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Steve Simmons: Why these were the perfect Olympics in an imperfect place

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Now we are here, as the Games of Pyeongchang come to an end, and there is neither one extreme nor the other to feel

Author of the article:

Steve Simmons

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PYEONGCHANG — There is usually a distinct impression left at the end of every Olympic Games. You either love it or you hate it. It grabs you and pulls you in or it leaves you cold and somewhat indifferent.

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I was mesmerized by Sydney in the summer of 2000 and by Lillehammer in the winter of 1994, cities and countries that came to life as Olympic hosts, made you want to be one of them. Even tired as we are at the end of every Games, you didn’t want to go home. You weren’t ready to say goodbye.

I couldn’t wait to leave Albertville in 1992 or Atlanta in 1996 — disorganized Games run by disinterested people.

And now we are here, as the Games of Pyeongchang come to an end, and there is neither one extreme nor the other to feel. It’s not ambivalence but it’s not the giddy excitement of Vancouver on the final Olympic Sunday of the 2010 Games. Mostly, these were an Olympics of wonderful moments — which is all Olympics, really — but also a Games of incongruity and contradiction, a Games without feel.

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In fairness, these have been a rather perfect Olympics in a most imperfect place. The infrastructure worked, which on its own is often miraculous. The Athletes’ Village got high marks from those who lived there. The buses ran when the buses were supposed to run. The venues were of reasonable calibre and easily accessed and the controversy surrounding the Games was mostly minimal or Russian or both.

Staging an Olympics can be like dealing with a Rubik’s Cube on performance enhancing drugs. It’s that complicated. It moves that fast. And the Pyeongchang organizers pulled that part off impeccably.

But Olympics aren’t just about buildings and buses and structure and technology and television. They’re about people. They’re about an event with its own pulse. They’re about creating buzz. And this is where Pyeongchang never found its way.

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There were too many empty seats at too many events, some of that attributed to the cost of tickets, some of that attributed to the scheduled time of events, a lot of it attributed to the lack of interest there is in winter sports here.

When Canada played the U.S. in the women’s hockey gold-medal game, with a historical ending and a shootout for the ages, the building was two-thirds full with Americans and the Canadians. The Koreans just didn’t seem to care.

They didn’t care for a lot of the winter disciplines, but curling and the unlikely story of the Garlic Girls pulled in the whole country here. This became the hot ticket in Gangneung, the coastal half of these games. That and short track speed skating were the only hot tickets of the Games.

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The Garlic Girls, four curlers with Spice Girl-like nicknames and cat-like clothing, were called Pancake and Sunny and Yogurt Annie and Steak. When they advanced to the gold-medal game in extra ends, the country exploded in sporting excitement. It was one of the few memorable moments for the host country, which really won its largest gold medal in friendly volunteers and youthful enthusiasm.

Every volunteer could say “hello” or “good morning” often with a warm smile on a cold day, even if they couldn’t say anything else in English, which has become, over time, the language of the Games.

The other Korean moment to cherish: the first hockey game for Korea’s women’s team, in a rink full of North Korean cheerleaders, with the players from the north and south politically forced to play together for the very first time. Maybe it was just for one night, and for the combined Koreans, just one tournament, but it brought two enemies together in the name of sport. And the crowd, not knowing hockey at all, cheered everything from faceoffs to broken sticks, the movement of the puck in any direction.

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“This wasn’t just a hockey game,” IOC president Thomas Bach told the players, who lost 8-0 to Switzerland. “It was more than that.”

Whether it was, in fact, more than that will be determined over time, but entering the Games there was a certain fear about the geographical closeness between North and South Korea and the political problems that existed. If there were political problems here, no one was aware of them. “The players here,” said South Korean coach Sarah Murray, “were the real heroes of the Games.”

The historical notion of the Olympics is the Games bring people together but the reality normally is quite the opposite. It separates and distinguishes countries. What matters in one place, doesn’t resonate somewhere else. The gold medal wins in women’s hockey and men’s curling by the United States were considered historical and triumphant in the U.S. and somewhat disastrous by Canadian standards.

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That’s how the world views sports here: through its own prism and its own circumstances.

And always, there are breakthrough stars.

The biggest star of these Games should be Ester Ledecka of Czech Republic, who managed something that has never been done before. In an Olympic setting in which the impossible becomes a daily occurrence, Ledecka made history all her own.

She won a gold medal in skiing. And a gold medal in snowboarding. That might be like winning a gold medal in swimming and diving at the same Games.

“It takes a lot of effort to become a professional skier,” said Justin Reiter, her snowboard coach. “It takes a lot of effort to become a professional snowboarder. And she does both with ease.”

She won two gold medals. Young cross country skier Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo from Norway was the only athlete to win three gold medals here. The brave Canadian short track speed skating rookie, Kim Boutin, came home with three medals, a story to write a book about and a Canadian flag to carry in the closing ceremony.

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It doesn’t the matter the setting, the feel, the number of smiling kids you might or might not see, the Olympics provides no shortage of breathtaking greatness.

For Canada, these were an Olympics of glee and crushing disappointment. One does not balance the other. But the story might be that Canada won a record number of medals, could have won more, and in sports we hold dear to our national scope, hockey and curling, the results left us wanting more.

But before leaving here, I will remember more than podium performances; more than Alex Harvey coming so close in cross country skiing three different times; more than the bravery of 20-year-old Canadian skater Gabrielle Daleman, who fell three times in her free skate routine and still came out to talk to media about it; more than eating too much fried food with not enough napkins and my elusive search for artificial sweetener; more than the Tongan Pita Taufatofua, who learned to cross country ski in three months, and then celebrated his 114th place finish in the 15-kilometre event.

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But if there’s a face of these Games, other than the smiling volunteers, other than Ledecka, it is two different faces, really. The sporting moment that won’t leave me was the final of the ice dance, with the Canadian team of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir having to be perfect to win gold. And then they were. They had to be effervescent and better than they’ve ever been before.

And they smiled and we smiled and the world smiled back. This wasn’t just about Canadian gold. In an absolute different way, it was world gold, with cameras clicking, the way Usain Bolt would capture gold, with drama and fun and beauty and the cameras not letting go. Not during their skate. Not after.

That’s the power of any Olympics. It can be too cold and too windy — as it was some days in the mountains here — or the ice can be terrible at two different hockey arenas, with pucks bouncing in all directions, but the show goes on. The show triumphs over drug cheats and corruption and scandal. It always does.

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How the 1st US city to fund reparations for Black residents is making amends

Evanston, Illinois, is like a lot of American cities. The city just north of Chicago appears picturesque, updated and grand on one side -- but not far away, one can see the signs of economic and racial segregation, despite the city's proud, diverse and liberal reputation.

What sets Evanston apart from other cities, however, is its groundbreaking plan to address the impact of that segregation and Black disenfranchisement: reparations.

The impetus for the city's reparations resolution, first passed in 2019 and spearheaded by 5th Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, is rooted partially in Rue Simmons' experience growing up Black in Evanston.

"Early in my childhood I was invited to have a play date," she recalled. "My white friends never had a play date at my home."

Visiting a white friend's neighborhood, she noticed, "the streets were wider. The trees were taller. The homes were bigger and brighter. As a young child, I recognized that difference."

Watch “Soul of a Nation” TUESDAY at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. Episodes will be available on Hulu starting Wednesday.

"I never felt, in any way, envious," she said. "I never had that feeling like, 'Why isn't my family doing better?' It was obvious that it was the barrier of race that kept us from that."

Rue Simmons still lives in the ward she represents. She says over time, resources were stripped away from her neighborhood. That, she said, coupled with a lack of investment, led to an ever-increasing wealth gap between white and Black residents in the city.

She hopes that her work will help families in her neighborhood that are "burdened … get some relief" via reparations, which will first be distributed this year in increments of up to $25,000 per eligible resident to use for housing.

The discussion on reparations has been ongoing -- and controversial -- in the U.S. since slavery was abolished in 1865. Originally, reparations were proposed to make amends for slavery, which built the nation's wealth -- but excluded Black Americans from it.

Reparations first arose as a promise, in early 1865, to redistribute land in the southeast U.S. to formerly enslaved people. For decades, the promise is often invoked in the phrase, "40 acres and a mule."

It was a promise left unfulfilled. By the end of 1865, President Andrew Johnson overturned the land redistribution order. In the decades since, Black Americans have endured a succession of injustices, from Black codes to Jim Crow and redlining -- American policies that broadly kept generational wealth-building out of reach for many Black communities.

Today, Evanston is the first city in the U.S. to fund reparations, committing $10 million over the next decade in an attempt to repay Black residents for the wrongs and accumulated losses incurred by generations of racism.

Rue Simmons said she didn't start her elected career "even discussing reparations. It was not something I had planned to pursue," she said.

"I was looking at data," she continued. "I was looking at what we had done, what more we could do, and reparations was the only answer."

She explained that any more of the status quo would sustain "the oppressed state and the disparity that we have and that we have had for years. That's all it could do. More of the same."

"The only legislative response for us to reconcile the damages in the Black community is reparations," she said.

Rue Simmons and her colleagues had the support of local historian Dino Robinson in building the case for reparations. Robinson is the founder of the Shorefront Legacy Center in Evanston, an archive dedicated solely to chronicling and celebrating the local Black history that had long gone ignored.

In a 70+ page report, Robinson documented discrimination and racism in Evanston that dated back to the late 1800s.

"We anticipate litigation to tie things up with the premise that 'You cannot use tax money that's from the public to benefit a particular group of people,'" Robinson said, referring to opposition to the city's plan. But, he countered, "the entire Black community historically has paid taxes, but were not guaranteed the same benefits."

He said part of the resistance is due to a lack of education.

"The one comment I hear most often is, 'I did not know,'" said Robinson. "'I did not know there was segregation in Evanston.' 'I did not know that your housing mortgage is higher than mine but we have the same income."

But records paint a clear picture of exactly how racial inequality developed in the city.

"Black community members were moving throughout Evanston and forming … Black pockets in the city of Evanston," Robinson said. "It caused the white community to start panicking, like, 'What do we do about this?'

Articles, reports and studies were conducted on the Black community to discuss what should be done, Robinson said. And Evanston, like many cities across the country, embraced the practice of redlining.

"Redlining was a federal project to determine the market values of areas and neighborhoods," Robinson explained. "[There were] four categories, 'A' being the highly desired area, 'D' the lower, lowest-value properties. The 'D' areas were usually relegated to the Black community. 'D' was always in red."

In Evanston, Black residents were moved into a triangle-shaped area that became the 5th Ward, deliberately segregating them from white families, sought-after property, and ultimately, wealth.

The 5th Ward was bordered by what was then a sewage canal on one side and far removed from public transportation and the city's downtown. According to Robinson's report, homes in the area had smaller lot sizes, and at the time, many had no electricity, water or sewers.

"The only option to buy in Evanston was basically in the 5th Ward," Robinson said. "Banks in Evanston would not loan to Black families for housing [and] the real estate agencies would not show you anything other than the 5th Ward."

In the late 1940s, the city also demolished some homes belonging to Black families that were outside of the 5th Ward -- or physically took them from their foundations and moved them into the redlined boundaries.

"The historic redlining impacts our community today," Rue Simmons said. "That map still is the map of our concentrated Black community, our disinvestment, our inferior infrastructure."

Today, white people in Evanston make nearly double the income and have double the home value of their Black neighbors according to the most recent U.S. Census. This racial wealth gap is prevalent nationally, with Black Americans possessing less than 15% of the wealth that White Americans have, according to the Federal Reserve 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances.

Black residents who lived through redlining in Evanston -- and their descendants -- are eligible for reparations. That includes 98-year-old, Benjamin Gaines Sr. and his son, Benjamin Gaines Jr. The Gaines family moved to Evanston in 1959.

"We did something that not a whole lot of Black families were able to do in Evanston," Gaines Sr. told ABC News. "That's build a house from the ground up."

But Gaines Sr. said there's no doubt in his mind that the two-year process to find a plot and get financing was much more difficult than it would have been for a white man.

"The contractor, he said, 'You find a lot anywhere in Evanston, and I'll build whatever you want," Gaines Sr. said. "Well, when he said that, he meant in the Black neighborhoods … It was just the way it was."

Gaines Sr. said he also had "big trouble" financing his home, and that he feels these problems are still present today.

"It's the old cliché about, 'The more things change, the more they remain the same.'"

Younger members of Gaines Sr.'s family say that while modern-day Evanston is outwardly progressive, inequality is still a problem.

"Growing up in Evanston for me was definitely good, despite the racism that I faced," Gaines Sr.'s grand-nephew, Jared Davis said. The father of three said he will apply for reparations, "because it's owed."

Davis' kids, 25-year-old Nic and 16-year-old Myah, have also been involved in their family's discussion on reparations, expressing fatigue over having to justify why they're owed, with the city's history so well-documented at this point.

"I don't even think it's my job to justify to you, like, why we need reparations," said Nic. "Do you not live here? Do you not know? Did you not see the demographics changing throughout the years? Like, we knew it was racist."

Alderman Rue Simmons has also noted a shrinking Black population in Evanston as a result of historic redlining, modern gentrification and rising property taxes. Black residents currently make up 16% of Evanston's population, but, Rue Simmons pointed out, "we've had much higher in the past."

Now, according to Rue Simmons, the $25,000 reparations benefit for housing is meant to combat "a lack of affordability, lack of access to living wage careers here in the city, and a lack of sense of place."

Evanston proposed a novel idea to fund reparations -- a 3% tax on newly legal recreational marijuana sales.

"It's the most appropriate use for that sales tax," Simmons said. "In our city, 70% of the marijuana arrests were in the Black community. And we are 16% of the community. All studies show that Blacks and white [people] consume cannabis at the same rate."

This funding solution has put Evanston ahead of any other city in America, and on the radar of Danny Glover, an actor and long-time reparations activist who has been vocal in his support of House Resolution 40.

The 31-year-old bill was so named to invoke the broken promise of "40 acres and a mule." The proposal would create a commission to study and develop a national plan for reparations.

The bill was first proposed in 1989 by Rep. John Conyers. He re-introduced it every year he served until he resigned in 2017. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has taken on the mantle. She cites “the idea of reparations is unworkable politically or financially” as the reason opposition has fought the bill for decades.

Glover testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee to support HR-40 in 2019.

"[It] is an opportunity to have a commission to study reparations, but also the further contexts in which we look at slavery and the impact that it had on us," he told ABC News.

Glover traveled to Evanston in 2019 to speak at a reparations town hall because, in his words, the city "did something that no other city has done in the country."

"If we're able to use that as a platform, maybe other cities might adopt the whole idea of this," he continued.

In Washington, the issue is incredibly divisive.

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell said in 2019 “it would be pretty hard to figure out who to compensate,” and said “none of us currently living are responsible” for what happened 150 years ago. Lee currently has backing from 173 cosponsors, all Democrats.

It gained renewed attention this winter, but still has yet to advance out of committee.

Simmons says reparations are broadly supported in Evanston, despite some questions from other city leaders over whether the recreational marijuana sales tax revenue can sustain the fund in the longer-term.

For the Gaines-Davis family, and other Black Evanstonians who proudly support reparations, questions remain about how far $25,000 can go -- even as a first step -- to fulfill long-broken promises.

"It's a drop in the bucket… But it's better than nothing. It's better than what I have now," Benjamin Gaines Sr. said. "Hopefully, before I die, I'll see the world change."

Nic Davis is hesitant to celebrate too soon.

"Uncle Ben [has been] telling all these stories and things and making you understand, like, change is not an easy thing," he said, expressing wariness over years of support for progressive promises that have taken too long to fulfill throughout history.

"[There were] people who were acting like they're ready for change, and behind closed doors other things are happening, right?" he said. "We see that all the time in politics right now."

"What does it say that my 25-year-old has to feel like that?" his father Jared Davis said.

Myah Davis said she's learned a lot from her elders.

"They constantly talk to me about issues that I would not know anything about if I wasn't in the family that I'm in," she said. "[In school] we aren't really taught about a lot of Black history outside of, 'Oh, you know, slaves came from Africa.' I think part of reparations - it can't just be money. Like, you have to teach us what we need to know."

Rue Simmons acknowledges the concerns of those community members who feel $25,000 is not enough.

"$25,000 is life-saving for some families right now," she said. "But relative to the injury, it's not nearly enough. And I get that."

That's why she hopes more relief will come from reparations at the state and federal levels, including HR-40.

But Evanston's leaders are not waiting for Washington. They plan to begin dispersing funds this spring and hope that is just the first reparative step for Evanston, and for other cities across the country.

"When I introduced reparations in Evanston it was always the first step of many to come," Simmons said. "There is a lifetime of work ahead of me and my children for us to get to justice for the Black community."

She said she remains hopeful, and that she must, to do this work.

"I do believe that we're committed as a city. And I believe that we will advance reparations," Simmons said. "I can't wait to celebrate the family that receives their first reparation benefit. I cannot wait for that day."

Источник: https://abcnews.go.com/US/1st-us-city-fund-reparations-black-residents-making/story?id=76118463

Summary


Summary

Methodology

The Greenwood Massacre and its Legacy

The Massacre

The Massacre’s Aftermath

Obstacles to Rebuilding

Greenwood Rebuilds, Subsequent Decline

Redlining

“Urban Renewal”

Tulsa Today

Poverty, Race, and Geography

Health

Nutrition

Education

Police Funding in Tulsa

The Fight for Reparations and Economic Justice in Tulsa

The 1921 “Tulsa Race Riot Commission”

The Call for Reparations and Legal Justice

Tulsa’s Economic Development Plans

International Human Rights Law and Past Reparations Examples 

Right to an Effective Remedy and the Tulsa Race Massacre 

Reparations for Slavery 

Recommendations

Reparations for the Tulsa Race Massacre

To the US Congress

To State and Local Authorities

Addressing Ongoing Structural Racism and the Legacy of Slavery

To State and Local Governments

To the US Congress

To the Federal Government


In the span of about 24 hours between May 31 and June 1, 1921, a white mob descended on Greenwood, a successful black economic hub in Tulsa, Oklahoma then-known as “Black Wall Street,” and burned it to the ground. Some members of the mob had been deputized and armed by city officials. 

