His family survived the Tulsa race massacre. I want a man in the Kansas City area to tell a story

The two girls and their parents settled in a two-bedroom home, crammed under the bed or hiding in a closet, with gunshots and burning around.

It was May 31, 1921, the day it became known as the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Only a white man saved the family, lying to the mob, claiming that the house was his own and therefore should not be destroyed.

Jack Adams, 89, who now lives in Overland Park, grew up listening to these stories. He came to understand that if his mother, Bernice Guess Adams, who was 16 at the time, wasn’t alive, he wouldn’t exist.

As the country celebrates its 100th anniversary of the deadly rampage in Oklahoma, Adams wants more people to know what his family has endured.

Jack Adams has a photo of his mother Bernice Guess Adams, his aunt Wilhelmina Howell Guess, and his grandmother Minnie May Jackson Guess at his home in Overland Park.

Jack Adams has a photo of his mother Bernice Guess Adams, his aunt Wilhelmina Howell Guess, and his grandmother Minnie May Jackson Guess at his home in Overland Park.

While in elementary school in the 1940s, Adams and his younger brother Don lived with their grandmother in a house that escaped the fire. She told them how people were “deadly scared” about the assault, Adams said.

“They shot people indiscriminately, blacks,” he said. “It was terrible.”

His great uncle Andrew Jackson, a prominent doctor in Tulsa, was returning from a home visit when he confronted a white mob that day. He was shot dead.

As much as possible 300 blacks were killedIn Tulsa’s Greenwood district, hundreds of businesses that have become known as Black Wall Street by successful shops and wealthy residents have been destroyed.

Adams said witnesses identified the person who shot Jackson, but no one was charged.

Adams investigated his great uncle and found that he had no grave marker. In 2013, Adams built and placed one in the graveyard of Guthrie, Oklahoma, where Jackson was buried.

As a kid, Adams, who had heard about the slaughter, said he didn’t fully understand the racism behind it. Blacks thrived in Greenwood, and some whites were resentful of it.

“There was a successful business owned and run by a black man,” said Carmaretta Williams Executive Director. Mid-American Black Archive in Kansas City“They made money, cared for communities and families, built businesses, and were successful.”

In the spring of 1921, a black man was accused of assaulting a white woman. The white mob used the unfounded claim as a “catalyst to destroy black progress,” Williams said.

Looking back over the past week, Adams said, “It shows what hatred, jealousy, and unbound hatred bring.”

He pointed out the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, and said the hatred still existed, Adams said.

TaThree of Adams’ four children went on a trip Commemorative event Tulsa It began on May 31st and included the appearance of President Joe Biden.

Adams son John, who lives in Portland, Oregon, He said he knew more about the history of his family and was impressed.

“It has opened up a whole new paradigm, a view of the world and a view of racism,” he said.

Being in front of survivors and other descendants in Tulsa was a powerful experience, but it was also scary to gain a deeper understanding of what happened a century ago.

Williams of the Black Archives said it was important to record the stories of survivors and their families.

“They are real people with real families, real dreams, real problems, real promises,” she said. “People who lost their lives — it’s an exponential pain that spreads to family and friends.”

“It’s been 100 years and it hasn’t been fixed yet. What’s happening now — it looks like it’s still ahead, but it’s just a series because nothing has been fixed and nothing has been fixed.”

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