President Biden, who signed into creation this week the federal holiday of Juneteenth National Independence Day this week, had just last year not known that the holiday had nothing to do with the Tulsa Massacre.
In a video from a press conference a year ago, Joe Biden told reporters "he's going down to Texas on Juneteenth, right? On the first major massacre, literally speaking, of Black Wall Street years ago."
Juneteenth is the "oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States," according to the celebration's website. It commemorates the day that Union Soldiers, in 1865, "landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free." This occurred two and a half years after the emancipation proclamation.
The Tulsa Massacre, on the other hand, occurred in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1, 1921. The Massacre, which stemmed from rumors spreading from an incident between a black teenager and white female elevator operator, killed as many as 300 people, the vast majority of whom were black. According to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, the violence destroyed 35 city blocks, and more than 800 people were treated for injuries.
Despite the conflation on Biden's behalf of the two events, they are not the same thing, happening states and years apart.
Juneteenth is marked with celebrations and remembrance of African-American pride, while the Tulsa Race Massacre is marked with reverence and sadness. When signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, Biden said the holiday would be a time to reflect on the "original sin" of slavery.
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