In what is now known as the “Tulsa Race Massacre,” the mob destroyed 35 square blocks of Greenwood, burning down more than 1,200 black-owned houses, scores of businesses, a school, a hospital, a public library, and a dozen black churches. The American Red Cross, carrying out relief efforts at the time, said the death toll was around 300, but the exact number remains unknown. A search for mass graves, only undertaken in recent years, has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who survived lost their homes, businesses, and livelihoods. Property damage claims from the massacre alone amount to tens of millions in today’s dollars. The massacre’s devastating toll, in terms of lives lost and harms in various ways, can never be fully repaired.

Following the massacre, government and city officials, as well as prominent business leaders, not only failed to invest and rebuild the once thriving Greenwood community, but actively blocked efforts to do so.

No one has ever been held responsible for these crimes, the impacts of which black Tulsans still feel today. Efforts to secure justice in the courts have failed due to the statute of limitations. Ongoing racial segregation, discriminatory policies, and structural racism have left black Tulsans, particularly those living in North Tulsa, with a lower quality of life and fewer opportunities.

On the 99th anniversary of the massacre, a movement is growing to urge state and local officials to do what should have been done a long time ago—act to repair the harm, including by providing reparations to the survivors and their descendants, and those feeling the impacts today. 

Under international human rights law, governments have an obligation to provide effective remedies for violations of human rights. The fact that a government abdicated its responsibility nearly 100 years ago and continued to do so in subsequent years does not absolve it of that responsibility today—especially when failure to address the harm and related action and inaction results in further harm, as it has in Tulsa. Like so many other places across the United States marred by similar incidents of racial violence, these harms stem from the legacy of slavery.

There are practical limits to how long, or through how many generations, such claims should survive. However, Human Rights Watch supports the conclusion of the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (recently renamed the Tulsa Race Massacre Commission)—a commission created by the Oklahoma state legislature in 1997 to study the massacre and make recommendations—that reparations should be made.

The Tulsa Race Massacre occurred in a broader context of racist violence and oppression stemming from slavery, which continues to impact black people in the United States today. Human Rights Watch has long been supportive of the development of broader reparations plans to account for the brutality of slavery and historic racist laws that set different rules for black and white people. Accordingly, Human Rights Watch supports US House Resolution 40 (H.R. 40), a federal bill to establish a commission to examine the impacts of the transatlantic slave trade and subsequent racial and economic discriminatory laws and practices. H.R. 40 has been circulating in Congress for 30 years but recently gained renewed momentum given a growing public understanding about the harms of slavery and its continuing impact today. The bill garnered nearly 100 new co-sponsors in the House just last year; a companion bill in the Senate, S. 1083, has 16 co-sponsors.

After decades of silence, an enormous amount has been written in recent years about the Tulsa massacre and its aftermath, including many books,[1] and a comprehensive 200-page report, known as the “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” issued by the “Tulsa Race Riot Commission” in 2001.[2] Yet the state and local governments involved have failed to take action.

In the run-up to the massacre’s centennial, the Tulsa and Oklahoma governments should finally take meaningful steps to repair these ongoing, devastating wrongs.

This report is largely based on research, as well as an analysis and review, of materials conducted from March through May 2020. These include the 2001 “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” numerous books on the massacre and its aftermath, news articles, law review articles, academic research papers, court records, and city planning documents. It also contains a lightly edited reprinting of several sections of an extensive 216-page Human Rights Watch report “Get on the Ground”: Policing, Poverty and Racial Inequality in Tulsa, Oklahoma,[3] released in September 2019, which documents in detail systemic racial disparities in in Tulsa today.

In addition, we also conducted six interviews with members of the Tulsa community, including descendants of victims of the massacre or individuals involved in racial justice efforts in Tulsa. These interviews built upon the substantial body of research, including 132 interviews, we had conducted for Get on the Ground. We conducted most of the new interviews by phone or by video due to restrictions on travel related to the Covid-19 pandemic. All interviewees gave their full informed consent to the interviews and were provided no incentives to participate.

All documents cited in this report are publicly available or are on file with Human Rights Watch.

On May 31, 1921, police in Tulsa arrested Dick Rowland, a young black man who lived in the Greenwood section of town, for an alleged assault on a white woman.[5] Though the evidence against him was not strong,[6] the Tulsa Tribune printed an editorial that afternoon calling for a lynching.[7] A mob of white men converged on the county lock-up.[8]

At the time, lynching of black people was common throughout the US—61 were reported in 1919; 61 in 1920; and 57 in 1921.[9]  Violent white mobs terrorized and attacked black people, killing them and destroying their property, in cities throughout the US.

When news of the lynch-mob reached Greenwood, community members, including many World War I veterans, armed themselves and went to the courthouse to protect Rowland, but the sheriff told them to leave.[10] After the black men left, the crowd outside the courthouse grew to over two thousand, many of them armed.[11] Tulsa police made no effort to de-escalate the situation or disperse the crowd.[12]

Later that night, the men from Greenwood returned, offering to help the sheriff protect Rowland.[13] A fight broke out when a white man tried to disarm one of the black veterans trying to protect Rowland[14] and some shooting began, lasting through the night.[15]

Early the next morning, a large mob of white men and boys invaded Greenwood, outnumbering its defenders by 20 to 1 or more.[16] Witnesses said that people in airplanes flew over Greenwood dropping firebombs and shooting at people.[17]

The attack lasted throughout the day. The mob drove through Greenwood, shooting and killing black people, looting and burning their homes and businesses.[18] Many black residents fought back, but they were greatly outnumbered and outgunned. Many fled, while thousands were taken prisoner.[19] At best, Tulsa Police took no action to prevent the massacre. Reports indicate that some police actively participated in the violence and looting.[20]

The mob destroyed 35 square blocks of Greenwood, burning down over 1,200 homes, over 60 businesses, a school, a hospital, a public library, and a dozen churches.[21] Hundreds of homes that were not burned down were looted as well.[22] Some estimates put the death toll at 300,[23] while others believe it was much higher.[24]

The Tulsa City Commission issued a report two weeks after the massacre saying: “Let the blame for this negro uprising lie right where it belongs—on those armed negros and their followers who started this trouble and who instigated it and any persons who seek to put half the blame on the white people are wrong …”[25]

The Massacre’s Aftermath

In the early morning hours of June 1, 1921, Oklahoma Governor James A. Robertson called in National Guard troops and declared martial law.[26] The National Guard, as well as local law enforcement and other white citizens deputized by them, [27] began disarming and arresting all black people and moving them to internment camps located at the Convention Hall, the McNulty Baseball Park, or the fairgrounds.[28] This internment facilitated destruction and death, leaving black residents, outnumbered by more than 20 to 1,[29] without the ability to defend their lives, home, and property.[30]

During the attack, white men dragged dozens of black people in their nightclothes from their beds on the white side of town, in homes where they lived as domestic workers, screaming at and severely beating them before hauling them off to internment at various locations downtown.[31] Others liberally spread kerosene or gasoline inside Greenwood homes and businesses and then lit them on fire.[32] Once in the camps, black Tulsans were not able to leave without permission of white employers.[33] When they did leave, they were required to wear green identification tags.[34] By June 7, 7,500 tags had been issued.[35] The American Red Cross, which ran the internment camps, reported that thousands of black Tulsans, then homeless, were forced to spend months, or in some cases over a year and through the winter, in the camps, in tents.[36] Many suffered disease and malnutrition in the camps.[37] During a six-month period after the violence began, the Red Cross reported “eight definite cases of premature childbirth that resulted in the death of babies” and that “of the maternity cases given attention by Red Cross doctors, practically all have presented complications due to the riot.”[38]

The Tulsa Race Massacre Commission confirmed in its report that Tulsa officials, and the hundreds of whites they deputized, participated in the violence—at times providing firearms and ammunition to people, all of them white—who looted, killed, and destroyed property.[39] It also found that no one was ever prosecuted or punished for the violent criminal acts.[40]

When Governor Robertson visited Tulsa on June 2, he ordered that a grand jury be empaneled and put the attorney general S.P. Feeling in charge.[41] All of the 12 men selected for the panel on June 9, 1921 were white.[42] After several days of testimony the jury indicted more than 85 people[43]—the majority black—[44] mostly for rioting, carrying weapons, looting and arson.[45] Most of the indictments were ultimately dismissed or not pursued, including the indictment against Rowland, as the complaining witness never came forward.[46]

One of the only indictments that was pursued was that against John Gustafson, the white Tulsa police chief who was accused of neglect of duty, and charges unrelated to the massacre—freeing automobile thieves for which he collected rewards.[47] After a two-week trial that garnered significant press attention, he was convicted, sentenced to a fine, and fired.[48] According to James Hirsch, who wrote a book about the massacre and its aftermath, Gustafson’s conviction had the effect of granting “blanket immunity” to all the white people who murdered and looted.[49] In charging Gustafson, the prosecutor made clear that she did not believe any of the white people who armed themselves had violated the law. Rather, she said:

After those armed Negros had started shooting and killed a white man—then those who armed themselves for the obvious purpose of protecting their property and lives violated no law. The [police] chief neglected to do his duty and the citizens after seeing their police fail, took matters into their own hands.[50]

The final 1921 grand jury report blamed Black people for the massacre: “There was no mob spirit among the whites, no talk of lynching and no arms. The assembly was quiet until the arrival of the armed Negros, which precipitated and was the direct cause of the entire affair.”[51] The grand jury report also named another cause: “agitation among the Negros of [sic] social equality.”[52]

The exact number of people killed has been hard to establish, in part because after the attack began, the Oklahoma National Guard commanding general, Charles Barrett, issued an order denying funerals for the deceased on the ground that he claimed churches were already overwhelmed with helping the displaced.[53] To this day no one knows what happened to most of the bodies, though there is reason to believe at least some were buried in mass graves. An investigation into this possibility, after being dormant for years, was recently reopened (see below).[54]

Initially, some Tulsa officials acknowledged the wrongdoing and promised restitution and repair. “Tulsa can only redeem herself from the country-wide shame and humiliation … by complete restitution of the destroyed black belt…Tulsa weeps at this unspeakable crime and will make good the damage … down to the last penny, ” said Judge Loyal J. Martin, chairman of the Executive Welfare Committee, a body formed on June 2, 1921 through the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce in response to the violence and for the purpose of rehabilitating the city.[55] Alva J. Niles, president of the Chamber of Commerce, made similar apologies and promised that “rehabilitation will take place and reparation made,” adding that Tulsa feels “intensely humiliated,” and pledged to “punish those guilty of bringing the disgrace and disaster to this city.”[56]

These promises were never realized. Some city and county resources went to fund immediate American Red Cross relief efforts to provide temporary shelter, food, and medical assistance to some of the thousands displaced.[57] However, government officials committed no public money to help Greenwood rebuild—in fact, they worked to impede it, and even rejected offers of medical and reconstruction assistance from within and outside Tulsa.[58] In the end, the restoration of Greenwood after its systematic destruction was left entirely to the victims of that destruction.[59]

Obstacles to Rebuilding

An estimated 11,000 black people lived in Tulsa before the massacre, most in the Greenwood area (see maps of the Greenwood District’s historic boundaries in Appendix A).[60]

When black Tulsans tried to rebuild, they faced enormous obstacles, including hostility from powerful sectors of the city: an illustrative June 4 Tulsa Tribune editorial titled “It Must Not Be Again” stated: “the old ‘Niggertown’ must never be allowed in Tulsa again.”[61] Many of the white men who participated in the attack occupied prominent positions at City Hall, the community’s courthouses, press rooms, churches, and office buildings.[62]

The “Tulsa Race Riot Commission” retrieved court filings for 193 lawsuits filed against the city and insurance companies for property and other losses totaling about $1,470,711 in 1921.[63] This likely underestimates material losses, as not everyone in Greenwood had insurance and of those who did, not all took insurance companies or the city to court.[64] All the claims pursued were dismissed,[65] despite Gustafson’s conviction, which did not translate into any benefit or restitution for the victims.[66]

Insurance companies denied claims based on “riot exclusion” clauses in the contract.[67] Claimants argued in vain that the violence was not caused by a riot but by law enforcement action, inaction, and negligence.[68]

Many also filed claims worth $1.8 million at what the “Tulsa Race Riot” report said was called the “City Commission.”[69] All were denied, except for one filed by a white pawnshop owner for $3,994.57 for ammunition taken from his shop during the violence.[70] The “Tulsa Race Riot Commission” used the $1.8 million figure instead of the $1,470,711 to estimate property losses, noting that this figure would be worth nearly $17 million in 1999 dollars. Using the commission’s same method of calculation—that figure would be worth more than $25 million today.[71] Others have put the value of property loss claims alone at between $50 to$100 million in today’s dollars.[72]

On June 7, 1921, the Executive Welfare Committee[73] announced its intention to direct a body called the “Real Estate Exchange” to develop a plan to value the properties burned down in the Greenwood area and purchase them from black owners with an eye towards relocating black residents and turning the area into an industrial and wholesale district.[74] The Real Estate Exchange’s leadership ranks included W. Tate Brady, a known member of the Ku Klux Klan,[75] and the plan—though never realized—had the support of some white civic organizations, businessmen, and “political elements.”[76]

On the same day, the City Commission passed a Fire Ordinance that required any new structures in Greenwood to be at least two stories high and be made of concrete, brick, or steel.[77] The ordinance effectively prevented many black Tulsans from rebuilding because such materials were prohibitively expensive.[78] Most of the Greenwood houses that burned down were wood-framed.[79] Tulsa Mayor T.D. Evans supported the ordinance, suggesting a railroad and railroad station be built in the area: “Let the negro be placed farther to the north and east,” he said, urging the commissioners to get in touch with the railroads as soon as possible.[80] Merritt J. Glass, the Real Estate Exchange president, argued that building a railroad station in Greenwood “will draw more distinctive lines between them and thereby eliminate the intermingling of the lower elements of the two races … the root of all evil which should not exist.”[81]

From a makeshift tent office on Archer Street,[82] B.C. Franklin, who escaped his burning law office during the massacre, and a group of his associates brought a case challenging the zoning ordinance. The case, Joe Lockard v. the City of Tulsa, demanded that Joe Lockard, owner of a wood framed house “on Lot seventeen (17) in Block two … in the City of Tulsa” that had been burned down during the massacre,[83] be able to build on his property and that the ordinance be enjoined.[84] Ultimately, they won. In September 1921, the Oklahoma Supreme Court found the ordinance unconstitutional because it would deprive Greenwood property owners of their property rights if they were not able to rebuild.[85]

Black Tulsans did manage to rebuild for a time, despite the hostility of powerful sectors of the city and state. They also did so at their own expense, with no assistance or restitution for the lives or property lost and at the cost of other opportunities they had to forgo, such as investments in education, health, or other business ventures.

Greenwood Rebuilds, Subsequent Decline

Starting in the early 1930s and 40s, Greenwood began to thrive again as a prosperous economic center. The “Tulsa Race Riot Commission” report describes this renaissance:

The tragedy and triumph of North Tulsa transcends numbers and amounts and who owned what portion of what lot. The African American community not only thrived in an era of harsh “Jim Crow” and oppression, but when the bigotry of the majority destroyed their healthy community, the residents worked together and rebuilt. Not only did they rebuild, they again successfully ran their businesses, schooled their children, and worshiped at their magnificent churches in the shadow of a growing Ku Klux Klan in Oklahoma and continuing legal racial separatism for more than forty years. In fact, one of the largest Ku Klux Klan buildings, not only in the state, but the country [sic] stood within a short walking distance of their community.[86]

A local business directory, compiled by the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce sometime after the beginning of World War II, describes the area as “unquestionably the greatest assembly of Negro shops and stores to be found anywhere in America” and lists hundreds of businesses.[87] The introduction to the directory states:

Perhaps nowhere else in America is there a single thoroughfare which registers such significance to local Negros as North Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa. Today, after some twenty-five years of steady growth and development, Greenwood is something more than an Avenue, it is an institution. The people of Tulsa have come to regard it as a symbol of racial prominence and progress—not only for the restricted area of the street itself, but for the Negro section of Tulsa as a whole.

However, black people in Tulsa were still living in a system that was heavily biased against them. With no restitution or reparation for the harms done to them, and ongoing racial disparities in access to education, health, housing, and other social and economic rights and benefits, the cards were stacked against Greenwood’s ongoing success.

Ultimately, a complex set of factors that included government policies that disproportionately burdened black people resulted in Greenwood’s long-term decline. These included federal redlining and “urban renewal” programs pursued by the city and state.

