Joe Biden has become the first the sitting president to commemorate the 1921 Tulsa Massacre -one of the worst incidents of racial violence in US history.
Mr Biden flew to Tulsa, Oklahoma, On Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of the attack, which claimed some 300 African- American lives.
The two days of violence, sparked by a white mob, Were largely erased from history for decades.
It re-entered the national discourse amid racial justice protests last year.
On 31 May 1921, a group of white Americans razed the affluent and predominantly black neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa.
The community known by the moniker of ‘’ Black wall street’’ was the country’s wealthiest African- American neighborhood until its many homes and businesses were burned down in the riot.
In addition to the live lost, many more black American were injured or homeless. In the years following the incident, many official records were lost or destroyed, and schools did not teach about the massacre.
Speaking in Tulsa on Tuesday , Mr Biden said: ‘’For much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence , cloaked in darkness.’’
‘’ My fellow American, this was not a riot. This was a massacre, and among the worst in our history. But not the only one.’’
Less than two years after the Tulsa massacre a white mob destroyed the black town of Rose wood in rural Florida.
On 31 May, Mr Biden issued a proclamation for a day of remembrance.
We honour the legacy of the Greenwood community and of Black wall Street by reaffirming our commitment to Advance racial justice through the whole of our government, and working to root out systemic racism from our laws, our policies, and our heart,’’ read a statement from the white House.
Only three survivors of the massacre – currently age between 101 and 107-are still alive. Mr Biden is expected to meet them during his trip.
The president began his visit on Tuesday with a tour of the Hall of survivors, an exhibit about the massacre at the Greenwood Cultural Center.
On Monday, Tulsa major GT Bynum posted an apology on behalf of the city government for its failure to protect the community and ‘’to do right by the victims ‘’.
‘’While on municipal elected official in Tulsa today was alive in 1921, we are the stewards of the same government and apology for those failures is our to deliver,’’ he wrote on Facebook.
‘’The victims -men, woman, young children – deserved better from their city, and I am sorry they didn’t receive it.’’
Greenwood was a unique sight in pre-civil right America: a prosperous community where predominantly black citizens thrived at a time of racial discrimination and segregation.
The actions of rioters reportedly erased decades of black wealth and wealth creation.
Testifying before congress last month, one survivor- 107-year – old Viola Flecher – said :
‘’We lost everything that day Greenwood represented all the best of the what was possible for black people in America.’’
At the start of his presidency, Mr Biden said racial justice would be one of his visit to Tulsa, he is expected to tout several programmed that White House between black and white Americans.
The Biden administration says it will address racial discrimination in the housing market by issuing new rule on fair housing practices and curbing inequities in the home appraisal process.
Another programmer involves increasing federal contracts with small minority-owned businesses by 50% over the next five years.
In addition, Mr Biden‘s proposed infrastructure package includes new initiatives aimed at expanding economic opportunities for minority Americans.
This includes a $10bn (E7bn) community revitalization fund, Which would send money to underserved neighborhoods like Greenwood.
The plan also propose putting $31bn towards increasing access to capital and technical assistance for small business initiative, with a focus on ‘’socially and economically disadvantage’’ firm. It also calls for a new tax credit for private investments in affordable housing.
However, left – wing activists expressed disappointment over the president’s reluctance to cancel student loan debt, or black descendants of slavery and racial violence.