Tulsa Church Pays Tribute To Those Who Helped Rebuild The Church After 1922 Tulsa Race Massacre

Sunday, May 31st 2020, 6:35 pm
By: William Blanchette


An Oklahoma pastor reflected on this weekend’s protests and rallies across the country with an eye toward one of the most prominent incidents of racial violence in American history - the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

The Rev. Robert Turner, of Vernon AME Church, took part in Saturday’s peaceful protest in Tulsa — one of dozens of protests in cities nationwide in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, who died in the custody of Minneapolis Police last week.

Turner told News On 6 that with protests erupting across the United States this week, this year’s remembrance of the Tulsa Race Massacre was made all the much harder.

"Thanks be to God this place has survived through the test of time, said Robert Turner, Pastor.

The Vernon AME Church burned to the ground during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Pastor Robert Turner said the sanctuary was destroyed, and the basement was the only remaining part of the building that was intact.

"Mix of emotions, also with the terrible events that have happened in this country."

Since the massacre, Pastor Turner believes the country has still not progressed; Especially with the recent killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd.

"Same racism that started this massacre, same racism that killed George Floyd" said Turner.

Just like at Saturday's protest, Turner preached the same message Sunday to his congregation.

"We are looking to our elected officials for some leadership and not just talk." 

Turner still cherishes the memories left from the original church such as, the remains of one of its members, and a ledger from 1935 that has the names of those who helped pay off the mortgage to rebuild.

"That ledger shows the names of survivors who paid for [the] note at the sanctuary we now worship in" Turner stated.

Pastor Turner said the ledger shows that--through faith--God's people will prevail.

"Almost 15 years after the massacre; being able to pay off this remarkable building we are now standing in."

Pastor Turner said he eventually plans to archive the artifacts at the church.