TULSA -- Sen. Kevin Matthews held a news conference Thursday morning, in which he announced the official name change of the 1921 Race Riot Commission to the 1921 Race Massacre Commission.
The news conference was held at the Greenwood Cultural Center. It can be watched in the video player above.
“We had already planned to formally change the name of the 1921 Race Riot Commission to the 1921 Race Massacre Commission this week”, said Sen. Matthews, Chair of the Commission. “It was ironic that just last week, we lost and acknowledged the life and legacy of the last known survivor of this tragedy, Dr. Olivia Hooker who was the first African American woman to join the U.S. Coast Guard and lived to be 103.”
Hooker had survived the tragedy as a six-year-old and fought for the incident to be called a massacre rather than a riot.
“The fact that it was called a riot was one of the reasons given for turning down insurance claims, and has been offensive to many in the affected area for 97 years. After being made aware of the significance of the term, the Commission has decided to officially change its name to the 1921 Race Massacre Commission,” said Matthews. “Although the dialogue about the reasons and effects of the terms riot vs. massacre are very important and encouraged, the feelings and interpretation of those who experienced this devastation as well as current area residents and historical scholars have led us to more appropriately change the name to the 1921 Race Massacre Commission.”
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