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Greenwood Cultural Center program coordinator discusses tour with Pres. Biden

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 23:26:58-04

TULSA, Okla. — President Joe Biden stopped in Tulsa on Tuesday to commemorate the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Part of his trip included a tour of the Greenwood Cultural Center.

“It was absolutely incredible," said Michelle Brown-Burdex. "It was such an honor.”

Brown-Burdex had the honor of giving President Biden a tour of the center, where she is the program coordinator.

“I never expected a president to actually visit the Greenwood Cultural Center, to learn about this history, who was genuinely interested and understanding the history," Brown-Burdex said.

Brown-Burdex has worked at the center for 25 years. She said she was nervous leading up to the tour, which lasted about 10 to 12 minutes. She said she was impressed with the president.

“He was very well-educated on the history," Brown-Burdex said. "He was knowledgeable. He had questions of his own to ask. And so that made the experience a little bit easier.”

Michelle called the visit “significant." Especially for President Biden to acknowledge the history of Greenwood and call the terror from 100 years ago a massacre, not a riot.

“That he acknowledged that it was a massacre just validates what we have been saying as a community, what the survivors have said from the very beginning, that this actually was in fact a massacre," Brown Burdex said.

She hopes in their time together, she taught President Biden about more than the massacre.

“Helping him understand how the community continues to suffer from this event through historical trauma," Brown-Burdex said. "But also how the African-American community continues to be affected by so many other issues.”

After their tour, Brown-Burdex escorted President Biden to a visit with the last three known survivors of the race massacre. She hopes this past weekend and the president’s visit are launching points to teach children and future generations about what happened here in Tulsa a century ago.

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