Democrats accused President Trump of racism Thursday for scheduling his next campaign rally on the “Juneteenth” anniversary of slavery’s end, in Tulsa, Oklahoma — site of one of the worst massacres of blacks in U.S. history.
“This isn’t just a wink to white supremacists—he’s throwing them a welcome home party,” tweeted Sen. Kamala D. Harris, California Democrat and a contender to become running mate for Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden
Kamau Marshall, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, said on Twitter, “How racist is Donald Trump: He’s so racist that he plans on having one of his first campaign rallies on June 19th in Tulsa, OK.”
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, celebrates the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to enslaved African Americans on June 19, 1865, after the end of the Civil War. Texas was the last Confederate state to have the proclamation announced — President Lincoln had made it effective in 1863, but there were few Union troops to enforce it in Texas until after the war ended in April 1865.
Celebrations of Juneteenth date to 1866.
Trump campaign senior adviser Katrina Pierson rejected the accusations that holding a campaign rally on the date is racist.
“As the party of Lincoln, Republicans are proud of the history of Juneteenth, which is the anniversary of the last reading of the Emancipation Proclamation,” she said in a statement. “President Trump has built a record of success for black Americans, including unprecedented low unemployment prior to the global pandemic, all-time high funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and criminal justice reform. Joe Biden spent last Juneteenth raising money at a private fundraiser and defending comments he made celebrating his work with segregationist senators.”
Tulsa was the scene of a race massacre in 1921 in which a white mob attacked a mostly black business district known as “Black Wall Street.” Some modern historians estimate that as many as 300 people were killed, and more than 35 city blocks were destroyed.