Day 1,238: As coronavirus rages, Trump to hold next rally on Juneteenth in Tulsa, city of horrific 1921 race massacre
Donald Trump a) does not care about the coronavirus, b) loves to stoke racial tensions, c) is desperate to get out of the White House, and d) wants a friendly audience in the wake of horrific poll numbers.
Combine all of those factors and what pops out is a breathtakingly tone-deaf decision: Trump will hold his next rally in the city of “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history” on the “longest running African-American holiday.”
In 1921 Tulsa, white residents killed hundreds of black residents after a black man bumped into a white woman.
During the Tulsa Race Massacre (also known as the Tulsa Race Riot), which occurred over 18 hours on May 31-June 1, 1921, a white mob attacked residents, homes and businesses in the predominantly black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The event remains one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history, and one of the least-known: News reports were largely squelched, despite the fact that hundreds of people were killed and thousands left homeless.
As for June 19th, or Juneteenth, the last of slaves in the confederacy were officially freed in 1865.
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” — General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865
When Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued the above order, he had no idea that, in establishing the Union Army’s authority over the people of Texas, he was also establishing the basis for a holiday, “Juneteenth” (“June” plus “nineteenth”), today the most popular annual celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States. After all, by the time Granger assumed command of the Department of Texas, the Confederate capital in Richmond had fallen; the “Executive” to whom he referred, President Lincoln, was dead; and the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was well on its way to ratification.
Trump is having his next rally, as the coronavirus is still wreaking havoc, at the intersection of a horrific race massacre 99 years ago and the official end of slavery in the U.S. 155 years ago.
Oklahoma is a deep red state with zero chance of being electorally relevant in 2020. There’s little reason to hold a rally there. Either Trump and his team have a blindspot as big as the state they’re visiting or, more likely, the insensitivity is the point.
1,238 days in, 224 to go
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