Redlining

As a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC),[88] established in 1933, embarked on a City Survey Program,[89] using data from mortgage lenders and real estate developers, to investigate real estate conditions and assess desirability of neighborhoods.[90] The program resulted in a series of color-coded maps in 239 cities, including Tulsa, Oklahoma.[91] Neighborhoods were graded with one of four categories from green (“the best”) to red (“hazardous”).[92] Local mortgage companies deemed “redlined” areas, comprised of mostly low-income minorities, to be credit risks, making it impossible for many residents to access mortgage loans, furthering the homeownership and wealth gap.[93]

Thirty-five percent of Tulsa, including parts of the historic Greenwood District and surrounding areas, was deemed hazardous by the HOLC.[94] While the 1968 Fair Chance at Housing Act outlawed redlining and other racially discriminatory housing practices, the effects of that racial and economic segregation persist today.[95] A 2018 study shows that most of the neighborhoods that the HOLC marked as “hazardous” between 1935 and 1939 are low-income and minority neighborhoods today.[96]

A recent strategy document by the City of Tulsa recognizes that “historical actions including redlining and exclusionary zoning have led to disinvestment in neighborhoods that were once thriving in Tulsa.”[97] Additionally, a 2018 analysis of publicly available data under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act found that black Tulsans were 2.4 times more likely to be denied home mortgage applications than white applicants in Tulsa.[98]

“Urban Renewal”

Greenwood’s decline was further accelerated by “urban renewal”[99]—a set of federally financed policies aimed at rehabilitating areas considered blighted by such methods as condemning property and paying occupants to move or using eminent domain, and then redeveloping the land.[100] Urban renewal helped to clear areas of downtown Tulsa including the northeast corridor of downtown, part of the Greenwood neighborhood.[101]

By the early 1970s, these policies had claimed and demolished so many businesses and homes in Tulsa, more than 1,000, many of them in Greenwood, that black Tulsans would come to call urban renewal “urban removal,” according to Hirsch.[102] This led black Tulsans to move north, east, and west—but with few exceptions, not to the more prosperous neighborhoods south of the railroad tracks.[103]


Highway construction projects, which sought to “redeem” urban areas, disproportionately low-income and black, were a significant aspect of the urban renewal era.[104] Beginning in the 1950s, the city condemned property in areas including Greenwood, forcing the residents to move, in order to build seven expressways, funded mostly by the federal government,[105] to build the Inner Dispersal Loop (IDL), which formed a ring around downtown.[106] Completed in the 1970s, the north side of the IDL cut a high concrete swath along the southern boundary of Greenwood while the elevated Cherokee Expressway runs along the eastern edge of Greenwood. Two highways bound the remaining population in Greenwood’s core and created dead space under the overpasses and near the exits.[107] It also displaced many families and businesses.[108]

A May 4, 1967 article in the Tulsa Tribune about how Greenwood had changed, said:

The crosstown expressway slices across the 100 block of North Greenwood Avenue, across the very buildings that [were] once “a mecca for the Negro businessman” … There will still be a Greenwood Avenue, but it will be a lonely, forgotten lane ducking under the shadow of a big overpass.[109]

Other property targeted by the Tulsa Urban Renewal Authority includes the site where Oklahoma State University (OSU-Tulsa) now sits, which is where Booker T. Washington High School, Greenwood’s main high school before the massacre, was located.[110] According to the “Tulsa Race Riot Commission’s” report, “urban renewal and the accumulation of North Greenwood property for the highway and Rogers State University (now OSU-Tulsa), create a gap in the records of property and cause old addresses, legal and otherwise, do [sic] not display on the county clerk computer system.”[111]

 Hirsch concludes that highway construction and urban renewal, combined with other economic factors, resulted in Greenwood’s economic collapse. The outcome, he wrote, was in “eerie parallel to what the city had tried to do after the riot: drive blacks away from downtown Tulsa.”[112]

Tulsa historian Hannibal Johnson notes that if it were not for the efforts of the massacre survivors, like E.L. Goodwin Sr., who by the 1970s owned Greenwood’s last remaining law practice and had acquired several other Greenwood properties, what is left of Greenwood might not exist.[113] The Tulsa Urban Renewal Authority targeted Goodwin’s property but he refused to sell unless he got outright title, or an option to purchase the remaining buildings on the once-famous Greenwood Avenue. The Tulsa Urban Renewal Authority agreed.[114] Thanks to the efforts of Goodwin and others, Hannibal writes, the 100 block of Greenwood Avenue, located between Archer Street and the Interstate 244 overpass remains somewhat preserved “but it is a skeleton of its former self” when it was home to 242 black-owned and operated businesses in a 35-square-block area.[115] Goodwin’s brother, James, later reflected:

What was characteristic of urban renewal authorities across the country, was that right through the core of the black business community, like an arrow through the heart, came the expressways. It happened here, in Oakland, Chicago and a host of other cities.[116]

A report by Tulsa’s Neighborhood Regeneration Project in 1978 described Greenwood as a place “that is left today [with] generally abandoned and underutilized buildings, sitting in a sparse population of poor and elderly black[s] awaiting the relocation counselors of the Urban Renewal Program.”[117] And according to a 1985 article in The Oklahoman, “by 1979, little remained of the original district but a few boarded-up brick buildings at Greenwood and Archer and a small group of businessmen who comprised the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.”[118]

Poverty, Race, and Geography

(This section through “The Fight for Reparations and Economic Justice in Tulsa” are adapted from the Human Rights Watch Report “Get on the Ground: Policing, Poverty and Racial Inequality in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” September 2019, pp. 12-13, 30-48).[119]

The effects of the Greenwood massacre and subsequent discrimination continue to be felt in the present day. Black neighborhoods remain underdeveloped and under resourced. Mistrust of police is a legacy of the massacre. Aggressive policing in the present serves as a reminder and even an extension of the past.

Large percentages of black people in Tulsa live in North Tulsa, above the 244 Freeway and Admiral Boulevard, and in smaller enclaves throughout the city like the area around 61st and Peoria Street, which has a large number of public housing projects.

The geographic segregation tends to track poverty rates. North Tulsa is significantly poorer than other parts of the city. There are few businesses and few large-scale employers there. Investment in the community has been greatly lacking. Some 33.5 percent of North Tulsans live in poverty, compared to 13.4 percent in South Tulsa. Unemployment overall for black people is 2.4 times the rate for white people. There are huge differences in life expectancy between north and south. North Tulsa has no traditional supermarkets with fresh meats and produce, and it is hard to find nutritious foods. Schools in Oklahoma, in general, are underfunded and in crisis. Tulsa schools are extremely segregated, with black students far more likely to be in schools characterized by high rates of poverty and high absenteeism, drop-out, and turnover rates. Black students are suspended from school much more frequently than white students.

As of mid-2019, Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum had recognized these significant inequalities and was taking important steps to address them. However, the city budget remained tilted towards policing. Over one-third of the city’s general fund was going to the police department, whose budget continued to grow. The city recently approved an additional sales tax to pay for a major expansion of the police department.

The racial and class dynamics of modern-day Tulsa exist in the context of a highly segregated city.[120] Racial divisions and economic underdevelopment, particularly in North Tulsa, contribute to crime, which serves as a rationale for aggressive police activity. Imposition and enforcement of criminal debt takes money from poor people and people of color in Tulsa, who tend to be poor, draining resources from their families and communities.

The poverty and lack of economic development of North Tulsa result from a variety of factors, including historical neglect dating back to the destruction of Greenwood in 1921. Reverend Gerald Davis of The United League for Social Action (TULSA) said that there is a great deal of investment in economic development in South Tulsa, including street improvements, bus lines, sewer lines, and other infrastructure, but politicians tend to ignore North Tulsa.[121] A prevalent attitude among people with political and economic power is “you don’t want to go there, build there, buy there.”[122]

Davis attributes this neglect, in large part, to “systemic racism,” and says that it has persisted from the time of legalized racial segregation.[123] Systemic or structural racism is caused by public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms working in various, often reinforcing, ways to perpetuate racial group inequity.[124] These policies, practices and norms serve to benefit and privilege white people while denying basic rights and limiting opportunities for people of color. Systemic racism does not depend on racism of individuals or on overt discriminatory intent, but it can exist even in a culture that disavows racial bias.

Many community leaders from North Tulsa agree on the need for structural change in the neighborhoods where crime occurs, including investment in education, job training, infrastructure, business development, entrepreneurship, and employment opportunities, not more abusive policing.[125]

Poverty, race, and geography correlate substantially in Tulsa. The line dividing North Tulsa from the rest of the city is often recognized as Admiral Place and Interstate 244, which run alongside each other east to west across the city.[126] About half of all black people in Tulsa live in North Tulsa, though this section only has 21 percent of the city’s total population.[127]  The seven zip codes identified[128] as comprising North Tulsa have a total population of approximately 85,000 people according to recent census data.[129]


The median yearly household income for this entire area is $28,867.[130] By contrast, the six zip codes identified with South Tulsa have a total population of just over 127,000 people, and a median yearly household income almost double, at $59,908. Median household income for black households throughout Tulsa is below $30,000; it is above $50,000 for white households.[131]

Just over one-third of people living in North Tulsa are below the poverty line, and 35.7 percent are black.[132] Just 13.4 percent of South Tulsans are below the poverty line, and only 9.1 percent of South Tulsans are black. In North Tulsa, 36 percent of the black population and 32 percent of the white population are below the poverty line.[133]


Individual zip codes within North Tulsa that have higher percentages of black residents also have higher poverty rates. Zip code 74106 is made up of 67.2 percent black residents. It has the highest poverty level of any Tulsa zip code at 41 percent.[134] Zip code 74126, just north of 74106, has the second highest percentage of black residents in Tulsa at 57.2 percent, and has a poverty level of 38.5 percent. In contrast, South Tulsa zip code 74137, with only 3.1 percent black residents, has only 7.6 percent of its population living in poverty. Overall, the black population of North Tulsa is about 48,700; the white population is 48,400.

Data from 2017 shows that white people made up 38 percent of all people living in poverty in Tulsa; black people were 20.7 percent; Latinos, 18.2 percent; people identified as multi-racial, 9.1 percent and Native Americans, almost 3.9 percent.[135] However, the poverty rate for black people throughout the city is about 33.5 percent, while the rate for white people is just under 13 percent.[136]

North Tulsa has relatively few businesses and shopping districts, compared to other parts of the city.[137] They tend to be small and do not provide many employment opportunities.


According to a city study on inequality, South Tulsa had a two-and-a-half times greater presence of small businesses per resident than North Tulsa; East Tulsa’s rate was almost double.[138] The study found that North Tulsa had many payday lenders, which typically carry extortionate rates of interest that often keep poor people trapped in debt, and few banks that might invest in community development.[139] North Tulsa has large numbers of dilapidated residential and commercial properties.[140]


According to the city study, North Tulsa had the lowest labor force participation and fewest jobs of any region of the city.[141] Overall unemployment, defined as the rate of individuals participating in the labor force but unable to find work, is 2.37 times higher for black than for white Tulsans.[142] The unemployment rate in North Tulsa only is 14 percent for black people and 11 percent for white people.[143]


Crime and law enforcement impact economic opportunities. People with criminal records face serious barriers to getting jobs.[144] Those coming out of jail or prison have few options and are often burdened by court-imposed debt that can result in further arrest for failure to pay, and loss of employment opportunities.[145]

Health

Tulsa’s racial and economic class segregation is reflected in differences in “quality of life” factors between different sections of the city. A 2015 study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health found the lowest life expectancy in Tulsa in the poorest areas with the greatest concentration of black residents.[146]

The North Tulsa zip code 74106, with the city’s highest percentages of black population and of residents living in poverty, had an average life expectancy of 70 years.[147] South Tulsa zip codes 74133 and 74137, both with poverty rates below 10 percent and black populations at 7.5 percent and 3.1 percent respectively, had average lifespans of 81 years.[148]

Throughout Tulsa, infant mortality rates for black people are almost triple that for white people.[149] Rates of heart disease are considerably higher, and rates of low birth weight children are nearly twice as high for black people as for white people. [150]

“Social and economic factors are well known to be strong determinants of health outcomes,”[151] according to the St. Johns Health System community needs assessment, which identified nearly all of the North Tulsa zip codes as locations in Tulsa County with the greatest need.[152]

Nutrition

Nutrition and access to nutritious food is an important contributing factor to the overall health of an individual and a community. The state of Oklahoma as a whole suffers from a high rate of food insecurity, with 15.5 percent of all households lacking sufficient nutrition, significantly higher than the national average.[153] Food insecurity and hunger, most prevalent in impoverished communities, increase illness and health-care costs, decrease academic achievement and weaken the labor force, all exacerbating the existing poverty.[154]

“Food deserts are geographic areas where grocery stores are scarce and are void of fresh produce, usually found in low-income areas.”[155] About 19 percent of Tulsa County residents live in areas considered “food deserts,”[156] and 45 percent of Tulsa’s population have low access to nutritious food.[157] The areas considered food deserts are primarily in North Tulsa.[158]

Lack of Grocery Stores

Instead of grocery stores with adequate supplies of fresh produce, North Tulsa has “Dollar” convenience stores that primarily sell processed foods with little nutritional value.[159] Activists in North Tulsa, including City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper, have called for regulations to limit the number of these stores. Hall-Harper and the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation are spearheading an effort to use Community Development Block Grant money to develop a traditional grocery store in a central North Tulsa location.[160]

Residents of North Tulsa now must drive great distances to get healthy food.[161] Some do not own cars, while many that do are not able to afford extra gas. Some have had their licenses suspended due to warrants or criminal court debt. Driving exposes people to aggressive police enforcement tactics.

Education

Oklahoma schools are underfunded; Oklahoma teacher pay ranked ahead of only Mississippi and South Dakota in 2016;[162] 20 percent of the state’s schools were reduced to four-day weeks in 2018 due to budget cuts.[163] The Tulsa schools lost 628 teachers in the 2016-2017 school year, due in large part to low salaries.[164] Schools lack adequate funding for textbooks and repairs.[165]

Over the past decade, Oklahoma schools have lost 30 percent of their funding, adjusting for inflation.[166] The state legislature cannot raise taxes without a three-quarters majority,[167] making it extremely difficult to raise revenue through taxation.

Inadequate school funding negatively impacts low-income schools much more than those with wealthier student populations.[168] Local schools raise money from their communities and benefit from parents contributing for supplies, sports, music programs, and other activities to enrich the lives of students. Schools in very low-income communities, such as North Tulsa, lack this alternative source of income.

Along with segregated neighborhoods come segregated schools. The Tulsa area has 12 schools with greater than 75 percent black enrollment, 19 schools with greater than 50 percent black enrollment, mostly in the city of Tulsa, and 71 schools, almost all in suburban school districts, with less than 6 percent black enrollment.[169]

The percentage of students eligible for free and reduced school lunches is often used as a proxy for the percentage of its students living in poverty. The average black student in Tulsa public schools attends a school where over 81 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced school lunch, as compared to 77 percent for the average Latino student, and 55 percent for the average white student.[170]

High poverty schools have much greater rates of absenteeism and students are more likely to leave after one year than are students at predominantly white lower poverty schools.[171] Turnover and interruption in attendance in a school make it difficult for all students to learn,[172] and reflect the stresses of poverty that greatly impact scholastic achievement, including poor health, hunger, and exposure to crime and violence.[173]

Black students receive school suspensions at a rate 2.5 times greater than white students, and at a significantly greater rate than Latino students.[174] Despite recent policy changes to de-emphasize removing children from school,[175] which have reduced overall suspensions,[176] there remain significant differences in suspension, dropout, and mobility rates based on race and wealth.[177]

These educational deficiencies, all problems in Tulsa’s under-resourced, low-income public schools, are likely contributors to crime,[178] as young people who fail in school have fewer economic opportunities, are more likely to be unemployed, lack legal options for survival, and have to deal with other stresses that accompany poverty.[179]

Police Funding in Tulsa

Tulsa devotes much of its budget to policing. Policing has accounted for about one-third of the outlays from the general fund, the city’s primary operating fund,[180] over the past five years, and accounts for by far the largest general fund outlays. By contrast, “public works and transportation” made up about 10 percent of the budget in FY18-19, and social and economic development about 4 percent. [181]

When city revenues dropped significantly in FY 2014-2015, the mayor had other city departments take cuts to allow for increases in the police department.[182] Both city[183] and county[184] authorities have recently put public money into building, renovating, expanding, and operating jails.[185]

The 1921 “Tulsa Race Riot Commission”

For generations, the 1921 race massacre was absent from Oklahoma history books.[186] It was deliberately covered up and eventually disappeared from the memories of succeeding generations outside the Greenwood and North Tulsa districts.[187] “Oklahoma schools did not talk about it. In fact, newspapers didn’t even print any information about the Tulsa Race Riot,” US Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma said. “It was completely ignored. It was one of those horrible events that everyone wanted to just sweep under the rug and ignore.”[188]

In fall 2020, for the first time, the Oklahoma Education Department is adding the 1921 Tulsa race massacre to its curriculum.[189] Over the past several decades, members of Tulsa’s black community, some descendants or relatives of descendants of the massacre, many of them now living in other parts of North Tulsa, and other community leaders, have been mobilizing to memorialize the Greenwood massacre, obtain some measure of justice for the survivors and others harmed, and repair the damage that was done.

When formed in 1997, the 11-member “Tulsa Race Riot Commission” was charged with “developing an historical record of the Tulsa Race Riot,” including identifying witnesses, gathering documents, and obtaining physical evidence.[190] They identified 118 survivors and at least another 176 descendants of massacre victims.[191] The report concluded “these were not any number of multiple acts of homicide; this was one act of horror … reparations are the right thing to do.”[192]

The commission recommended that the state legislature, the Governor, the Tulsa mayor, and the city council take the following actions:

  • Make direct payment of reparations to "riot" survivors and descendants;
  • Create a scholarship fund available to “students affected by the riot;”
  • Establish an economic development enterprise zone in the historic Greenwood district;
  • Create a memorial for the riot victims and for the burial of any human remains found in the search for unmarked graves of riot victims.[193]

Most of these recommendations have not been realized. To the extent some of them have, they have been mostly funded by private actors. The commission had no legislative authority. Following the release of the commission’s report, Oklahoma state legislators passed the “1921 Tulsa Race Riot Reconciliation Act.”[194] This Act adopted many of the findings of the "Tulsa Race Riot Commission," recognizing that claims that the massacre was due to a "negro uprising" were incorrect, and acknowledging that a "conspiracy of silence" served the "dominant interests of the state," which was eager to attract new business and settlers and for which the massacre was a "public relations nightmare."[195] Subsequently, the legislature also created a memorial fund that could receive private and public resources for the purpose of creating a memorial run by the Oklahoma Historical Society,[196] and the Greenwood Area Redevelopment Authority, to “facilitate the redevelopment of the Greenwood area”[197]  as well as a scholarship fund,[198] but little public money has been appropriated to maintain those entities.[199] None of the legislation provided financial compensation to survivors or descendants of survivors of the massacre.

The Call for Reparations and Legal Justice

The Tulsa Reparations Coalition (TRC) was formed on April 7, 2001,[200] and led a campaign to seek reparations through a possible lawsuit[201] and to convince the government, at minimum, to fully implement the “Tulsa Race Riot Commission’s” recommendations.[202]  They received endorsements for their call to action from individuals and organizations across the United States.[203]

In the fall of 2001, then-Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating rejected the state’s culpability in the massacre and maintained the position that Oklahoma state law prohibited reparations from being administered on the state’s behalf.[204] In a letter to the TRC, Governor Keating wrote: “I have carefully reviewed the findings of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission and, contrary to the statement in your letter, I do not believe that it assigns culpability for the riot to the state.”[205] The Commission’s report does, in fact, document actions by the National Guard that contributed to the massacre.

