Tullahassee was once a thriving, all-Black town. That all changed when state leadership intentionally brutalized the community using Jim Crow laws, leaving its remaining residents with a crumbling ghost town. That's no accident -- it's a feature of the white supremacist economic system in the United States. Ta-Nehisi Coates summarizes the experience of Black Americans well: "Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy."
The United States government's deep history of racism has built a foundation of inequality, where Black Americans are significantly less wealthy than white Americans. Reparations aim to mend this systemic harm. The people of Tullahassee, Oklahoma -- now hosting a population of only 83 -- are seeking such reparations in order to finally rebuild their community.
Sign the petition to encourage the Oklahoma State Legislature to pay reparations to Tullahassee so the city can rebuild what the state's racist laws took from them!
Oklahoma is home to more historically all-Black towns than any other U.S. state, and historians estimate that Tullahassee is its oldest. While it was once a flourishing community with a bustling commercial district, Tullahassee suffered under Oklahoma's racist policies, especially when Jim Crow laws came into effect. It became yet another successful Black town that white political leaders constantly threatened with physical violence and economic hardship. In fact, the situation became so bad, Black residents started moving West in search of safety and better opportunities.
Today, Tullahassee is mostly vacant lots and crumbling buildings. The town's Mayor, Keisha Currin, says the people there deserve reparations, such as grants and funding, to repair the harm caused during Jim Crow. "You're talking about decades of withheld funding and opportunities for these towns," said Currin. "So we are owed reparations, reparations to rebuild all of our Black communities."
Tullahassee is a member of the Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE) Coalition, a group of American mayors committed to implementing reparations in their communities. The case for reparations has been gaining steam in recent years all over the country, and some communities are now taking steps to turn this possibility into a reality. In 2021, Evanston, Illinois became the first U.S. city to issue slavery reparations, in a historic plan to distribute $10 million to Black residents of the city. Tullahassee should be next.
Sign the petition to tell the Oklahoma State Legislature to grant Tullahassee the necessary funding it needs so residents can finally rebuild their town!