Tiffany Crutcher still remembers the exact moment when it happened. She lived in Montgomery, Alabama, for nearly 20 years before she moved back to her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, because of a life-changing event in 2016.
Her twin brother, Terence, was shot and killed by Tulsa police.
“There was a mob of White police officers who charged at him,” Crutcher told rolling out. “He had his hands in the air, and he was shot and tased simultaneously. There was a helicopter looming over him and one of the pilots said he ‘looked like a bad dude.’ From that far up in the air. They trampled over him like roadkill and didn’t render first aid. And now they’re telling us to get over it.”
At that moment in 2016, Terence became another hashtag in a sad, long line of Black people who have been killed by the police. So, she moved back from Alabama the town where her brother’s final days were spent and her hometown of Tulsa.
Growing up, Tiffany wasn’t even aware of the Black Wall Street Massacre of 1921. She found out about it once she left Tulsa to go to college. As she got older and learned more about the tragedy, she learned how it affected her family.
“My great-grandmother, Rebecca Brown Crutcher, was a teenager at the time and had to flee in fear for her life,” Tiffany said. “They owned the barbecue joint on Black Wall Street and she never talked about it.”
Tiffany was also unaware of there being Black native Americans who were also in the trail of tears that passed through Oklahoma.
Tiffany has since worked with the Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition under the Terence Crutcher Foundation. The coalition collected soil from the site of the massacre and provided the victims with a proper send-off through hymns and reading of obituaries.
“When I think about the massacre, and what happened to my great-grandmother’s community, I can’t help but think about what happened to Terence almost 100 years later, in 2016,” Tiffany said.
Tiffany doesn’t want the ignorance she faced about the history of her own neighborhood growing up to happen to future generations.
“It is our duty to make sure we preserve our stories,” Tiffany said. “That’s why I’m fighting right now, I will be in D.C. next week to urge and ask President Biden to sign an executive order to make this historic district a national monument. So if we do that, it will be historic, it will be the first national monument in the state of Oklahoma. It is because of Terence’s blood. His blood has been a catalyst for change. It’s been a force for good, and we haven’t rested.
“We won’t rest. I’m learning rest is a weapon, and we’re using it to keep this fight for liberty and justice going … for the first time in 100 years, we get to prove our case for what happened here. We get to go to court and fight for Black creeks. Hopefully, we will get to preserve this story through a national monument designated by President Joe Biden and his administration because of the work we’re doing here at the Terence Crutcher Foundation.”
The Greenwood community in Tulsa, Oklahoma is united in asking @potus to designate Black Wall Street and the Historic Greenwood District as a national monument to honor the accomplishments, vision and legacy of the Historic Greenwood District. #blackwallstreet #monumentsforall pic.twitter.com/CsAuKlbIr5
— Terence Crutcher Foundation (@Crutcherfdn) February 22, 2023