Newsmax reports Portland Trail Blazers star C.J. McCollum has labeled President Donald Trump a “sick man” for choosing to hold his first rally in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19.
As noted by CBS veteran broadcaster Dan Rather, both the date and the location are significant in the history of the racial struggle in the U.S., albeit for completely different reasons.
“President Trump has chosen as the venue for his first rally in months, Tulsa, Oklahoma, site of a horrific massacre of African Americans,” Rather tweeted on Wednesday.
“And he has set the date for June 19th, Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.”
McCollum, who has been among the most vocal NBA players calling for social change during the protests sparked by Floyd’s killing, retweeted Rather’s tweet, suggesting Trump’s choice of date and location wasn’t casual but was a “sick move by a sick man”.
Sick move by a sick man https://t.co/RW4UkUgCTO
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) June 11, 2020
As Rather pointed out, Juneteenth, as the date has become known, is a day of celebration for African Americans across the country.
On June 19, 1865, Texas became the last state to announce the Emancipation Proclamation, bringing slavery to an end across the nation.
The day, also occasionally referred to as Freedom Day, has been celebrated since 1866 and it has since developed from a local event mostly confined within Texas to a nationwide celebration recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 47 of the 50 U.S. states.
Tulsa, on the other hand, conjures far more troubling memories as it bore witness to one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history.
Thirty-six people were reported dead—although a state commission in 2001 revised the tally to anywhere between 75 and 300—and as many as 6,000 members of the African American community were hospitalized after swathes of white residents attacked black residents and businesses in the city’s Greenwood District.
The massacre began on Memorial Day weekend when Dick Rowland, a black shoeshiner, was accused of assaulting a 17-year-old white girl. After a mob of white men congregated outside the courthouse Rowland was held in, rumors began to spread he had been lynched.
In turn, that led to a large group of black people descending onto the courthouse where an armed standoff took place, leaving 12 people dead—10 of which were white. The fuse for widespread violence had been lit and only the arrival of the Oklahoma National Guard over a day since the riots began eventually restored some order in the city after the National Guard declared martial law.
According to official estimates, some 10,000 black people were left homeless by the riots. The events in Tulsa were a largely forgotten page of American history until a state commission was set up in 1996 to investigate events.
While the commission’s final report in 2001 stated local authorities had conspired with the white population against the black community and that survivors and their descendants should be compensated, it took until 2020 for the massacre to became part of the school curriculum across Oklahoma.