Concert commemorating Tulsa race massacre canceled - Metro US

Concert commemorating Tulsa race massacre canceled

Tulsa Massacre Survivors Attend the 2021 Black Wall Street Legacy Festival

TULSA, Okla. (Reuters) -Tulsa Massacre centennial organizers have canceled a Monday event, citing a sudden hike in financial gifts requested for three survivors of the slaughter that decimated the city’s affluent African-American district of Greenwood.

Kevin Matthews, chair of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, told reporters on Friday organizers had included the centenarian victims in plans for an afternoon of speeches and performances, with gifts of $100,000 per survivor and $2 million in seed money for a reparations coalition fund.

But on Sunday, a lawyer for the victims increased the request to $1 million per survivor and $50 million for the fund, said Matthews, an Oklahoma state senator from Tulsa. “We could not respond to those demands.”

A lawyer for the victims did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

“Due to unexpected circumstances with entertainers and speakers the Centennial Commission is unable to fulfill our high expectations for Monday afternoon’s commemoration event,” Phil Armstrong, project director of the commission, said in a statement on Friday.

Monday’s “Remember + Rise” event had been slated to include a performance by award-winning musician John Legend and a speech by politician and activist Stacey Abrams. Armstrong said organizers hoped to reschedule the event later in the year.

A candlelight vigil is still scheduled to take place as Tulsa commemorates the massacre with events in May and June.

After the arrest of an African-American man accused of assaulting a white woman, an allegation that was never proven, white rioters, some of whom were deputized by local authorities, gunned down Black residents and torched homes and businesses.

An estimated 300 people were killed and thousands were made homeless by the destruction.

After the massacre, insurance companies refused to pay damages to the victims, citing riot clauses. No one was ever prosecuted or punished for the mob’s violent acts.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Donna Bryson, Sonya Hepinstall and Richard Chang)

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