Subsequently, the TRC enlisted the support of the Reparations Coordinating Committee,[206] a group of lawyers seeking to administer legal reparatory justice.[207] In 2003, nearly two years after the “Tulsa Race Riot Commission” issued its final report, a legal team—including Charles Ogletree Jr., Johnnie Cochran Jr., and other prominent US civil rights lawyers—sued the city of Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department, and the state of Oklahoma on behalf of more than 200 survivors and descendants of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.[208]

Lawyers argued that the survivors and descendants were entitled to “restitution and repair,” for the injuries due to the action or inaction of Tulsa and Oklahoma officials during and following the massacre.[209] Specifically, they alleged that they had been physically or emotionally injured or that their relatives had been killed, and that they or their relatives, had personal property that was burned, looted, or otherwise destroyed. They held the defendants responsible because they "routinely under-investigated, under-responded, undercharged, mishandled and failed to protect Plaintiffs from a series of criminal acts or prosecute those responsible for such acts."[210]

The US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma dismissed the case based on the statute of limitations. The plaintiffs acknowledged that Oklahoma’s two-year statute of limitations for civil actions applied but argued that a "conspiracy of silence" surrounding the massacre and its aftermath delayed the accrual of their claims until issuance of the “Tulsa Race Riot Report” in February 2001.[211] The court found that extraordinary circumstances sufficient to toll the statute of limitations existed. These included: a limited ability to obtain facts, fear of a repeat of the “riot,” inequities in the justice system, Ku Klux Klan domination in the courts, and the Jim Crow era. However, finding “no comfort or satisfaction in the result,” it held that those circumstances dissipated in the 1960s.[212] Later that year, an appellate court affirmed that opinion, noting that it too took “no great comfort” in the decision, and that sometimes statutes of limitations “make it impossible to enforce what were otherwise perfectly valid claims.”[213] In 2005, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case without comment.[214]

Despite these setbacks, descendants of the survivors of the massacre, their relatives, and others, continue to press their claims for justice. Authorities are also taking some steps to address the massacre’s legacy. In 2017, as the 100th year since the Tulsa massacre approached, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Oklahoma US Senator Kevin Matthews, announced the formation of the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.[215]


The Centennial Commission delegated responsibility to five unique committees to develop meaningful initiatives for Greenwood residents;[216] they worked with Tulsa Public Schools to develop a curriculum on the Tulsa Massacre and sponsored the installation of a Black Wall Street Mural near the Greenwood Cultural Center.[217] This center, opened in 1995, offers educational and cultural programming, and describes itself as the “keeper of the flame for the Black Wall Street era.”[218] One of the Centennial Commission’s main projects for the district is the Greenwood Cultural Center’s renovation and expansion. The Greenwood Rising History Center, originally designed to be constructed next to the Greenwood Cultural Center, will now be built on the corner of Greenwood and Archer, thanks mostly to private donations (including a land donation), as well as state funding and money from local taxes.[219]


Reverend Robert Turner of the historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, damaged in the massacre, embarks on a reconciliatory pilgrimage of sorts from Vernon AME to Tulsa City Hall every Wednesday, demanding “reparations now.”[220] Turner and others support the reintroduction of a bill, H.R. 98, the John Hope Franklin Tulsa-Greenwood Race Riot Claims Accountability Act, initially introduced in the US House of Representatives in 2013, which would create a new federal cause of action for harms resulting from the deprivation of rights during the Tulsa race massacre or its aftermath against responsible parties for five years following passage of the Act.[221] They also support a petition calling on the state to pass legislation to clear legal hurdles to civil lawsuits related to the 1921 massacre.[222]

In May 2021, the Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition will erect the first comprehensive, public memorial honoring the victims of the 1921 massacre on the grounds of Vernon African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, which has since been rebuilt.[223] The memorial will be funded entirely by private donations.[224]


In 1998, consultants to the commission began a limited investigation into the potential presence of mass graves at three locations.[225] In 1999, a white man who was 10 at the time of the massacre came forward to say that after the massacre he saw white men digging trenches near one of the three locations, Oaklawn Cemetery, and that when he peaked inside crates nearby he saw the charred bodies of black men.[226] Based on this information, further investigation was authorized but not pursued directly after the commission issued its report. [227] In 2018, after being questioned about a report published in the Washington Post, [228]  exposing unresolved questions surrounding the massacre and the failure to investigate the existence of mass graves,[229] Mayor Bynum said he would restart it.[230] In early 2020, investigators were scheduled to begin excavation in the area of Oaklawn Cemetery but at the time of this writing it had been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.[231]


The Tulsa Chamber of Commerce has recently apologized for its actions in the wake of the massacre; it also donated copies of minutes from its 1921 meetings to the Greenwood Cultural Center.[232]

Tulsa’s Economic Development Plans

Tulsa has undertaken programs supposedly aimed at revitalizing and developing economic opportunities in the Greenwood area. In 2009, former Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor, announced the development of “ONEOK Field,” a minor league baseball stadium, aimed at continuing the “redevelopment of downtown Tulsa and the revitalization of the historic Greenwood District.”[233]

Current Tulsa Mayor Bynum is supporting a plan to bring a BMX Olympic arena and headquarters to Greenwood, a plan he says will bring job and other opportunities to black Tulsans in the area.[234]  The plan includes significant public funding.[235] When asked about reparations, Mayor Bynum said he prefers to focus attention on the money that the city is putting into building and development of areas near historic Greenwood.[236]

But community members do not necessarily agree that this approach will help them. North Tulsa and Greenwood community leaders have raised concerns that businesses and political leaders developing the Greenwood area are not doing enough to preserve black culture in the historic area,[237] making it unaffordable for many black Tulsans, and not prioritizing economic opportunities for them.[238] J. Kavin Ross, from the Oklahoma Eagle Newspaper, a black-owned publication that has been located in Greenwood since 1936, described survivors and descendants having to withstand the legacy of displacement in Tulsa, especially in Greenwood.[239] “With gentrification—we say, now you want to take an interest in Greenwood and pimp our history? And you are going to build these apartments down here, and you know darn well we are not going to spend $1,000 for a closet room,” Ross said. “We will never be able to afford to live in Greenwood.”[240]

According to data analysis by the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School (see below), there are net declines in low-income populations (at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line), as well as the black population, in the historic Greenwood district, downtown Tulsa, and surrounding areas a little further north and east—including the Tulsa Arts and Blue Dome districts.[241] The analysis also shows areas further north and east in Tulsa have higher concentrations of low-income people.[242] The data suggests that Greenwood’s residents are being displaced to areas further from downtown and out of the historic Greenwood District.[243]


Ricco Wright, owner of the Black Wall Street Gallery near historic Greenwood,[244] said the new coffee shops, boutiques, and new cycling studio, are examples of “gentrification that has infringed upon the Greenwood District over the years and slowly robbed the area of its once proud African American history.”[245]

In 2019, hundreds of residents attended a meeting at which city council members discussed recent development plans for North Tulsa—labeled the “Greenwood-Unity Heritage Neighborhoods Sector Urban Renewal Plan” —that apparently included plans to take some property in the area by eminent domain.[246] So many people showed up for the meeting that Fire Marshals prevented people from entering as they would have exceeded the building’s 217-person capacity. Scores of angry residents stood in the lobby outside the chamber, and crowds remained outside the doors of city hall itself.[247] North Tulsa residents expressed opposition to the city’s amended plans to use eminent domain to seize their property, displacing residents.[248]

Brenda Nails-Alford, a resident of North Tulsa who attended the meeting, said that her ancestors lost their property in the 1921 race massacre and, again, during urban renewal efforts. She said she feared being displaced from her current home: “as a third-generation to uphold it, I am very, very upset that [the Tulsa Development Authority] want[s] to take it,” she said. “It is the one thing that you left us, and we will not give it up.”[249]

After the meeting, the Tulsa Development Authority (TDA) suspended its plans.

The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, a local non-profit organization, is trying to raise $1 million to preserve the last 10 buildings of the original Black Wall Street on Greenwood Avenue.[250] The National Park Service recently awarded the non-profit $500,000 toward their fundraising goal as a part of their grant initiative to preserve black sites and history across the United States.[251]

However, in 2018, members of the Black business community established the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce (BWSCC) as an alternative to the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, which they felt was not meeting their needs.[252] Founders also aimed to bolster black entrepreneurship in the area and help rebuild Black Wall Street.[253]  Tulsa City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper, also Membership Committee & Power Group Chair for the BWSCC,[254] told the Tulsa World  that she and others started the BWSCC to raise money to rebuild Black Wall Street and the surrounding North Tulsa community. The funds raised will be “used to buy back land based on the wants and needs of the community.”[255] Many are hopeful for an authentic rebuilding and economic development effort, but others say too much damage has been done to Black Wall Street and Greenwood to revive it back to the thriving hub it once was.[256]


The historic Greenwood district offered proof that black people could create economic opportunity, in the shadows of systematic oppression and white supremacy. Greenwood’s restoration was left in the hands of massacre survivors nearly 100 years ago and today their descendants and other community members are left fighting to preserve what is left.

Thus far, the city’s recent development efforts have fallen short of delivering on promises of economic benefits for Tulsa’s black citizens. Without significant and concrete actions and investment, informed by the community’s wishes, to repair the cumulative losses of the black community in Tulsa, the legacy of the massacre and its aftermath will persist.  

Right to an Effective Remedy and the Tulsa Race Massacre

The United States is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), both of which guarantee the right to an effective remedy for human rights violations, including acts of racial discrimination.[257]

This right requires that governments ensure access to justice, truthful information about the violation, and reparation.[258]

Victims of gross violations of human rights, like the Tulsa Race Massacre, should receive full and effective reparations that are proportional to the gravity of the violation and the harm suffered.[259] The failure to provide such a remedy itself does continuing harm. As noted in the preamble to the United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, “in honouring the victims’ right to benefit from remedies and reparation, the international community keeps faith with the plight of victims, survivors and future human generations and reaffirms the international legal principles of accountability, justice and the rule of law.”[260]

Reparation includes the following:

  • Restitution: measures to restore the situation that existed before the wrongful act(s) were committed, such as restoration of liberty, employment and return to the place of residence and return of property.[261]
  • Compensation: monetary payment for “economically assessable damage” arising from the violation, including physical or mental harm, material losses, and lost opportunities.[262]
  • Rehabilitation: provision of “medical and psychological care as well as legal and social services.”[263]
  • Satisfaction: includes a range of measures involving truth-telling, statements aimed at ending ongoing abuses, commemorations or tributes to the victims, andexpressions of regret or formal apology for wrongdoing.[264]
  • Guarantees of non-repetition: includes institutional and legal reform as well as reforms to government practices to end the abuse.[265]

States should “provide reparation to victims for acts or omissions which can be attributed to the State and constitute gross violations of international human rights law.”[266]

The Tulsa Race Massacre and surrounding events led directly to the loss of hundreds of lives, loss of liberty, substantial personal and business property loss, and damage to objects of cultural significance. Compounding inequalities stemming from the massacre led to lower life expectancy, increased need for mental health services, loss of economic opportunity, and other harms to community members over decades.

Yet the victims of the massacre have yet to receive an effective remedy.

Existing judicial mechanisms have failed to provide that remedy in part due to the statute of limitations. But international human rights standards provide that such statutes of limitations should not be unduly restrictive—applying a statute of limitations to limit remedies in cases of gross violations of human rights is particularly problematic.[267]

The local and state governments have also failed to provide effective remedies to the victims for the harm suffered due to the government’s role in the massacre, as provided by international standards.[268] To the contrary, the “Tulsa Race Riot Commission” report, as well as other sources, document numerous instances where city and state officials  intentionally blocked social and economic restoration efforts in the aftermath of the massacre for black Tulsans in North Tulsa, including Greenwood.

In situations where those responsible cannot or will not provide reparation, governments—in this case including the US government—should endeavor to establish reparation programs and support victims.[269]

According to the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and racial intolerance, “…historical violations continue [] to impede the enjoyment of human rights.”[270]

This has been the case in Tulsa, where the massacre and surrounding events set the stage for decades of systematic disinvestment in Greenwood and North Tulsa’s black and poor communities. Black and low-income people in Tulsa do not maintain an adequate standard of living and “reinvestment” efforts near and around the Greenwood area have contributed to the decline of social services, employment opportunities, affordable housing, access to medical care, and adequate access to food for black and low-income people who reside there.

The US federal government as well as state and local governments have made reparations in the past to victims of human rights violations.[271] The state of Florida issued reparations for survivors of a massacre[272] similar to Tulsa’s, as well as to their descendants.

Reparations for Slavery

The victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre deserve access to an effective remedy for the harms they have suffered. At the same time, it is important that the United States go beyond reparations in this specific case.

The Tulsa Race Massacre occurred in a context of systemic racism rooted in the US history of slavery, segregation, discrimination, oppression, and violence against black people. The massacre compounded the existing inequality in the system, doing devastating harm to the community, which, despite periods of regeneration and renewal, has never fully recovered—both due to the lack of any meaningful effort to remedy the harm, and because of ongoing systemic racism.

Before the abolishment of the international slave trade in 1808,[273] 400,000 Africans were sold into the United States.[274] The people killed in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre were only some of the thousands of those killed in racial terror lynchings that took place in the US between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and 1950. According to a report by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), an estimated 4,300 racial terror lynchings took place during that time,[275] including those that occurred during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.[276] In the year 1919 alone, more than two dozen different incidents of racially motivated violence took place.[277] Even following the enactment of the emancipation proclamation in 1863, many US cities and states, including in the north, implemented laws and policies that legalized racial segregation and stripped Black people of their rights.[278]

The US government has never adequately accounted for these wrongs or the subsequent 20th century policy decisions that resulted in the structural racism, economic, education, and health inequalities, housing segregation, and discriminatory policing policies and practices, described above, that exists today.[279]

Human Rights Watch has long supported reparations to address the brutality of slavery and historical racist laws that set different rules for Black people and white people.[280]

Article 6 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (ICERD), establishes the right to remedy and to seek adequate reparation for acts of racial discrimination like slavery and the many crimes against Black people that have followed from it in the United States.[281]

But governments are also independently obligated to address structural discrimination. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the UN body that interprets the ICERD and monitors compliance with it, has noted that “racism and racial discrimination against people of African descent are expressed in many forms, notably structural and cultural.”[282]

The committee added that this structural discrimination, rooted in slavery, is:

[E]vident in the situations of inequality affecting them and reflected, inter alia, in the following domains: their grouping, together with indigenous peoples, among the poorest of the poor; their low rate of participation and representation in political and institutional decision-making processes; additional difficulties they face in access to and completion and quality of education, which results in the transmission of poverty from generation to generation; inequality in access to the labour market; limited social recognition and valuation of their ethnic and cultural diversity; and a disproportionate presence in prison populations.[283]

States are obligated under ICERD to overcome this structural discrimination, including through “special measures” such as affirmative action.[284] Also, states are obligated to “[t]ake steps to remove all obstacles that prevent the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by people of African descent especially in the areas of education, housing, employment and health.”[285]

As noted by the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and racial intolerance in an August 2019 report to the UN General Assembly, “reparations for slavery and colonialism include not only justice and accountability for historic wrongs, but also the eradication of persisting structures of racial inequality, subordination and discrimination that were built under slavery and colonialism to deprive non-whites of their fundamental human rights.”[286] In that sense, “reparations concern both our past and our present.”[287]

The UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent also stated, upon the conclusion of a visit to the United States, that “past injustices and crimes against African Americans need to be addressed with reparatory justice.”[288]

Reparations should be based not just on past harms but on contemporary ones too—the question is how to do so fairly, timely, and equitably.[289]

At the national level, Human Rights Watch supports House Resolution (H.R.) 40,[290] which proposes creating a commission to study the impacts of slavery and make recommendations around “apology and compensation.”[291] This bill—titled “40” as a reminder of the never-fulfilled promise made to free slaves to give each “40 acres and a mule” after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation[292]­—has been circulating in Congress for the past 30 years. It has never been voted out of the House Judiciary Committee, where it has been introduced, but support for it is growing, demonstrated by the long list of co-sponsors, now at 126, all but one of them signing on in the last year.[293] The US Congress should pass H.R. 40, and the president should sign it into law.

The recommendations below to the Tulsa, Oklahoma, and US governments are primarily focused on the need for proportionate and prompt reparations for the massacre and its aftermath. However, they also touch upon broader reparations for slavery, and the obligation of governments to address ongoing structural racism.

Reparations for the Tulsa Race Massacre

The “Tulsa Race Riot Commission” made its recommendations to the state of Oklahoma and the city of Tulsa nearly 20 years ago, but they have yet to be fully implemented. The longer harms go unaddressed, the more difficult and complex it will be to develop adequate reparation mechanisms that are proportionate to the gravity of the crime and to the harm caused.

To the US Congress

Statute of Limitations

A member of the US Congress should reintroduce, and Congress should pass, legislation to clear the legal hurdle that the statute of limitations poses to the assertion of civil claims related to the Tulsa race massacre and its aftermath.[294]

To State and Local Authorities

Immediate Compensation to Survivors

At the time of writing,[295] Viola Fletcher, residing in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, who just celebrated her 106th birthday,[296] and Lessie Benningfield Randle, aged 105, living in Tulsa were the only known living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre living in Oklahoma. Neither they nor any descendants of survivors have ever received any restitution or compensation for the harm they suffered. A coalition of local organizations, including the Terence Crutcher Foundation, the Gathering Place, Revitalize T-Town, and other community members, recently restored Randle’s home in North Tulsa, but the project was paid for entirely out of private funds.[297]

Given Fletcher and Randle’s advanced age, the city and state governments should immediately take steps to provide reparation to them, including in the form of direct compensation and acts to recognize, memorialize, and apologize for the harm done.

Statute of Limitations

A member of the Oklahoma legislature should introduce, and the legislature should pass, legislation that would clear the legal hurdle that the Oklahoma statute of limitations now poses to civil claims related to the massacre and its aftermath. In addition, the state of Oklahoma and city of Tulsa should commit not to assert any statute of limitations defense in any claims brought against them in connection with the massacre so that the claims can be heard on the merits.

Recovery of Remains

State and local authorities should continue and fund the investigation into the existence of mass graves currently underway, recover, and identify the remains.

Promptly Develop and Implement a Comprehensive Reparations Plan

State and local authorities should move promptly to develop a comprehensive reparations plan, in close consultation with survivors, descendants, and community members affected by the massacre, that is based on the recommendations of the “Tulsa Race Riot  Commission” report and responsive to developments in the last 20 years. Such a plan should include, as the commission recommended, direct payments to massacre survivors and their descendants. It should also include measures to further rehabilitation, truth-telling, and guarantees of non-repetition.

In designing such a plan, state and local authorities could consider the following measures, some of which community members have recommended:

Rehabilitation, Medical Benefits, and Burial Services

Authorities could offer rehabilitation for survivors and descendants, including free trauma-informed care as a result of the generational impacts of the massacre. The city of Tulsa could work with the Oklahoma Department of Health to issue lifetime medical benefits and burial services to all living survivors and descendants residing in Greenwood and North Tulsa.

