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Tulsa Race Riot Focus Of Upcoming 'Lunch And Learn'

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The Tulsa Race Riot took place June 1, 1921. The Tulsa Race Riot took place June 1, 1921.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot will be the focus of a Lunch and Learn set for Friday, April 25 at Rudisill Regional Library. "1921: Tulsa In Flames" will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1520 North Hartford.

Alicia Latimer, African-American Resource Center coordinator for Tulsa City-County Library, says it's a dark period of time in Tulsa history that continues to affect us today - and leaves unanswered questions for those studying the "Tulsa Disaster."

Latimer wants the full story of the Race Riot to be told.

"It's an unhealed wound for Tulsa," Latimer said. "There is a mystery about it - a reticence to talk about it. It's embarrassing; it's painful."

"We can't heal if we simply gloss over the wound."

Latimer said she is frequently contacted by people from the Tulsa area, across the United States and even overseas who want to know more about the events of June 1, 1921.

"They hear bits and pieces, but I don't think the story's been given the attention it deserves," she said. "It's quite historic - a record-setting number of people and property injured in that incident, and the controversy still exists today."

4/3/2014 Related Story: Oprah To Bring Tulsa Race Riot To TV With Mini-Series

Some of the unanswered questions Latimer said the Lunch and Learn will address include warning notes left for people before the Riot, suggesting the events were not spontaneous. She also plans to look at the root causes of the Riot - the economic, social and personal motivations of those involved.

"Our goal has long been to get the subject of the 1921 Race Riot taught in schools, other than just a paragraph or two," she said.

Volunteers from the community wearing period dress will read excerpts from Mary E. Jones Parish's book, "Events of the Tulsa Disaster." In addition to the spoken word, there will be a presentation of photographs taken from the historic events of June 1, 1921.

Latimer said the presentation will last until 1 p.m. with participants and library staff available for discussion for another hour.

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