Tulsa Chamber Board Approves Resolution on Three Provisions of Riot Legislation

Tuesday, October 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(TULSA) - Three provisions of legislation designed to address the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot have gained approval in a resolution by the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce's executive board.

The board voted unanimously Monday in favor of a recommendation to move forward on a memorial design committee, a Greewood Redevelopment Authority and a scholarship trust fund.

The resolution also called for the chamber to lead an effort to ensure that the riot is included in Oklahoma history curricula and to monitor progress of the legislative mandates.

Lawmakers passed bills last spring that call for economic considerations for Tulsa's predominantly black neighborhood, located on the near north side, as compensation for the riot.

The legislation also reversed the findings of a 1921 grand jury which blamed blacks for the violence that destroyed most of the city's black business and residential areas. At least 38 people died in the riot and probably more, historians believe.

Chamber Chairman John Gaberino said the group should not be the driving force behind the initiatives but should lend its support to them.

``On the matter of the memorial, for instance, we're not going to try to tell anyone where it should be or how much it should cost,'' Gaberino said.

The Legislature established a committee to find a location for a riot memorial and initiate a design competition. Chairman Julius Pegues said last week that the committee was nearing a decision on a site.

The chamber should be involved by ``participating on the committee, advocating for allocation of public funds and supporting efforts to raise private funds,'' according to the resolution.

The board did not address the issue of reparations. More than 100 survivors of the riot have been identified by a state commission that recommended they receive unspecified damages.

Black legislators initiated a fund for that purpose after Gaberino told them last spring that he planned to press for a resolution of individual compensation.

More recently, however, Gaberino has said the chamber should not involve itself with the issue of reparations.