President Donald Trump received much backlash for planning his next campaign rally on what is considered sacred ground and a sacred day to Black America.
Trump announced on Wednesday that he would hold a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19th, the Juneteenth holiday observing the end of slavery in America. On Friday, June 12, the president announced that he rescheduled the rally one day later after being contacted by Black friends and constituents.
“Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this Holiday,” the president tweeted, “and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents.”
We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th – a big deal. Unfortunately, however, this would fall on the Juneteenth Holiday. Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out…
…We have already had ticket requests in excess of 200,000 people. I look forward to seeing everyone in Oklahoma!
READ MORE: What is Juneteenth?
“It’s going to be really a celebration and it’s an interesting date, it wasn’t done for that reason,” Trump explained, “but it’s an interesting date, but it’s a celebration.”
The initial decision to hold what 45 called a “#MAGA rally” was criticized because it fell on Juneteenth. Given the President’s rhetoric about race during his administration, especially amid the unrest sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, many felt this to be in poor taste.
It was also received poorly due to the location. Tulsa, Oklahoma is the site of the worst race massacre in American history. The city’s Black neighborhood of Greenwood, famously known as Black Wall Street, was burned to the ground by a white mob during the Tulsa Race Riots in 1921.
The race riot was reenacted on the HBO series Watchmen. Other projects from NBA stars Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and filmmaker Dream Hampton focused on Black Wall Street have been announced in recent days.
More than one thousand homes and businesses were believed to be destroyed and as many as 300 people to be killed.
Tulsa was the site of the worst racist violence in American history. The president’s speech there on Juneteenth is a message to every Black American: more of the same.
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) June 11, 2020
Many felt this was an intentional decision.
Sen. Kamala Harris called it a “welcome home party” for white supremacists, CNN reported.
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#Onthisday in 1865, enslaved African Americans were notified of their freedom by Union troops in Galveston, TX—two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Known as #Juneteenth, this day is widely celebrated as the end of chattel slavery in the U.S. Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Though it has long been celebrated among the African American community, it is a history that has been marginalized and still remains largely unknown to the wider public. The legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of deep hope and urgent organizing in uncertain times. This Museum is a community space where that spirit can continue to live on – where histories like this one can surface, and new stories with equal urgency can be told. #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory 📸: Grace Murray Stephenson and family, Juneteenth Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900, Texas, Courtesy Austin History Center.
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