Trampling on the Graves of Our Ancestors: Trump’s Juneteenth “MAGA” Rally in Tulsa
TULSA, OK/USA – JUNE 20, 2020 : A crowd of protesters take a knee near the BOK center before a Donald Trump rally.
Photo by RiseImages/Shutterstock.com
“Their Blood Cries Out:” The Tulsa Massacre and the Destruction of Black Wall Street was the moving theme of a Virtual National Forum on May 31 sponsored by the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and a dedicated group of local Sponsors which included the African Ancestral Society, Terrence Crutcher Foundation, the Historic Vernon AME Church and Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition. The Forum was convened on the 99th Anniversary of the most horrific massacre of African Americans and destruction of Black property in the history of this nation. The goal was to remind America and the world that reparations have never been awarded to the descendants of this unspeakable crime against humanity; a terrorist act intentionally and brutally executed by a crazed white mob infected with the virus of racism and white supremacy. Hence, the haunting words “Their Blood Cries Out,” was a libation remembering our ancestors whose blood consecrates the soil of Greenwood (Black Wall Street) as sacred ground.
It is against this backdrop that there were instant expressions of collective outrage by African Americans and people of goodwill of all races, ethnicities, nationalities and faiths as the word reverberated across the nation that Donald J. Trump would hold his first Make America Great Again (MAGA) re-election campaign rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth—the African American holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. Since I began to pen this article, under immense pressure, the Orange man changed the date for the MAGA rally to June 20. But it does not matter. As Eddie Glaude, the brilliant MSNBC Contributor put it, there is no way of escaping the fact that Trump intentionally chose Tulsa for his first carnival-style rally to feed and capitalize off the “white resentment” which fuels much of his “base.”
The change of date does not change the character of the demented person Spike Lee has named “Agent Orange,” nor does it change the insidious intent of this MAGA charade. Donald J. Trump has elected to stage a political rally on the ground soaked with the blood of Black bodies, sacred ground, to proclaim by this act that Black Lives Do Not Matter. Their Blood Cries out.
This is chillingly reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s calculated decision to launch his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi near the site where the martyred civil rights activists Schwerner, Goodman and Cheney were buried. The “great communicator” invoked reactionary phrases like “black racism” and “reverse discrimination” to feed and capitalize on white resentment. Ronald Reagan traveled to sacred ground in Mississippi to communicate to southern segregationists that they would have a sympathetic resident in the White House. He was willing to trample on the graves of martyrs to effectuate his anti-Black “southern strategy.”
And, so it is with the Orange man, who declared that there were well-meaning people on “both sides” of the riot carried out by a racist, anti-Semitic, neo-fascist mob in Charlottesville; the founder of the birther movement; shameless defamer of the Central Park Five; relentless purveyor of racist anti-immigrant sentiments; a would-be strong-man who bristles at the suggestion that the names of military bases named after confederate traitors should be renamed; a depraved person who blatantly denies that police departments and the criminal justice system are infected by racism and white supremacy; this is the braggadocious, mentally diminutive person who will mount the podium during the Juneteenth holiday season in Tulsa, 99 years after the slaughter of more than 300 Black people and the destruction of Black Wall Street by a resentful, hate-filled White mob.
Like Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump will desecrate sacred ground to shamelessly promote his hollow but dangerous political ambitions. A change of the date will not change this fact. African Americans and people of conscience are right to be outraged by this perfidious act. But this outrage must be harnessed to intensify the local and national struggle for reparations for the descendants of the Tulsa massacre whose Blood Cries Out for Justice. We must never forget Trump’s, unconscionable trampling on the graves of our ancestors. Their blood and suffering must be vindicated by the victories of the mass movement in the streets demanding fundamental structural changes to America’s racialized Capitalist system. Trumpism and all that it represents must not prevail. Therefore, the mass movement in the streets must also march on ballot boxes in November to defeat the Orange man and all of the political cowards and opportunists who were complicit in his ascension to power. The Blood of our ancestors Cries Out. A new social order rooted in reparative justice and a new democratic economy must be born. Z
The Publication of Origin is IBW21.org.
Dr. Ron Daniels is President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and Distinguished Lecturer Emeritus, York College City University of New York. His articles and essays appear on the IBW website www.ibw21.org and www.northstarnews.com. His weekly radio show, “Vantage Point,” can be heard Mondays 3:00–5:00 PM on WBAI, 99.5 FM, Pacifica in New York, streaming live via WBAI.org.