News Release Date: June 25, 2020
WASHINGTON – At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt has designated the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park as an official member of the African American Civil Rights Network (AACRN), formally recognizing the historical and national significance of the tragic Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 and Dr. John Hope Franklin’s work to advance the African American civil rights movement.
The African American Civil Rights Network Act, signed into law by President Trump in January 2018, authorizes the National Park Service to coordinate and facilitate Federal and non-Federal activities to commemorate, honor, and interpret the history of the African American Civil Rights movement; the significance of the civil rights movement as a crucial element in the evolution of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and the relevance of the African American Civil Rights movement in fostering the spirit of social justice and national reconciliation.
“At the direction of President Trump, it is my honor to designate the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park as the 29th addition to the African American Civil Rights Network,” said Secretary Bernhardt.
“My father, historian John Hope Franklin, Chairman of the National Park Service Advisory Board from 1999-2001, would be pleased that the National Park Service is adding Greenwood's story to the African American Civil Rights Network,” said Dr. John Hope Franklin’s son, Dr. John W. Franklin. “His father, my grandfather, Attorney Buck Coilbert Franklin, survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and assisted his neighbors in rebuilding their devastated community.”
“John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park is much more than a quiet place to visit and reflect. It serves as a challenge to people of all places and races to come together in the spirit of dialogue, understanding, and reconciliation,” said U.S. Senator James Lankford (OK). “Tulsa has seen the worst of racial hatred, but as we approach the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, this park will help us show America the best of humanity by helping people overcome division and move forward in racial harmony. President Trump has ensured national recognition of this important part of Tulsa’s history, and we are grateful that he has designated this site as part of the African American Civil Rights Network.”
“By recognizing the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, President Trump is shining a light on one of the most moving, unique memorials in the United States,” said U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (OK). “As is in its name, the park emphasizes the importance of reconciliation to promote healing in our community. It is a living monument in the spirit of John Hope Franklin, regularly hosting events, conversations and educational opportunities to promote engagement and a positive, bright future for Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Nation.”
“I am very thankful to see the Trump Administration recognize the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in Tulsa for what it is, a bastion of history that needs to be preserved and supported,” said U.S. Representative Kevin Hern (OK). “I appreciate Senator Lankford’s leadership on this issue, and I was glad to support the President’s decision to designate this park as a valuable contribution to the African American Civil Rights Network. Now is a time for unity, a time for hope, a time for reconciliation in our country. This designation is a significant step forward for not only my community, but for the Nation at large as we strive together for a more perfect union.”
"Designating this site as an official African American Civil Rights Network will help ensure Americans are and remain aware of the tragic violence that occurred 99 years ago in Tulsa,” said Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. “This is a great step forward as we move toward a place of reconciliation and inspire generations to work together to fight injustice."
“Tulsa’s John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park will serve as the first Oklahoma site to join the federal register as an official African American Civil Rights Network (AACRN), joining other historic sites in the country such as the Selma Highway and the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., which leave a significant and historic legacy in our country’s history,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “As we approach the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, this site will continue to serve as a national platform for Tulsans and others to learn from our past as we work toward healing and justice for the Tulsa community.”
The Tulsa Massacre began May 31, 1921 and culminated in two consecutive days of widespread violence and devastation against the Black community in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood, one of the wealthiest Black communities in the nation at the time, leaving many residents dead or imprisoned, and homes, churches, and businesses destroyed.
Distinguished historian, educator, and civil rights advocate Dr. John Hope Franklin, the son of a Tulsa Massacre survivor, irrevocably transformed our understanding of American history through his scholarship and activism, while advancing the cause of the African American civil rights movement during the twentieth century. Dr. Franklin served as the Chairman of the National Park Service Advisory Board from 1999-2001.
The John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park features Hope Plaza and the Tower of Reconciliation, memorializing the history of African Americans in Oklahoma, including the lives lost at the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, with the goal of transforming years of racial division into a hopeful future of reconciliation and cooperation for Tulsa and the Nation. John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park is a public-private partnership, owned by The City of Tulsa and managed by the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, Inc.
The African American Civil Rights Network includes sites, facilities, and programs that commemorate, honor, and interpret the significant struggle for civil rights in the United States. With today’s addition, there are currently 29 resources in the AACRN, 18 of which are administered by the National Park Service, including Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, Pullman National Monument, and Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Last updated: June 29, 2020