Educational Benefits and Scholarships

The city and state should consider substantially expanding the limited existing scholarship award program.[298] One option would be to offer descendants of the massacre and students in the Greenwood and North Tulsa area tuition-free enrollment, especially at the two universities, that appear to have been built through the accumulation of North Greenwood property through urban renewal, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and Langston University-Tulsa.[299] Authorities could also establish, with public funding, in consultation with the Tulsa African Ancestral Society, a birthright program, a free ten-day heritage trip to Africa, for descendants who want to deepen their historical and cultural connection to the African continent.

Economic Development and Investment in the Affected Community

There is great concern in Tulsa’s black community that existing economic development initiatives are not benefiting its members and may even cause further harm. Authorities should develop any plans in close consultation with community members.

Among other options, authorities could consider establishing a business development fund for black residents in Greenwood and North Tulsa and ensuring administration and decision-making for the fund includes leaders from the target communities, and includes a process for consultation with long-time residents. They could actively recruit Greenwood residents to apply for grants or provide community-based block grants for black applicants expressing interest in entrepreneurial activities. They could ensure that a certain percentage of grants benefit black entrepreneurs from Greenwood and North Tulsa.

Historical Memory

A privately funded $3 million campaign to construct Tulsa’s first comprehensive memorial is underway.[300] The city of Tulsa should consider financing the entire project or, at minimum, donating to the campaign.

The city of Tulsa should also consider providing capital endowments for future historical and arts exhibits that capture the full essence of thriving Greenwood, in addition to continuing and implementing plans for the renovation and expansion of the existing Greenwood Cultural Center. To preserve the history and culture of historic Greenwood, the Tulsa Preservation Commission and the Oklahoma Historic Preservation Review Committee could seek to establish Greenwood in the National Historic Registry.[301]

Housing

State and local authorities should consider:

  • Providing subsidized housing, housing assistance, and housing relief services to residents displaced from Greenwood, who now reside in North or East Tulsa, or other parts of the county.
  • Subsidizing home mortgages and rent for long-term residents of Greenwood.
  • Issuing housing vouchers for long-time residents of the Greenwood community to help them stay in their homes when rising housing prices and property taxes increase the risk of displacing them.

Encourage Private Sector Support

State and local authorities could encourage other actors to support reparations as well. In particular, they could:

  • Encourage the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce (formerly the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce), to establish a free and public online database with searchable records from meetings, events, and other official activities, and to allocate significant funding to a reparations program for massacre survivors, descendants, and Greenwood residents.
  • Encourage the Langston University-Tulsa (formerly Rogers State University) and OSU-Tulsa (formerly University Center at Tulsa) to provide records of acquisition and deed transfers of property acquired in the Greenwood area prior to the establishment of the universities and make those records public in order that full disclosure be made of property that was confiscated. These universities could also be encouraged to provide free meeting space for community meetings and events.

Addressing Ongoing Structural Racism and the Legacy of Slavery

To State and Local Governments

  • Collect data and commission expert studies on persistent racial disparities in Tulsa and Oklahoma at large, respectively, in a variety of systems, including housing, health, education, criminal law, access to employment, and access to capital.
  • Review government budgets to direct more resources to social and economic programs in low-income black communities that are impacted by long-term structural racism.
  • Develop and implement programs in various systems—health, housing, education, and criminal law—that are specifically designed to counter the long-term effects of structural racism.

To the US Congress

  • Pass House Resolution (H.R.) 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The expert commission established by H.R. 40 should collect data and produce studies on persistent racial disparities in the United States at large, respectively in a variety of systems, including housing, health, education, criminal law, access to employment, and access to capital. Upon the termination of the commission, Congress should establish another body to collect and produce similar data and studies.
  • Appropriate more resources to federal social and economic programs to address long-term structural racism and provide assistance to low-income black communities.

To the Federal Government

Develop and implement programs in various federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, the Department of Commerce (including the US Small Business Administration), and the Department of Education, that are specifically designed to counter the long-term effects of structural racism.

_________________

[1] Hannibal B. Johnson, Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District (Fort Worth: Eakin Press, 2007); Alfred L. Brophy, Reconstructing the Dreamland: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002); Scott Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982); Tim Madigan, The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2001); James Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance: America’s Worst Race Riot and its Legacy, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002).

[2] “A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921,” (hereinafter “Tulsa Race Riot Report”), February 28, 2001, https://www.okhistory.org/research/forms/freport.pdf (accessed May 11, 2020).

[3] “Get on the Ground!”:  Policing, Poverty, and Racial Inequality in Tulsa, Oklahoma: A Case Study of US Law Enforcement, September 12, 2019, https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/us0919_tulsa_web.pdf.

[4] This section is drawn from the Human Rights Watch report: “Get on the Ground!”:  Policing, Poverty, and Racial Inequality in Tulsa, Oklahoma: A Case Study of US Law Enforcement (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2019), https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/us0919_tulsa_web.pdf, p. 27-30.

[5] Madigan, The Burning, p. 52-54.

[6] Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 37.

[7] Madigan, The Burning, p. 69-71; Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 199.

[8] Madigan, The Burning, p. 76.

[9] Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 27-28. The numbers reported are likely vast underestimates of the number of black people in the US killed through racially motivated violence in those years, as there was no official mechanism to accurately record all the incidents.                                     

[10] Madigan, The Burning, p. 89-98.

[11] Madigan, The Burning, p. 98-99.

[12] Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 40.

[13]  Johnson, Black Wall Street, p.  39-40.

[14] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 63.

[15]  Madigan, The Burning, p. 101-103, 120-121; Mary E. Jones Parrish, Events of the Tulsa Disaster (Tulsa: John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, 2016), p. 37.

[16]  Tulsa Race Riot Report, p. 63.

[17]  Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 45-46; Jones Parrish, Events of the Tulsa Disaster,p. 48; Madigan, The Burning, p. 131.

[18]  Jones Parrish, Events of the Tulsa Disaster, p. 48.

[19] Madigan, The Burning, p. 203.

[20] Madigan, The Burning, p. 145; Jones Parrish, Events of the Tulsa Disaster, p. 62; “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 74

[21] Madigan, The Burning, p. 221; “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 145.

[22] Madigan, The Burning, p. 221.

[23] Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 54.

[24] Human Rights Watch interview with Stephen Williams, Tulsa, Oklahoma, March 27, 2019.

[25] Tulsa City Commission Meeting Minutes, June 14, 1921, excerpted in Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 239.

[26] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 71; Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 142.

[27] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 11-12.

[28] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 59-60 (“The guardsmen arrested every black resident of Tulsa they could find and then took them into ‘protective custody.’”); see also pp. 83, 161, 165.

[29] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 63 and “Tulsa Race Riot Map 3,” p. 193 of the PDF.

[30] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” “Tulsa Race Riot Map 7,” p. 197 of the PDF. (“Black attempts to defend their homes and businesses were undercut by the actions of both the Tulsa police and the local National Guard units, who, rather than disarming and arresting the white rioters, instead began imprisoning black citizens.”)

[31] Madigan, The Burning, p. 119-120.

[32] Madigan, The Burning, p. 119-120.

[33] Ellsworth, Death in the Promised Land, p. 72.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 142.  

[36] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 88; see also Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 118.

[37] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 118. (“Some refugees lived in tents for well over a year, combating floods, heat, and cold. Pneumonia, typhoid fever, malnutrition, smallpox took their toll.”)

[38] “Red Cross Disaster Relief Report,” Dec. 31, 1921, https://www.tulsahistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/1994.012.001_RedCrossReport.pdf (accessed May 15, 2020), p. 3 of Section titled “Narrative Report as of December 31, 1921,” p. 25 of the PDF; see also Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 118.

[39] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 11-12, 159, 165 and “Chronological Maps of the Tulsa Race Riot” beginning on p. 180 of the report, see maps 3,4,6,7 and 9.

[40] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 13. Gustafson remained in Tulsa and became a private investigator. See also Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 128-129; Madigan, The Burning, p. 228.

[41] Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, p. 94.

[42] Madigan, The Burning, p. 228.

[43] Madigan, The Burning, p. 228. Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, p. 95.

[44] Madigan, The Burning, p. 229.

[45] Madigan, The Burning, p. 229; Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 128.

[46] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 128; Madigan, The Burning, p. 228-229; “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 167.

[47] Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, p. 97.

[48] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 128-129; Madigan, The Burning, p. 228; Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 67.

[49] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 129.

[50] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 129.

[51] Madigan, The Burning, p. 231; “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 167.

[52] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 167.

[53] I. Marc Carlson, “The Tulsa Race Massacre, Martial Law Orders,” Field Order No. 3, June 14, 2017, https://tulsaraceriot.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/martial-law-orders/ (accessed May 15, 2020); see also Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 119.

[54] DeNeen L. Brown, “Tulsa plans to dig for suspected mass graves from a 1921 race massacre,” Washington Post, February 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2020/02/03/tulsa-mass-graves-excavation/ (accessed May 15, 2020).

[55] Ellsworth, Death in the Promised Land, p. 83, “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 159 (boxed caption); Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 134-35. See also “Tulsa World editorial: Tulsa Regional Chamber makes public act of atonement concerning what happened after the 1921 race massacre,” Tulsa World, March 29, 2019, https://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/editorials/tulsa-world-editorial-tulsa-regional-chamber-makes-public-act-of-atonement-concerning-what-happened-after/article_c641afc4-bf10-5be4-94ba-8bd1bbc4b51a.html (accessed May 27, 2020): It describes the Executive Welfare Committee as being part of the Chamber of Commerce. 

[56] Ellsworth, Death in the Promised Land, p. 83; “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 159 (boxed caption); Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 135-36.

[57] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 13-14.

[58] Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, p. 84 (“Numerous telegrams were received by the executive committee from various cities in the Union offering aid, but the policy was quickly adopted that this was strictly a Tulsa affair and that the work of the restoration and charity would be taken care of by the Tulsa people.”); see also Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 130 (Governor Robertson refused an offer to send 50 Black Cross nurses from the Chicago chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association). 

[59] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 11-14.

[60] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 124. For maps of the Tulsa Race Massacre and historic Greenwood District’s boundaries in 1921, see Appendix A (at the conclusion of the report) and p. 95 – 98 of the “Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 National Registration Form:” http://cdm15020.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15020coll6/id/95.

[61] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 124-125.

[62] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 141; Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 98.

[63] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p 145.

[64] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 145.

[65] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 145.

[66] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 141.

[67] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. viii and 154; see also Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 141.

[68] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 154; see also Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 141; Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 98.

[69] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 145.

[70] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 145 and n. 4 on p. 150.

[71] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 149, n. 16. The Commission used a Consumer Price Index (CPI) for inflation calculator no longer available at the website listed. Human Rights Watch used what looks to be the same CPI tool, but updated version, available at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/1999?amount=16752600 (accessed May 15, 2020).

[72] Natalie Chang, “The Massacre of Black Wall Street,” The Atlantic, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/hbo-2019/the-massacre-of-black-wall-street/3217/ (accessed March 25, 2020).

[73] Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, p. 74.

[74] Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, p. 84.

[75] Meagan Day, “The history of the Tulsa race massacre that destroyed America’s wealthiest black neighborhood,” Timeline,

Sep 21, 2016, https://timeline.com/history-tulsa-race-massacre-a92bb2356a69 (accessed May 1, 2020).

[76] Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, p. 84.

[77] Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, p. 85.

[78] Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, p. 85; see also “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 168.

[79] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 137-38.

[80] Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, p. 85.

[81] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 136; see also “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 168 n. 87.

[82] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 138.

[83]Lockard v. T.D. Evans, Mayor, “Petition in the District Court within and for Tulsa County,” August 23, 2921, https://www.tulsahistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Lockard-Joe-15730-Reduced-size.pdf (accessed May 25, 2020).

[84] Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 68, 95; Ellsworth, Death in the Promised Land, p. 86-87; “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 168.

[85] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 168.

[86] “Tulsa Race Riot Report,” p. 149.

[87] Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, “Business Directory of North Tulsa, Oklahoma,” https://21400bc3-acb9-420d-98ec-ac1476caeba6.filesusr.com/ugd/9bd760_0394da636f8e4db498cbcc8a79b506a5.pdf (accessed March 31, 2020). The document appears to be undated, but the John Hope Franklin Center Resource page describes it as a 1948 publication, https://www.jhfcenter.org/osuwpgreenwood (accessed May 17, 2020).

[88] Home Owners’ Loan Act of 1993, H.R. 5240, Pub. L. No. 73-43, 48 Stat. 128, electronically available at: https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/title/850?start_page=3 (accessed May 10, 2020).

[89] Amy E. Hiller, “Residential Security Maps and Neighborhood Appraisals. The Homeowners’ Loan Corporation and the Case of Philadelphia,” Departmental Papers (City and Regional Planning) (2005), https://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=cplan_papers (accessed May 10, 2020), p. 207.

[90]  University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab, “Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America,” undated, https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/#loc=15/36.165/-95.995&maps=0&city=tulsa-ok&text=intro (accessed May 10).

[91] Amy E. Hiller, “Residential Security Maps and Neighborhood Appraisals. The Homeowners’ Loan Corporation and the Case of Philadelphia,” Departmental Papers (City and Regional Planning), p. 207, 214, n. 4; Tracy Jan, “Redlining was banned 50 years ago. It’s still hurting minorities today.,” Washington Post, March 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/03/28/redlining-was-banned-50-years-ago-its-still-hurting-minorities-today/ (accessed May 10, 2020).

[92] University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab, “Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America.”

[93] Tracy Jan, “Redlining was banned 50 years ago. It’s still hurting minorities today,” Washington Post.

[94] University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab, “Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America,” Tulsa, OK map, undated, https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/#loc=13/36.141/-96.018&maps=0&city=tulsa-ok (accessed May 10, 2020).

[95] Tracy Jan, “Redlining was banned 50 years ago. It’s still hurting minorities today.,” Washington Post.

[96] Bruce Mitchell and Juan Franco, “HOLC ‘Redlining’ Maps: The persistent structure of segregation and economic inequality,” National Community Reinvestment Coalition, February 2019, https://ncrc.org/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/2018/02/NCRC-Research-HOLC-10.pdf (accessed May 16, 2020).

[97] City of Tulsa, “Affordable Housing Strategy,” December 11, 2019, https://www.cityoftulsa.org/media/11872/cot-affordable-housing-strategy-121119.pdf (accessed May 16, 2020), p. i.

[98] The following article summarizes the data and methodology for the Reveal study. It also contains the link to the full report and a link to the dataset at the bottom of the article. Human Rights Watch took the Tulsa data from the Reveal study and analyzed it to validate the Tulsa World’s findings: Emmanuel Martinez and Aaron Glantz, “How we identified lending disparities in federal mortgage data.” Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, February 15, 2018, https://www.revealnews.org/article/how-we-identified-lending-disparities-in-federal-mortgage-data/ (accessed May 9, 2020); For Tulsa World’s findings see, Curtis Killman, “Analysis finds racial disparities in Tulsa, Oklahoma City mortgage approvals,” Tulsa World, February 15, 2018, https://www.tulsaworld.com/news/state/analysis-finds-racial-disparities-in-tulsa-oklahoma-city-mortgage-approvals/article_5ab714ba-30a8-59e5-9c1b-a2bf34ea77d6.html (accessed May 9, 2020).

[99] Johnson, Black Wall Street, pp. 114-118; Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p 195.

[100] Andrew Small, “The Wastelands of Urban Renewal,” CityLab, February 13, 2017, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/02/urban-renewal-wastelands/516378/ (accessed May 25, 2020); “Acquisition of Redevelopment Property by Eminent Domaine,” Duke Law Journal, Vol. 1964: 123, https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1897&context=dlj (accessed May 25, 2020), p. 124-125. While poor people and people of color bore the brunt of the negative consequences of displacement from their communities, increased segregation, and heightened inequality, scholars have also noted that the policy brought shopping centers, office buildings, and entertainment centers cities across the United States. Katherine Schwab, “The Racist Roots Of ‘Urban Renewal’ And How It Made Cities Less Equal,” Fast Company, January 4, 2018, https://www.fastcompany.com/90155955/the-racist-roots-of-urban-renewal-and-how-it-made-cities-less-equal (accessed May 16, 2020). Michael R. Diamond, “De-concentrating Poverty: De-constructing a Theory and the Failure of Hope,” Georgetown University Law Center, 2012, https://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2120&context=facpub (accessed May 25, 2020), p. 3, 6-8, 16, 19; see also, Amber Wagoner, “Downtown Revitalized, Community Organized: a Comparative Analysis of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Portland, Oregon,” Portland State University, University of Honors Thesis, 2016, https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1264&context=honorstheses, (accessed May 16, 2020), p. 26-28, and maps at xxiii.

[101] Ibid.; see also, Amber Wagoner, “Downtown Revitalized, Community Organized: a Comparative Analysis of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Portland, Oregon,” Portland State University, University of Honors Thesis, 2016, https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1264&context=honorstheses, (accessed May 16, 2020), p. xxiii.

[102] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 195; See also Johnson, Black Wall Street, p. 116. The author James Baldwin also referred to urban renewal as “Negro Removal.” See Diamond, “De-concentrating Poverty,” p. 19. 

[103] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 195.

[104] Alana Semuels, “The Role of Highways in American Poverty,” The Atlantic, March 18, 2016, https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/03/role-of-highways-in-american-poverty/474282/ (accessed May 16, 2020); Joseph Stromberg, “Highways gutted American cities. So why did they build them?” Vox, May 11, 2016, (accessed May 16, 2020).

[105] The Federal-Aid Highway Act was passed by US Congress in June 1956. “The law authorized the construction of a 41,000-mile network of interstate highways that would span the nation. It also allocated $26 billion to pay for them. Under the terms of the law, the federal government would pay 90 percent of the cost of expressway construction.” See more, “The Interstate Highway System,” History.com, updated June 7, 2019, https://www.history.com/topics/us-states/interstate-highway-system (accessed May 26, 2020).

[106] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 194; see also Terry Gross, “A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How the U.S. Government Segregated America,” NPR, May 3, 2017, https://www.npr.org/2017/05/03/526655831/a-forgotten-history-of-how-the-u-s-government-segregated-america (accessed May 16, 2020).

