Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921

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LSU Press, Jan 1, 1992 - History - 184 pages
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Widely believed to be the most extreme incident of white racial violence against African Americans in modern United States history, the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre resulted in the destruction of over one thousand black-owned businesses and homes as well as the murder of between fifty and three hundred black residents.

Exhaustively researched and critically acclaimed, Scott Ellsworth’s Death in a Promised Land is the definitive account of the Tulsa race riot and its aftermath, in which much of the history of the destruction and violence was covered up. It is the compelling story of racial ideologies, southwestern politics, and incendiary journalism, and of an embattled black community’s struggle to hold onto its land and freedom. More than just the chronicle of one of the nation’s most devastating racial pogroms, this critically acclaimed study of American race relations is, above all, a gripping story of terror and lawlessness, and of courage, heroism, and human perseverance.


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Boom Cities
Race Riot
Law Order and the Politics of Relief
The Segregation of Memory
Appendix I
Essay on Sources

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About the author (1992)

Scott Ellsworth received his Ph.D. from Duke University and currently teaches history at the University of Michigan. He served as the chief historian on the Tulsa Race Riot Commission (1999–2000) and is chair of the committee leading the effort to identify the unmarked graves of victims of the 1921 riot for the upcoming 2021 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial.

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