Hundreds gather at historic Tulsa church’s prayer wall

Tulsa Pastors Honor ‘holy Ground’ Of Greenwood Community
John Locher

In this May 28, 2021, photo, Rev. Robert R.A. Turner, pastor of the historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church, looks at a stained glass window while giving a tour of the church to a missionary around centennial commemorations of the Tulsa Race Massacre in Tulsa, Okla. Only the basement remained of the church, partially destroyed in the massacre in 1921 that destroyed the area known as Black Wall Street.

TULSA, Okla. – Hundreds have gathered for an interfaith service dedicating a prayer wall outside historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood.

Monday’s event comes on the centennial of the first day of one of the deadliest racist massacres in the nation. Civil rights leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and William Barber, joined multiple local faith leaders offering prayers and remarks outside the church. The building was under construction and largely destroyed when a white mob descended on the prosperous Black neighborhood in 1921, burning, killing, looting and leveling a 35-square-block area. Estimates of the death toll range from dozens to 300.