[107] Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance, p. 194-95; see also second half of Phil Mulkins, “Phone Company Wires Crossed on 1-900 Billing,” Tulsa World, July 18, 1990, https://www.tulsaworld.com/archive/phone-company-wires-crossed-on-1-900-billing/article_36451259-3e75-55a9-967d-4df180238c4e.html (accessed May 16, 2020).

[108] See series of maps at: Michael Bates, “‘There is no Negro business district anymore,’” BatesLine

Источник: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/29/case-reparations-tulsa-oklahoma

Kiss (band)

American hard rock band

Kiss (often stylized as KIϟϟ) is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss. Well known for its members' face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid–late 1970s with its shocking live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons being the only members to feature in every lineup. The original and best-known lineup consists of Stanley (vocals and rhythm guitar), Simmons (vocals and bass), Frehley (lead guitar and vocals), and Criss (drums and vocals).

With their make-up and costumes, the band members took on the personae of comic book-style characters: the Starchild (Stanley), the Demon (Simmons), the Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley), and the Catman (Criss). Due to creative differences, both Criss and Frehley had departed the group by 1982.

In 1983, Kiss began performing without makeup and costumes, thus marking the beginning of the band's "unmasked" era that would last for over a decade. The band experienced a commercial resurgence during this era, with the Platinum-certified album Lick It Up successfully introducing them to a new generation of fans, and its music videos receiving regular airplay on MTV. Eric Carr, who had replaced Criss in 1980, died in 1991 of heart cancer and was replaced by Eric Singer. In response to a wave of Kiss nostalgia in the mid-1990s, the original lineup re-united in 1996, which also saw the return of its makeup and stage costumes. The resulting reunion tour was highly successful, grossing $143.7 million, making it the band's most successful tour to date. Criss and Frehley subsequently left the band again, and have been replaced by Singer and Tommy Thayer. The band has continued with its original stage makeup, with Singer and Thayer using the original Catman and Spaceman makeup, respectively. In September 2018, Kiss announced that, after 45 years of recording and performing, it would be embarking on its ongoing final tour, the End of the Road World Tour, which started in January 2019 and is currently set to conclude in 2022.[1][2][3][4][5]

Kiss is regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of all time,[6][7] as well as one of the best-selling bands of all time, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide, including 21[8] million RIAA-certified albums.[9][10] Kiss also holds the title as America's No. 1 Gold record award-winning group of all time, having earned 30 Gold albums. Kiss has 14 Platinum albums, with three albums being multi-Platinum.[7] On April 10, 2014, the four original members of Kiss were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Kiss was ranked by MTV as the ninth "Greatest Metal Band of All Time",[11] and placed tenth on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" list,[12] as well as being ranked as the third "Best Metal and Hard Rock Live Band of All Time" by Loudwire magazine.[13]

History[edit]

1971–1975: Early years[edit]

Kiss traces its roots to Wicked Lester, a New York City-based rock band led by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. That band recorded one album, which was shelved by Epic Records, and played a handful of live shows. Simmons and Stanley, feeling a new musical direction was needed, abandoned Wicked Lester in 1972 and began forming a new group.[14][15][16]

After breaking up Wicked Lester late in 1972, Simmons and Stanley came across an ad in the East Coast version of Rolling Stone placed by Peter Criss, a drummer from the New York City scene who had previously played in the bands Lips and Chelsea. Simmons and Stanley met Criss in a nightclub where he was playing drums. After hearing Criss sing, they thought Criss should be in the new band they were forming. Criss then auditioned for, and later joined their new band. The three focused on a much harder style of rock than that played by Wicked Lester. In November 1972, the band played a showcase for Epic Records A&R director Don Ellis, in an effort to secure a record deal.[17] In early January 1973, the group added lead guitarist Ace Frehley. Frehley impressed the group with his first audition, and was asked back for a second audition. A few weeks after Frehley joined, the classic lineup was solidified as the band to be named Kiss.[18] They also began experimenting with their image, by wearing makeup and various outfits.[19]

Stanley came up with the name while he, Simmons, and Criss were driving around New York City. Criss mentioned that he had been in a band called Lips, so Stanley said something to the effect of "What about Kiss?"[20] Frehley created the now-iconic logo, making the "SS" look like lightning bolts, when he went to write the new band name over "Wicked Lester" on a poster outside the club where they were going to play.[21] (Some of Wicked Lester's artwork included one lightning bolt for the "S" in Lester.[22]) Later, Stanley designed the logo with a Sharpie and a ruler and accidentally drew the two S's nonparallel because he did it "by eye". The art department asked him if he wanted it to be redrafted to be perfect and he said, "It got us this far, let's leave well enough alone. Our number one rule has always been no rules."[23]

Modified KISS logo used in Germany, Austria, Israel, and other countries that outlaw Nazi symbols.

The letters happened to look similar to the insignia of the NaziSS, a symbol that is outlawed in Germany by Section 86a of the German criminal code. However, Simmons and Stanley, both Jewish, have denied any intentional likeness to Nazi symbolism in the logo. Since 1979, most of the band's album covers and merchandise in Germany have used a different logo, in which the letters "SS" look like the letters "ZZ" backwards. This logo is also used in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Israel to avoid controversy.[24][25]

The band's name has repeatedly been the subject of rumors pertaining to alleged hidden meanings. Among these rumors are theories that the name is an acronym for "Knights in Satan's Service", "Kinder SS", or "Kids in Satan's Service". Simmons has denied all of these claims.[26][27]

The first Kiss performance took place on January 30, 1973, for an audience of fewer than ten people at the Popcorn Club (renamed Coventry shortly afterward) in Queens. The band was paid $50 for performing two sets that evening, following a cold-call Simmons had made to the venue, convincing them to hire the new band for a three-night stand.[28] For the first three gigs, January 30 to February 1, they wore makeup, but the iconic character designs associated with Kiss made their debuts during the March 9–10 shows at The Daisy in Amityville, New York.

Our first show ever was at Coventry. Coventry was a study in contrasts. The first time we played there was nobody there. The last time we played there, you could barely get in the door.
—Paul Stanley[29]

On March 13 of that year, the band recorded a five-song demo tape with producer Eddie Kramer. Former TV director Bill Aucoin, who had seen the group at a handful of showcase concerts in the summer of 1973, offered to become the band's manager in mid-October. Kiss agreed, with the condition that Aucoin signs the band to a record label within two weeks. On November 1, 1973, Kiss became the first act signed to former teen pop singer and Buddah Records executive Neil Bogart's new label, Casablanca Records.[30]

The band entered Bell Sound Studios in New York City on October 10, 1973, to begin recording its first album. On December 31, the band had its official industry premiere at the Academy of Music in New York City, opening for Blue Öyster Cult. It was at this concert that, for the first of many times, Simmons accidentally set his hair (which was coated in hairspray) ablaze while performing his fire-breathing routine.[31]

Kiss's first tour started on February 5, 1974, in Edmonton, Alberta, at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, as an opening act.[32] The band's self-titled debut album was released on February 18. Casablanca and Kiss promoted the album heavily throughout the spring and summer of 1974.

"Being in Kiss in the very first year and touring around the United States, we felt like we were taking off. It was like somebody pushing you into the deep end of the pool whether you can swim or not. The early years of Kiss were far from glamorous. We rode in a station wagon hundreds of miles every day. We would take turns driving and sleeping in the back. We ate burgers at roadside taverns. We stopped and peed on the side of long stretches of a highway when we couldn't find a town anywhere near. We ate beans and franks because we couldn't afford better food as we were on an $85 a week salary! Becoming a rock star was better than anything and beyond anything I ever imagined. There were moments of doubt for me that we were gonna make it."
—Gene Simmons[33]

On February 19, in its first television appearance, the band performed "Nothin' to Lose", "Firehouse" and "Black Diamond" on ABC's In Concert (aired March 29).[34] On April 29, the band performed "Firehouse" on The Mike Douglas Show. This broadcast included Simmons's first televised interview, a conversation with Mike Douglas in which Simmons declared himself "evil incarnate", eliciting uncomfortable reactions from a confused studio audience. Fellow Jewish-American guest Totie Fields said it would be humorous if beneath all the make-up Simmons was "just a nice Jewish boy". Simmons responded, "You should only know", to which Fields replied, "I do. You can't hide the hook", a reference to the stereotypical "Jewish" nose.[35][36]

Despite the publicity and constant touring, Kiss initially sold just 75,000 copies. Meanwhile, the group and Casablanca Records were losing money quickly. The band (while touring) stopped in Los Angeles in August 1974 to begin recording its second album, Hotter Than Hell, which was released on October 22, 1974. The only single, "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll", failed to chart, and the album stalled at No. 100.[37]

With Hotter Than Hell quickly dropping off the charts, Kiss was pulled from its tour to quickly record a new album. Casablanca head Bogart stepped in to produce the next album, trading in the murky, distorted sound of Hotter Than Hell for a cleaner and slightly poppier sound. Dressed to Kill, released on March 19, 1975, fared slightly better commercially than Hotter Than Hell. It also contained what later became the band's signature song, "Rock and Roll All Nite".[38]

Although Kiss albums had not proved to be big sellers, the band was quickly gaining a reputation for its live performances. Kiss concerts featured such spectacles as Simmons spitting "blood" (an effect made primarily from eggs, yogurt, red food coloring, and maple syrup) and "breathing fire" (spitting flammable liquid at a torch), Frehley soloing as his guitar burst into flames (light and smoke bombs placed inside the guitar), Criss's elevating drum riser that emitted sparks, Stanley's Townshend-style guitar smashing, and pyrotechnics throughout the show.[39][40]

By mid-1975, Casablanca was almost bankrupt, and Kiss was in danger of losing its record contract. Both parties desperately needed a commercial breakthrough if they were to survive.[41] That breakthrough came in an unlikely form: a "double live" album.[42]

1975–1978: Rise to prominence[edit]

"I saw a pattern emerging with us on the road. Every night, I'd ask somebody before the show, 'How are we doing?', which meant, 'What's the attendance?' One night they said, 'It's sold out,' and then the next night I'd hear the same thing. All of a sudden it was becoming the norm. For me the first realization that things were on an upswing was when we played the Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio. Before the show I went on stage, looked out through the curtain and saw this big crowd, and said to myself, 'My God, this is really happening!'"
—Paul Stanley[43]

Kiss wanted to express the excitement felt at its concerts (which its studio albums had so far failed to do) with its first live album. Compiled from concerts recorded between May and July in Wildwood, New Jersey, Detroit and Cleveland, and released on September 10, 1975, Alive! achieved Gold status and spawned Kiss's first top 40 single: a live version of "Rock and Roll All Nite". It was the first version of the song with a guitar solo, and this recording has become the best-known version. It is also the basis of most covers, such as the cover by Poison in 1987. In recent years the band admitted that additional audience noise had been added to the album, as well as overdubs on select guitar and vocal spots, not to deceive fans, but to add more "excitement and realism" to the record.[44]

The success of Alive! not only brought Kiss the breakthrough they had been seeking but arguably saved Casablanca, which was close to bankruptcy. Following this success, Kiss partnered with producer Bob Ezrin, who had previously worked with Alice Cooper. The result was Destroyer (released March 15, 1976), Kiss's most musically ambitious studio album to date. Destroyer, with its rather intricate production (using an orchestra, choir, and numerous tape effects), was a departure from the raw sound of the first three studio albums. Album art was designed by Ken Kelly, who had drawn Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian and also produced album covers for acts such as Rainbow and Manowar.[45][46] While the album sold well initially and became the group's second Gold album, it quickly dropped down the charts. Only when the ballad "Beth", the B-side of the single "Detroit Rock City", began to gain more airplay on FM radio did the album's sales rebound. The single was subsequently reissued with the A- and B-sides reversed. "Beth" peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Simmons and Frehley share a microphone in 1978.

In October 1976, Kiss appeared on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (aired on ABC the 29th), lip-synching "Detroit Rock City", "Beth" and "King of the Night Time World". The show, co-produced by Bill Aucoin, helped introduce Kiss to an even wider audience. In addition to the three songs, Kiss was the subject of a brief comedic "interview" conducted by Paul Lynde. This included Lynde noting, when hearing the member's first names, "Oh, I love a good religious group."

Two more highly successful studio albums were released in less than a year: Rock and Roll Over (November 11, 1976) and Love Gun (June 30, 1977). A second live album, Alive II, was released on October 14, 1977. All three albums were certified Platinum soon after their release. Between 1976 and 1978, Kiss earned $17.7 million from record royalties and music publishing.[47] A 1977 Gallup poll named Kiss the most popular band in America. In Japan, Kiss performed five sold-out shows at Tokyo's Budokan Hall, breaking the previous record of four set by the Beatles.

"When we played in Japan in the late '70s, nothing could prepare you for the hysteria because when people are telling you how big you are, you're big compared to what? Until you're faced with mass hysteria it doesn't really sink in. For you not having been in a certain country makes them that much more rabid for you to go."
—Paul Stanley[48]

In May 1977, Kiss made the first of its many comics appearances, in Howard the Duck issue 12, published by Marvel Comics.[49]

The first Kiss compilation album, Double Platinum, was issued on April 2, 1978. This double album included many remixed versions of the band's hits, as well as "Strutter '78", a re-recorded version of a song from the group's first album. At Bogart's request, this version of the song featured a disco influence.[50]

During this period, Kiss merchandise became a substantial source of income for the group. Some of the products released included a pair of comic books issued by Marvel (the first contained ink mixed with actual blood donated by the group), a pinball machine, dolls, "Kiss Your Face Makeup" kits, Halloween masks, board games, lunch boxes, trading cards and many other pieces of memorabilia. Membership in the Kiss Army, the band's fan club, was in the six figures. Between 1977 and 1979, worldwide merchandise sales (in-store and on tour) reached an estimated $100 million.[51]

1978: Solo and film projects[edit]

(Left): Criss performing "Beth" in 1977; (right): Frehley demonstrates the pyrotechnics that helped make Kiss a live sensation.

Alive II was the band's fourth Platinum album in just under two years, and the ensuing tour had the highest average attendance in the group's history. In addition, Kiss's gross income for 1977 was $10.2  million. The group, along with manager Aucoin, sought to push the brand harder. To that end, an ambitious, two-pronged strategy was devised for 1978.[52]

The first part involved the simultaneous release of four solo albums from the members of Kiss. Although Kiss has claimed that the solo albums were intended to ease rising tensions within the band, its 1976 record contract did in fact call for four solo records, each of them counting as half an album toward the group's five-record commitment.[53] Each album was a solo effort (none of the group appeared on another's album) and was all released and marketed as Kiss albums (with similar cover art and poster inserts). It was the first time that all current members of a rock band had released solo albums on the same day.[54]

For the band members, it was a chance to showcase their individual musical styles and tastes outside of Kiss, and in some cases to collaborate with contemporary artists. Stanley's and Frehley's albums were most similar to Kiss's hard rock style, while Criss's album featured an R&B style with multiple ballads. Simmons's was the most diverse of the four, featuring hard rock, ballads, Beatles-influenced pop and a cover version of "When You Wish Upon a Star" from the Disney film Pinocchio. Simmons' many collaborators included Aerosmith's Joe Perry, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, the Doobie Brothers' Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Donna Summer, Janis Ian, Helen Reddy, Bob Seger, Katey Sagal and his then-girlfriend Cher.

The solo albums were released on September 18, 1978. Casablanca spent $2.5  million on the marketing campaign for the albums, and announced they were shipping five million copies, guaranteeing Platinum status.[55] Despite the large shipments, none of the albums sold particularly well and were later sold as cut-outs. Of the four, Simmons's album charted the highest in the U.S., peaking at #22, while Frehley's spawned the only resulting Top Forty hit single, a cover of "New York Groove", written by Russ Ballard and originally performed by Hello.[56]

The second part of Kiss's and Aucoin's plan called for the band to appear in a film that would cement its image of larger-than-life rock-and-roll superheroes. Filming commenced in the spring of 1978. Although the project was proposed to the band as a cross between A Hard Day's Night and Star Wars, the final result fell far short of those expectations. The final product, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, debuted on NBC on October 28, 1978. It was released theatrically, after many changes, outside the U.S. in 1979 under the title Attack of the Phantoms. The band members were unhappy with the finished film and would speak about their filmmaking experience in later interviews with a mix of humorous embarrassment and regret. They felt that the film portrayed them more as clowns than superheroes. The artistic failure of the film led to a rift between the band and Aucoin.[57]

1979–1983: Final make-up years[edit]

Kiss's first album of new material in two years, Dynasty (1979), continued the band's Platinum streak. The disco-flavored "I Was Made for Lovin' You" became one of the band's biggest hit singles to date, peaking at No. 11. Session drummer Anton Fig performed almost all the percussion on the album while Criss recovered from an automobile accident. The only song to feature Criss's drumming was "Dirty Livin'", on which he also sang lead.[58]

Billed as "The Return of Kiss", the Dynasty Tour was expected by Kiss and its management to build on the success of previous tours. Plans were drawn up for a Kiss-themed traveling amusement park called "Kiss World", but were abandoned because of the immense costs involved;[59] however, "The Return of Kiss" saw a marked decline in attendance.[60]

Simmons performing with Kiss in 1979

The crowds on this tour were much younger than previous audiences had been, with many preadolescent children in Kiss make-up with their mothers and fathers (who were sometimes wearing the make-up themselves) in tow at most concerts. Kiss themselves did little to dissuade this new fan base, donning colorful costumes that reinforced a cartoonish image for these younger fans.[61]

The fans were unaware of the dissension within the band. One very public indication of the heightened friction within the group was an infamous October 31, 1979 interview on Tom Snyder's late-night The Tomorrow Show. During the episode, a visibly irritated Simmons and Stanley attempted, unsuccessfully, to contain the inebriated Frehley, whose frequent laughter and joking overshadowed the conversation between Snyder and the rest of the band. Criss made references to his large gun collection, to the chagrin of Simmons.[62]

By the end of the Dynasty tour in December 1979, tensions between Criss and the rest of the band were at an all-time high. His drumming skills had noticeably eroded, and he even intentionally slowed down—or stopped playing altogether—during some concerts. The final show of the tour (December 16, 1979) was the last time Criss performed with the group for almost 17 years, although he remained an official member for nearly six more months.[63][64]

Anton Fig played all the drums on the next album, Unmasked, although he was not credited, while Criss appeared on the cover. Showcasing a slick, contemporary pop sound, Unmasked (released May 20, 1980) had the dubious distinction of being the first non-Platinum Kiss album since Dressed to Kill. Soon after the album's release, Criss's departure was officially announced.[65][66] Anton Fig, considered a member of Kiss for one day following the departure of Criss, was then fired by Stanley and Simmons, who felt he was not a good fit for the band.[67]

The band auditioned dozens of replacements for Criss in June 1980. One of the many who auditioned was Tico Torres (who would later be with Bon Jovi). They finally settled on a little-known drummer-guitarist-pianist-keyboardist-singer from Brooklyn named Paul Charles Caravello (born July 12, 1950) who adopted the stage name Eric Carr. His first make-up design was modeled on a hawk, though it was rejected as Stanley felt it looked more like a chicken. Carr ultimately settled on a "Fox" persona. In his Fox make-up, he was introduced on ABC's Kids Are People Too!, and debuted with the group on July 25, 1980, at the Palladium concert hall in New York City. This was Kiss's only U.S. show in support of Unmasked. The band's 1980 tour of Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, was one of the biggest in its history, as they played to sold-out crowds and received overwhelmingly positive press coverage.[68][69]

For its next album, the band worked again with producer Ezrin, with whom Kiss had found success on Destroyer. Early press reports indicated that the new album would be a return to the hard rock style that had originally brought the band success. However, 1981's Music from "The Elder" was a concept album featuring medieval horns, strings, harps, and synthesizers.[70]

The album was presented as a soundtrack to a film that was never made, making it difficult to follow the storyline. To make matters worse, having received negative feedback following its record company's preview of the album, Kiss altered the record's track sequence in most countries to emphasize potential singles "The Oath" and "A World Without Heroes", which all but guaranteed the inability of listeners to understand the already-muddled storyline. Once released, fan reaction to The Elder was harsh; it failed to achieve Gold status and peaked at No. 75 on the Billboard album chart.[71]

The band made only two appearances in support of the new album, both in January 1982. One was a performance on the ABC late-night variety program Fridays, while the second was a lip-synced performance that was broadcast via satellite during Italy's Sanremo Music Festival.[72]

Absent from the satellite performance was Frehley, who had become increasingly frustrated with Kiss's new musical direction. Upset with the band's decision to record Music from "The Elder", he did not actively participate in the album's creation, providing lead vocals for only one track, "Dark Light". He did not appear at a special concert at Studio 54 in New York City, leaving Kiss to perform as a trio. He recorded his guitar parts at his home studio in Wilton, Connecticut, and mailed them to Ezrin. Another source of frustration for Frehley was that with the departure of Criss, and with Carr not being an equal partner in the band, he was often outvoted 2-to-1 on group decisions. In June 1982, Frehley's departure from the band was negotiated, although he did not officially leave until December.

