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Tulsa Race Riot of 1921: Determining its causes and framing

Messer, Chris
Scope and Method of Study: This is a case study of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Through the use of governmental archives, census records, narratives, media coverage, and other document and historical analysis, this study examines the causes of the riot as well as how the Tulsa riot has undergone a frame transformation.
Findings and Conclusions: This study concludes that the Tulsa Race Riot was caused by a host of factors including, a racist and discriminatory historical context; various structural characteristics, including factors related to politics, race, and law enforcement; a culture of racism and vigilantism; and a triggering event involving the arrest of an African American accused of assaulting a White woman. In addition, this study concludes that the Tulsa riot, originally framed as a "Negro uprising," has increasingly become interpreted as a "racial injustice." Thus, African Americans have transitioned from being the cause of the riot to the victim of the riot.