President Donald Trump's campaign announced that the President's infamous MAGA rallies would resume following a pandemic-imposed hiatus. The first rally is set for June 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Amid a nationwide reckoning in regards to racism in the United States, the time and place of Trump's impending rally converges on two historical pillars of Black history in the country.
Effective on the first of the year in 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln changed the legal status of 3.5 million slaves in the confederacy. Given the scope of the southern states, it wouldn't be until June 19, 1865 that the proclamation was read to slaves in Texas—the last state left for the order to be announced.
Since 1866, June 19—or Juneteenth—has been celebrated as one of the definitive moments marking the end of slavery in the United States.
Flash forward to 1921. The Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma was the most prosperous Black community in the United States, often referred to as "Black Wall Street." In response to a shooting outside the courthouse where the case of a Black shoeshiner accused of assaulting a White woman was being heard, White rioters descended upon the Greenwood District,
They killed an estimated 300 of its residents and left thousands more homeless when almost every business and home was burned to the ground. Black Wall Street was destroyed by White violence. For decades, the massacre was omitted from history books and local accounts of Tulsa's history.
Journalist Dan Rather was among the many who noticed the setting of Trump's rally.
So. Let's set the stage... President Trump has chosen as the venue for his first rally in months, Tulsa, Oklahoma,… https://t.co/1uMqls6KuA— Dan Rather (@Dan Rather)1591827091.0
In the wake of continued protests of police brutality against Black people in the United States, Trump's announcement that his first rally would be held in Tulsa on Juneteenth presented a deeply insidious message.
Tulsa was the site of the worst racist violence in American history. The president’s speech there on Juneteenth is… https://t.co/oIsVPaf39m— Rep. Val Demings (@Rep. Val Demings)1591889523.0
Trump’s Tulsa visit is reminiscent of Ronald Reagan launching his 1980 campaign at the Neshoba County Fair in Missi… https://t.co/ei61hEoZGW— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin)1591833840.0
No but seriously, the whole thing is evil. A Trump rally. On Juneteenth. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of the black… https://t.co/tMH58WO7QK— elexus jionde (@elexus jionde)1591835800.0
This is not an accident. Trump is holding his first rally of the campaign on Juneteenth (when enslaved blacks were… https://t.co/0wENYjjOQI— Atima Omara (@Atima Omara)1591837069.0
A Trump rally with rebel flags (a symbol of slavery and racism) in Tulsa, OK (the place of #TulsaMassacre) on Junet… https://t.co/Dl1OQchVKK— Congressman Al Green (@Congressman Al Green)1591881862.0
Trump's latest White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, addressed the outcry, but her answer left a lot to be desired.
Question: "Is it appropriate for him to be holding a rally on Juneteenth?" Kayleigh McEnany: "Look, President Trum… https://t.co/1bHQzHcZak— The Hill (@The Hill)1591895270.0
"The African American community is very near and dear to [Trump's] heart. At these rallies, he often shares the great work he has done for minority communities."
She went on to claim Trump "got criminal justice reform done" and praised him for continuing Obama-era trends of downward Black unemployment.
People weren't buying it.
@thehill Like Central Park 5 near and dear? What about housing discrimination? Or birtherism near and dear?!— Charli Huxley (@Charli Huxley)1591895825.0
@thehill I just threw up.— Shabra Watkins (@Shabra Watkins)1591895564.0
@thehill Sure. Go ahead and hit that sheet sale at Kohl's. https://t.co/GYFgS5U5Vk— Adrienne Lawrence (@Adrienne Lawrence)1591896455.0
Trump continues to oppose efforts to remove confederate flags, statues and namesakes from federal sites.