Simmons stated in his autobiography Kiss and Make-Up that Van Halen founder Eddie Van Halen was eager to replace Frehley as Kiss's lead guitarist. Simmons and Eddie's brother Alex convinced Eddie to remain with Van Halen.[73] Eddie was willing to break up Van Halen due to tensions between himself and lead vocalist David Lee Roth, who ultimately left the band in 1985.[74][75] Other notable guitarists who auditioned to replace Frehley included Punky Meadows of Angel,[76]Doug Aldrich of Whitesnake and Dio,[77]Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi,[78] and Yngwie Malmsteen.[79]

Soon afterward, Kiss made major changes to its business dealings – chief among them was severing ties with its manager of nine years, Bill Aucoin, and cutting back on its unwieldy organizational tree. Although Frehley had already decided to leave the band, he was pictured on the covers of 1982's Killers and Creatures of the Night, although he did not participate in the recording of either album.[80]

Creatures of the Night (October 13, 1982) was Kiss's heaviest album to date, and although it fared better than Music from "The Elder", it peaked at only No. 45 on the charts and was not certified Gold until 1994. In Frehley's absence, Kiss utilized a number of guitarists for the recording of the album, including Vinnie Vincent.

Frehley's last appearance with the band (until the 1996 reunion) was in the music video for the single "I Love It Loud", which was co-written by Vincent. Frehley also appeared on the cover of the original Creatures of the Night album artwork. When the album was remixed and re-released in 1985 with a non-makeup cover and a slightly different song order, to reflect the band's roster change and abandonment of its make-up and costumes, Vincent was again absent from the album cover, as then-current lead guitarist, Bruce Kulick, appeared instead.[81] The liner notes accompanying the remixed LP, however, credited both Frehley and Vincent with lead guitar performances on the Creatures of the Night album. Vincent officially replaced Frehley as lead guitarist in December 1982, as the band embarked on its 10th Anniversary Tour.[82][83]

Vincent originally wanted to use his birth name in the band, but this was vetoed by Simmons on the grounds that it sounded "too ethnic". Specifically, according to Simmons, "it sounded like a fruit vendor". Simmons went on to note that "fairly or unfairly, rock and roll is about the image".[84] Vincent then suggested the name "Mick Fury", but this was also disallowed. Simmons later suggested the name change to "Vinnie Vincent". Vincent started actively pushing to join Kiss as a full member. Despite the misgivings that both Simmons and Stanley harbored about his personality, Vincent was taken into the band. Stanley designed a character, "the Wiz"[85][86] also known as "the Egyptian Warrior",[87] and make-up centered around an Egyptian ankh, for Vincent.[84] According to the official authorized Kiss biography, written by David Leaf and Ken Sharp, "the Egyptian Ankh Warrior" refers to Vincent's make-up and persona, while the nickname "the Wiz" refers to his virtuosity as a guitar player.[88] According to the Simmons autobiography Kiss and Make-Up, Vincent's Kiss persona was solely "the Wiz". A persona as "the Ankh Warrior" or similar is not mentioned in the book at all.[85][86]

From 1982 to 1983, the new lineup of Kiss became Simmons (the Demon), Stanley (the Starchild), Eric Carr (the Fox) and Vincent (the Egyptian Warrior).[87] or the Wiz[85][86]

Vincent's personality did not mesh well with either Stanley or Simmons, and he was dismissed from Kiss at the end of the Creatures tour. He was quickly reinstated before recording started for Lick It Up because Simmons and Stanley could not find a new lead guitarist on such short notice. Vincent appeared on the cover of Lick It Up and was credited as the lead guitarist. He received a writing credit for eight of the ten songs on the album.

Personality issues arose once again, and Vincent was fired following the Lick It Up tour, due in part to excessive guitar soloing at a 1984 concert in Quebec. He was replaced by Mark St. John. Vincent was later utilized by Kiss as a songwriter on the 1992 album Revenge, contributing to the songs "Unholy", "Tough Love", "Heart of Chrome" and "I Just Wanna". Vincent and the band parted ways. Persistent rumors circulated for years among Kiss fans regarding the true reason for Vincent's dismissals from Kiss, with at least one band member refusing to comment except to say that legally it was not up for discussion. Simmons stated in an interview several years later that Vincent's firing was for "unethical behavior", but he did not elaborate:

Vinnie, for the record, was fired for unethical behavior, not because of lack of talent.[89]

1983–1996: Unmasking[edit]

Sensing it was time for a change, Kiss made the decision to abandon its trademark make-up and costumes. The band officially appeared in public without make-up for the first time since its very early days on a September 18, 1983, appearance on MTV, which coincided with the release of Lick It Up.[90] The tour to promote the new album and the unmasked band members began in Lisbon, Portugal, on October 11, 1983, at Pavilhão Dramático de Cascais, the band's first concert without make-up since early 1973. Lick It Up became Kiss's first Gold record in three years, but the tour was even more sparsely attended than the previous one. Vincent did not get along with Simmons and Stanley, and he left the band at the conclusion of the tour in March 1984. Vincent's replacement was Mark St. John, a session player and guitar tutor.[91]

With St. John, Kiss released the album Animalize on September 13, 1984. Animalize followed the success of Lick It Up, and due in part to consistent MTV play for the "Heaven's on Fire" video, Animalize was the band's best-selling record in America during the decade, with over two million albums sold. With the success of the album and subsequent tour, Kiss had recaptured some of its earlier glory (though not to the level of its 1970s heyday). St. John, however, came down with reactive arthritis during tour rehearsals, and only performed at a handful of shows before being dismissed from the band in December 1984. The band hired Bruce Kulick to replace St. John. Kulick had previously filled in for St. John during the first two months of the Animalize tour. Kulick was Kiss's fourth lead guitarist in less than three years, but he stayed with the band for 12 years.[92] Kulick was one of the band's longest-serving members, with the longest continuous tenure of anyone other than Simmons and Stanley.

"You can't help but have a good time at one of our shows when everybody is going nuts onstage. That kind of good time is infectious. You can't fake it. You can't fool the audience. The people will see right through you if you put on a fake smile or you're not putting out your best. The band are alive and well and playing better than we ever have."
—Gene Simmons[93]

Bruce Kulick(pictured here in 2002) was the lead guitarist for Kiss from 1984 to 1996.

One of the first concerts Kulick played as an official member of the band was at Detroit, Michigan's Cobo Hall. It was filmed for the MTV special Animalize Live.

The lineup of Stanley, Simmons, Carr and Kulick turned out to be the most stable since the original, and for the rest of the 1980s, Kiss released a series of Platinum albums: 1985's Asylum, 1987's Crazy Nights and the 1988 greatest hits compilation Smashes, Thrashes & Hits. Crazy Nights, in particular, was one of Kiss's most successful albums overseas. The single "Crazy Crazy Nights" reached No. 4 on the singles chart in the United Kingdom, the band's highest-charting single in that country.[94]

Kiss ended the decade with the October 1989 release Hot in the Shade. Although the album failed to achieve Platinum status, it spawned the hit ballad "Forever", co-written by Michael Bolton. Peaking at No. 8 in the US, it was the group's highest-charting single since "Beth" and was the band's second Top 10 single.[94]

During this time, Kiss struggled with its identity and fan base. Simmons, arguably the driving force in Kiss during the 1970s, became less involved with the group in the 1980s as he pursued outside interests, most notably a film career. Stanley took a more prominent role as a result.[95][96]

In February 1991, the band decided to once again enlist Ezrin to produce its next album. Before recording could begin in earnest, however, tragedy struck. In March 1991, it was discovered that Carr had a tumor on his heart. It was successfully removed the following month, but more tumors were soon discovered in his lungs. Carr received chemotherapy and was pronounced cancer-free in July. However, in September he suffered the first of two cerebral hemorrhages. He died on November 24, 1991, at the age of 41.[97][98]

Despite the tragic loss of a longtime member, Kiss continued, introducing veteran drummer Eric Singer (born Eric Doyle Mensinger on May 12, 1958, in Cleveland, Ohio). Singer had played with Paul Stanley previously, as part of Stanley's backing band during a 1989 solo tour.

Kiss released Revenge on May 19, 1992. It featured a leaner, harder-edged sound, as indicated by the first single, "Unholy". In a surprise move, Kiss enlisted Vincent to help with songwriting duties. The album debuted in the Top 10 and went Gold. Kiss embarked on a brief club tour of the U.S. in the spring of 1992, before beginning an American tour in September 1992. The tour was documented on the album Alive III, released on May 14, 1993. Four days later, Kiss were inducted into Hollywood's RockWalk.[99]

In 1995, the group released the book Kisstory, a 440-page, 9 pounds (4.1 kg), detailed chronicle of the group's history to that point. That same year, the band embarked on a unique and well-received Worldwide Kiss Convention Tour. The conventions were all-day events, featuring displays of vintage Kiss stage outfits, instruments and memorabilia; performances by Kiss cover bands; and dealers selling Kiss merchandise from every stage of the band's career. Kiss appeared live at the conventions, conducted question and answer sessions, signed autographs, and performed a two-hour acoustic set composed mostly of spontaneous fan requests. On the first U.S. date (June 17, 1995), Criss appeared onstage with Kiss to sing "Hard Luck Woman" and "Nothin' to Lose". It was the first time Criss had performed publicly with the band in nearly 16 years.[100][101]

1996–2001: Original lineup reunion tour and remasking[edit]

Kiss performing in Utrecht in 1997

On August 9, 1995, Kiss joined the long line of musicians to perform on MTV Unplugged. The band contacted Criss and Frehley and invited them to participate in the event. Both joined Kiss on stage for several songs at the end of the set: "Beth", "2000 Man", "Nothin' to Lose" and "Rock and Roll All Nite".[100] The Unplugged appearance set off months of speculation that a possible reunion of the original Kiss lineup was in the works. In the weeks following the Unplugged concert, however, the band (with Kulick and Singer), returned to the studio for the first time in three years to record a follow-up to Revenge. Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions was completed in February 1996, but its release was delayed for almost two years. Bootleg copies of the album circulated widely among fans.[102] While Kiss continued to exist publicly as Simmons, Stanley, Kulick and Singer, arrangements for a reunion of the original lineup were in the works. These efforts culminated with a public event as dramatic as any the band had staged since its 1983 unmasking on MTV. With the following statements, Tupac Shakur introduced the original Kiss lineup, in full makeup and Love Gun-era stage outfits, to a rousing ovation at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards:[103]

You know how the Grammys used to be, all straight-looking folks with suits. Everybody looking tired. No surprises. We tired of that. We need something different, something new, we need to shock the people ... so let's shock the people!

On April 16, the band members held a press conference aboard the USS Intrepid in New York City, where they announced their plans for a full-fledged reunion tour, with the help of new manager Doc McGhee. The conference, MC'd by Conan O'Brien, was simulcast to 58 countries.[104] On April 20, nearly 40,000 tickets for the tour's first show sold out in 47 minutes.[105]

The first public concert featuring the newly reunited Kiss was an hour-long warm-up show on June 15 for the annual KROQ Weenie Roast in Irvine, California, during which the band nearly ignited the stage of the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater.[106] On June 28, the Kiss Alive/Worldwide Tour began at Tiger Stadium in Detroit in front of a sold-out crowd of 39,867 fans. The tour lasted for 192 shows over the course of one year and earned $43.6 million, making Kiss the top-drawing concert act of 1996.[107] The average attendance of 13,737 is the highest in the group's history.[105]

There were many many nights when I was looking around the stage and going "This is magic." This is beyond anybody's wildest fantasies. What was important about these shows is we had a much bigger task than people understood. Our biggest competition was our history. We didn't have to be as good as we used to be. We had to be as good as people thought we were. The show wasn't to be a replica of what we've done, it was to be what people imagined we had done. We had to be totally committed. and also totally sure that we could not only live up the legend but also surpass it. In terms of the stage show for the reunion tour, what we wanted to do was look at the '77 show in a sense as a pinnacle. That is what we chose to build on but not copy. There are also elements from other shows too in the sense that there's bombs and the flying rig and the breaking of the guitars. At that time, it was the ultimate Kiss show in the sense that we looked at the show, which we thought was our best and said, "Top this."
—Paul Stanley[108]

Kiss performing in Paris on March 21, 1999

In September 1998, the reunited group issued Psycho Circus. Although it was the first album with the original lineup since 1979's Dynasty, the contributions of Frehley and Criss were minimal. While the images of Frehley and Criss are featured prominently on the album, most of the lead guitar work was later revealed to have been performed by future band member Tommy Thayer. Former member Kulick made an appearance on the intro of the song "Within". Most drum duties were handled by session musician Kevin Valentine. Despite the controversy, the album achieved a No. 3 chart debut, the highest position for a Kiss album until Sonic Boom debuted at No. 2 in 2009.[109] The title track received a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance.[110] The Psycho Circus Tour opened at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Halloween in 1998, and was simulcast on FM radio across the U.S. It proved to be another success, and was historic for being the first to ever incorporate 3D visuals into a stage show.[111][112]

On August 11, 1999, Kiss was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in the "Recording Industry" category. The next month, the group worked in collaboration with World Championship Wrestling to produce a Kiss-themed wrestler known as the Demon, whose face was painted to resemble Simmons' makeup. The group performed "God of Thunder" live on WCW Monday Nitro to debut the character. The band received $500,000 for the one-night, one-song performance.[113]

Kiss launched a U.S. Farewell Tour in March 2000.[114] The group quickly added dates to the tour, which ran through April 2001.

The Reunion tour made us the number one band again. We played to about two million people in one year. Then we did the Psycho Circus tour and after that we thought, "been there, done it." We're the champs again, let's retire on top and we felt there is nothing worse than having someone go away and you don't get to say goodbye so this tour really is for the fans and to celebrate the whole history of the band.
—Paul Stanley[115]

2001–2008: Post-reunion[edit]

On the eve of the Japanese and Australian leg of the Farewell Tour on January 31, 2001, Criss suddenly left the band once again, because he and the band could not come to agreement with his contract salary. Taking his place was previous Kiss drummer Singer who, in a move that was controversial among longtime fans, assumed Criss's Cat persona as the Farewell Tour continued.[116]

With the band supposedly set to retire by early 2001, a career-encompassing collection entitled simply The Box Set, consisting of 94 tracks on five CDs, was released in November of that year, while the summer saw perhaps the most outrageous item of Kiss merchandise yet – the Kiss Kasket. In introducing the Kiss Kasket, Simmons quipped, "I love livin', but this makes the alternative look pretty damn good."[117]

On December 4, 2001, Kiss was one of the honorees at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences ("The Recording Academy") Heroes Award ceremony, at the NARAS New York Chapter. NARAS has 12 chapters throughout the United States, hence 12 ceremonies throughout the year, with the honorees each being honored by the chapter closest to their residence. By receiving this honor, which NARAS has renamed the "Recording Academy Honors", Kiss effectively received NARAS' second-highest career honor, right behind the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award.[118][119]

Kiss was relatively quiet through the rest of the year, but 2002 started with some controversy as Simmons took part in a controversial interview on National Public Radio with host Terry Gross.[120] In February 2002, Kiss (with Singer on drums and Frehley on lead guitar) performed during the closing ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was Frehley's final performance as a member of Kiss.[citation needed]

On March 6, 2002, Kiss performed a private concert at a resort in Trelawny, Jamaica. Frehley, who was no longer under contract, did not perform with the group. He was replaced by Thayer, who donned Frehley's Spaceman makeup and costume for his first live appearance with Kiss.[121] That month, the band (with Thayer) taped an appearance on the American sitcom That '70s Show.[122] The episode, "That '70s Kiss Show", aired in August 2002. Thayer again performed with the group in April 2002, when Kiss performed "Detroit Rock City" (with pre-recorded music and live vocals) for an appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary show, which aired on May 3.[123]

In February 2003, Kiss traveled to Australia and recorded Kiss Symphony: Alive IV with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Etihad Stadium (then known as Telstra Dome) in Melbourne. Thayer once again replaced Frehley, while Criss returned to the group.

