story of the massacre.
Biden also announced measures to help narrow the wealth gap between Black and white Americans during his remarks.
The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia Fudge, along with Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice and Senior Advisor to the President Cedric Richmond accompanied the president to Tulsa.