President Donald Trump has decided to resume holding rallies, starting on June 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. However, both the time and the place have raised a few eyebrows, according to The New York Times. Particularly in the wake of Trump's recent rhetoric amid ongoing protests calling for widespread police reform across the U.S.
June 19 is Juneteenth, which is a celebration commemorating the formal end to slavery in the U.S. It also happens to be the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, which saw the deaths of roughly 300 black residents. Trump campaign advisor Katrina Pierson addressed the decision in a statement. "As part of the party of Lincoln, Republicans are proud of the history of Juneteenth, which is the anniversary of the last reading of the Emancipation Proclamation." Although some, including veteran news anchor Dan Rather, aren't buying it.
So. Let's set the stage...— Dan Rather (@DanRather) June 10, 2020
President Trump has chosen as the venue for his first rally in months, Tulsa, Oklahoma, site of a horrific massacre of African Americans. And he has set the date for June 19th, Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.
The Tulsa Massacre of 1921 saw the destruction of the Greenwood District, an affluent, predominantly black neighborhood known as Black Wall Street. It started after 17-year-old elevator operator Sarah Page claimed she was assaulted by 19-year-old Dick Rowland, a black man who rode in the elevator. Accounts vary, but it's generally assumed that Rowland stumbled while exiting and grabbed Page's arm, which caused her to scream.
Rowland was eventually arrested, though Page elected not to press charges. However, rumors began to circulate that she'd been raped, which led to the death and destruction of an entire neighborhood. The massacre itself has mostly been buried, meaning that the 2019 HBO miniseries Watchmen was the first time several people learned about it, although Russell Westbrook is currently producing a documentary on the subject.
Following an interview with Fox News on Friday, Trump was widely criticized over his answer when asked about police reform. "I'm doing very well with African Americans and with the vote with the — in polls and everything — especially I mean I haven't seen one very recently because you had the plague come in from China," Trump claimed. "We had the best numbers for African Americans on employment and unemployment in history. Best homeownership — best everything. We had the best numbers in everything — not only African American, but the African American numbers were great."