Despite claims made prior to the Farewell Tour that it would be the group's last, Kiss toured with Aerosmith in 2003. Frehley announced that his departure from the band was permanent, stating that he believed the Farewell Tour would be Kiss's last,[124] and that he did not want to open for Aerosmith.[125] He was permanently replaced by Thayer, as Kiss moved into a post-reunion phase that saw the band easing into a new lineup, permanently featuring Thayer as "Spaceman" and Singer as "the Catman". On this tour, still featuring Criss, the group introduced the "Platinum" tickets package, with the most expensive packages costing $1,000. This package included a seat in the first five rows, a meet-and-greet with Kiss after their performance and a photograph with the band.[126] The tour earned more than $64 million in 2003, which ranked seventh for the year.[127]

Simmons and Stanley did not renew Criss's contract when it expired in March 2004. Criss, on his website, stated that "No one, again, no one has called me, or my attorney about an extension for future touring. As a founding member I find this to be disrespectful to me, and to the fans that have made us one of the biggest bands in the world."[128]

During the summer of 2004, Kiss headlined the Rock the Nation 2004 World Tour, with Poison as the opening act. The tour ended in August with a sold-out show in Mexico City. Selected dates on the tour were filmed for the Rock the Nation Live! concert DVD, released on December 13, 2005.[129] Stanley, who had been experiencing increasing difficulty with his hip, had his mobility limited during the tour. He has already had two hip surgeries performed, with more likely in the future.[130]

After the conclusion of the Rock the Nation Tour, Kiss performed only sporadically for a number of years. The group played two shows in 2005, and another six in 2006. Four of the 2006 shows were July concerts in Japan, including two dates (July 22 and 23) as a headlining act at the 2006 Udo Music Festival. Kiss performed four July 2007 concerts, three of which were dubbed the Hit 'N Run Tour. Prior to the final show on July 27, Stanley was hospitalized with an extremely rapid heartbeat. In his absence, Kiss performed in concert as a trio for the first time since 1982. This was the first Kiss concert that Stanley had missed during his then 34-year tenure with the group.[131]

Kiss (along with Queen, Def Leppard and Judas Priest) were honored at the inaugural "VH1 Rock Honors" event, held May 25, 2006, in Las Vegas. In June 2006, Simmons and Stanley attended the opening of the Kiss Coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. On October 15, 2006, Simmons, Stanley and Criss were inaugural inductees into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, along with performers such as Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Louis Armstrong, the Ramones and Tony Bennett.[132]

Stanley released his second solo album, Live to Win, on October 24, 2006, and undertook a brief solo tour in support. On October 31 the same year, the group released Kissology Volume One: 1974–1977, the first of 10 possible DVD sets featuring complete concert footage, interviews and never-before-seen clips.[133] By January 2007, the set had been certified 5× Platinum in the United States.[134] A second volume was released on August 14, 2007. It was certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA on October 24.[135] What seemed to be the final entry, Kissology Volume Three: 1992–2000, was released on December 18, 2007, and has been certified 8x Platinum by the R.I.A.A.[136]

In April 2007, former guitarist St. John died from an apparent cerebral hemorrhage at age 51.[137] After being forced to leave Kiss in 1984, St. John formed the short-lived glam metal group White Tiger.

Though Kiss had been eligible for enshrinement in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1999, they were not nominated until 2009 and were not inducted until 2014. While this snub displeased some fans, Stanley and Simmons maintained that it was meaningless to them. Nevertheless, a group of about 200 Kiss fans held a protest rally in front of the Hall of Fame in Cleveland on August 5, 2006. It was the first known organized demonstration seeking the induction of a band into the Hall.[138]

In 2007, a new comic book series featuring the band was released by the Kiss Comics Group in association with Platinum Studios, titled Kiss 4K: Legends Never Die.

The band picked up their pace in 2008, embarking on their first proper tour of Europe in nearly a decade. On January 30, 2008, Stanley confirmed that Kiss would launch the Kiss Alive/35 World Tour, playing arena and stadium shows in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. On March 16, 2008, Kiss closed the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit as well as performing in Brisbane and Sydney as part of this tour. Kiss played at the Rock2Wgtn two-day festival held in Wellington, New Zealand, on March 22 and 23, 2008; the festival also featured Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Poison, Alice Cooper, Lordi, Sonic Altar and Symphony of Screams, with special effects provided by WETA Workshop (of The Lord of the Rings and King Kong fame).[139]

Throughout the summer of 2008, Kiss headlined festivals as well as their own shows and played to a record audience of about 400,000 people.[140] As part of this tour, Kiss headlined the Download Festival at England's Donington Park on June 13. Three days later, they headlined the Arrow Rock Festival in Nijmegen, Netherlands. On June 28, Kiss headlined the Graspop Metal Meeting in Dessel, Belgium. It was the last show of the European leg of the Kiss Alive/35 Tour. On August 4, Kiss played at Rockin' the Rally at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as part of the tour. South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds proclaimed August 4, 2008 to be "Kiss Rock and Roll Day" in South Dakota. In September 2008, both Simmons and Stanley confirmed rumors that the Kiss Alive/35 Tour would continue with extensive tours of North America in the beginning of 2009, as well as South America. The latter tour included shows on April 5 in Argentina, April 7 and 8 in Brazil, April 14 in Peru (the first Kiss show ever in Peru), and other concerts in Venezuela (the first Kiss show ever in Venezuela) and Chile. That summer, Kiss came back to North America to continue the Alive/35 World Tour, starting on July 18 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[141][142][143]

2008–2012: Sonic Boom and Monster[edit]

More than 10 years after their last studio album, and following years of denials about ever wanting to do a new album, Stanley and Simmons changed their minds. In November 2008, Stanley stated to rock photographer Ross Halfin that a new Kiss album was in the works. Stanley himself would be the producer, and the album would have a "real 70s Kiss sound" to it. Later that month, Simmons and Stanley both publicly confirmed the information about a new Kiss album:

We have 4 tunes recorded. If you're a fan of our stuff from about 1977, you'll feel right at home. All of us have taken up the songwriting call to arms in the same spirit we once did – without a care in the world and without outside writers. Nothing to prove to anyone. Just doing what comes naturally. Ignoring fashions, trends and with a personal vow from all of us: no rapping. There are plenty of people out there doing this and they don't need four palefaced guys pretending they're from the hood. Besides, I'm not sure how to correctly pronounce 'wassup.' See you all there ... Or maybe later![140]

The band appeared on American Idol in May 2009, performing "Detroit Rock City" and "Rock and Roll All Nite" with Adam Lambert.[144]

In October 2009, a new studio album, titled Sonic Boom, was released.[145] It included a CD of new material, re-recorded versions of famous Kiss hits (previously released as Jigoku-Retsuden, a Japanese exclusive album in 2008) and a live DVD recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina.[146] "Modern Day Delilah" was released as the lead single from Sonic Boom on August 19, 2009. The song was Kiss's first single release in 11 years, since 1998's "You Wanted the Best". The song gained positive feedback from both critics and fans, and was compared to the band's 1970s work.[147][148] In support of the new album, Kiss appeared live on Late Show with David Letterman on October 6, 2009, and on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on October 7, 2009. Sonic Boom debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

On September 25, 2009, the Kiss Alive/35 North American Tour kicked off at Cobo Hall in Detroit; both nights were filmed for future DVD release. These were the band's final performances there, as the venue was later closed as part of the renovation of the Cobo Center. Kiss headlined the 2009 Voodoo Experience held at City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Halloween night.[149] During their performance at the MTS Centre on November 9, 2009, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, one of the lighting trusses caught on fire from a pyro cue. The truss had to be lowered in order to have the fire put out. During the five or so minutes it took to extinguish the fire, the band broke into the song "Firehouse". No one was hurt and the show continued.[150]

Kiss started the European leg of the Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour in May 2010. Tragedy struck Kiss for a third time when former manager Aucoin died of cancer on June 28, 2010, at the age of 66. Stanley and Simmons said he was like the fifth member of Kiss. The tour included their first UK arena shows in 11 years and their first visit to Slovakia. Kiss later played at two dates in US cities Cheyenne, Wyoming and the North Dakota State Fair in Minot, North Dakota, in July 2010. They also played at the Indiana State Fair in August and the Minnesota State Fair in September. They also made a brief appearance at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga, New York, on August 17, 2010. On July 23, Kiss started The Hottest Show on Earth Tour in the United States.

On April 13, 2011, Kiss began recording a new album due for release later in the year.[151] Simmons stated, the album "is gonna be the next step to Sonic Boom. Very similar – straight rock songs, no ballads, no keyboards, no nothing, just rock."[151] The band also used old analog equipment instead of more popular digital recording gear. Simmons said: "Technology is a seductive bitch, she will seduce you. You press this button, you don't have to do anything. But analog is the love of your life. You can push real hard and it always gives back. For the new album, the actual recording process was 24-track tape and an old Trident board. And as many tubes as possible. You need tubes, electricity and thick wood to make that thick sound."[152][153]

Kiss spent the summer of 2011 playing venues in the US and Canada, visiting cities they had not played in some time; it was dubbed the "Lost Cities Tour". Their next album Monster was released in October 2012. KISS by Monster Mini Golf was opened in March 2012 in Las Vegas. The facility is an 18-hole indoor miniature golf course, featuring arcade games, a gift shop, and numerous pieces of band memorabilia on display. The complete current version of the band attended the grand opening.[154]

Kiss appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on March 20, 2012. A press conference was held on the same day to announce a summer North American tour called The Tour, co-headlined by Mötley Crüe. The Tour started on July 20 and ended on October 1.[155] The single "Hell or Hallelujah" was released internationally on July 2, 2012, and on July 3 in North America. Monster was released on October 9, 2012, in North America.

Kiss kicked off the Monster World Tour on November 7, 2012, in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the River Plate Stadium and continued the six-date South American leg with dates in Santiago, Asunción, Porto Alegre, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro until November 18. The Australian leg began on February 28, 2013, in Perth at the Perth Arena and ran through March 16 in Mackay at Virgin Australian Stadium. They were joined by Mötley Crüe, Thin Lizzy and Diva Demolition. The band extensively toured Europe and Canada with a few US dates in June through August, and then Japan in October.[156]

2013–2015: 40th anniversary, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and international collaboration[edit]

On October 16, 2013, Kiss was again announced as a nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,[157] and was subsequently announced as an inductee on December 17.[158]

In 2013, Kiss purchased a share of an Arena Football League expansion franchise set to begin play at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, in 2014. Simmons, Stanley and manager McGhee jointly owned the team, called the Los Angeles Kiss. Both Simmons and Stanley are known fans of the AFL.[159] The LA Kiss offered National Football League free agent quarterback Tim Tebow a contract to join their team and play in the AFL, but he did not join.[160] The team folded in 2016.[161]

In 2014, Kiss toured as co-headliners with Def Leppard. After Simmons toured with Joe Elliott in South America, the two talked about their bands working together. From June 23 to August 31, 2014, the bands toured 42 cities, with a dollar per ticket donated to such military charities as Wounded Warrior Project.[162]

For the first time in the band's 41-year history, Kiss was featured on the cover of the April 10, 2014 (Issue 1206) edition of Rolling Stone magazine. On April 10, 2014, Kiss was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Though the rockers did not perform, the original four members showed up at the 29th annual induction ceremony in Brooklyn to accept the honor.[158][163]

On January 28, 2015, Kiss released a collaboration single with the Japanese female idol group Momoiro Clover Z, titled "Yume no Ukiyo ni Saite Mi na". It was the first time Kiss had issued a collaboration record with another artist.[164] In Japan, it was released physically in two versions: "Momoiro Clover Z Edition" (on CD and Blu-ray) and "Kiss Edition" (CD only).[165][166] An alternate mix of the single's title song was also included as an opening track on the Japanese-only SHM-CD album Best of Kiss 40, released in Japan on the same day.[167][168]

Before the collaboration, the members of Kiss had watched concert videos of Momoiro Clover Z. Stanley later commented during an interview:

Spectacular show! Great choreography! Music like we never heard before. We said, "this is something we can do!" Somebody said, "Kiss, why are you doing it?" "Because we can!" It's two worlds getting together, doing something unbelievable. Music power rocks the world.[169]

On September 15, 2015, the RIAA announced that the band had earned more Gold records than any other American band in the association's 63-year history, with a total of 30 Gold album awards (including the band's four 1978 solo albums). Cary Sherman, the RIAA CEO and chairman, commented:

What an extraordinary achievement for an enduring band. Forty years later and the band is still rocking. Congratulations to KISS on their Gold album milestone and continued success.[170]

2016–present: Continued activities and final tour[edit]

In 2016, Kiss conducted a summer tour, titled the Freedom to Rock Tour, of less frequented cities and smaller venues. The tour ran throughout the summer, with opening acts Caleb Johnson and the Dead Daisies.[171] On December 13, 2016, Kiss performed during the season 11 finale of The Voice, accompanied by the season winner Sundance Head.[172]

There had been conflicting stories regarding whether Kiss would record another album. Simmons had said "yes" in interviews, saying that he had songs written and lined up for a new album. Stanley and Thayer disputed this, however, and said that they did not vow to make one and that the band could move forward without new music.[173][174] However, on March 25, 2021, Stanley stated that he hasn't ruled out the possibility of Kiss producing new music,[175] but has said in another interview that the band doesn't need to record another album.[176]

The band continued to perform shows in North America and Europe on the Kissworld Tour throughout 2017 and 2018.[177]

On September 19, 2018, following a performance on America's Got Talent, Kiss announced that it would be ending its career with the End of the Road World Tour in 2019.[178] Stanley commented:

This is gonna be our last tour. It will be the most explosive, biggest show we've ever done. People who love us, come see us. If you've never seen us, this is the time. This will be the show.[1]

In October 2018, the band reunited with Ace Frehley and Bruce Kulick on the Kiss Kruise. It performed "2,000 Man", "New York Groove", "Nothin' to Lose", and "Rock and Roll All Nite". This was the first time Frehley and the band had performed together since 2002 for the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and Kulick's first time performing with the band live since his departure in 1996.[179]

The band's final tour kicked off on January 31 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; it currently features 186 additional dates that run through October 3, 2020, in Fort Worth, United States.[180] In February 2019, Simmons said the farewell tour would likely gross between $150 million and $200 million, "not counting ancillaries, licensing, merchandise and stuff like that".[181] During the first leg of the End of the Road World Tour, Kiss was accused by fans of lip syncing and using backing tracks.[182] Three years prior, Simmons had been critical of bands using backing tracks on live shows. Former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach defended Kiss, saying that the band did not lip-sync at the show he attended.[183] Stanley did not confirm nor deny that he lip syncs on stage, saying he is taking care of his voice.[184]

On November 14, 2019, the band announced that its Australia and New Zealand shows on its final tour had been cancelled due to Stanley's health issues, and stated: "Doctor's orders ultimately have taken precedence and finally we now find ourselves with no choice but to surrender".[185] In December 2019, X Japan's Yoshiki joined the band in Tokyo and Osaka on their Japan leg to perform "Beth" on piano and "Rock and Roll All Nite" on drums.[186][187] They would later collaborate on a televised New Year's Eve performance in Japan, performing "Rock and Roll All Nite" under the combined name "YoshiKiss".[188][189]

Kiss appeared again as special guests on America's Got Talent on February 17, 2020, with a televised performance of "Rock and Roll All Nite".[190] The band would later dedicate "Do You Love Me" to Kobe Bryant and the 2020 Calabasas helicopter crash victims during the Los Angeles show at the Staples Center on March 4, 2020.[191]

Kiss performing at Hellfestin Clisson on June 22, 2019

With the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, the band had temporarily ceased its final tour, with Simmons commenting that the tour would continue once scientists had confirmed that it is safe to resume.[192] The 2020 edition of Kiss Kruise had been postponed to October 2021, as a result of the pandemic.[193]

Kiss had announced on November 20, 2020 that they would perform an exclusive New Year's Eve 2020 livestream show.[194] The Kiss New Year's Eve 2020 Goodbye livestream concert was produced by City Drive Studios[195] and directed by Daniel Catullo.[196] The pay-per-view concert was part of the Landmarks Live Series and was filmed with over fifty 4K cameras with 360-degree views on a 250-foot stage at The Royal Beach at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. The performance broke two Guinness World Records: one for the highest flame projection in a music concert and another for the most flame projections launched simultaneously in a music concert.[197]

On December 2, 2020, Simmons confirmed that the band would continue their final tour in the summer of 2021; in which there are another 150 shows left, as well as rescheduling the Australian leg of the final tour.[198][199] In a June 2021 interview, Stanley remained optimistic that the band will complete their final tour when playing concerts is safe and discussed the inevitable retirement of Kiss.[200] He also did not rule out the possibility of former members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss making appearances during the final tour, stating that he is "open to the idea".[201]

It was announced on December 15, 2020 that a biopic of the band was in the works, with hopes to release it on time with the band's final concert. The band's manager Doc McGhee spoke about the process: "Hopefully in the next week we'll have a company behind it, and we'll start finishing the script, and hopefully by the time we end we'll have a movie finished for July of next year."[202] Deadline reported that Netflix has nearly finalized a deal to produce the Kiss biopic titled Shout it Out Loud.[203] The film will be made with close cooperation from both Simmons and Stanley, and will focus on the formative years of the band.[204][205]

Following the announcement of the biopic, a two-part documentary on the band titled Biography: Kisstory was also announced and aired on A&E on both June 27 and 28, 2021, with an exclusive live performance following after its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 11, 2021.[206][207]

In an interview on October 6, 2021, Stanley confirmed that the final concert for Kiss will likely happen within the next year and a half, stating: "I believe strongly by the beginning of 2023 we will be finished, it seems only natural for the final show to be in New York. That is where the band started, and that was really the background for the band getting together and writing these songs and played loft parties and played clubs starting with an audience of probably 10 people. It seems we should go full circle."[208]

Artistry[edit]

Musical style[edit]

Kiss has typically been classified under the genres of hard rock,[209]shock rock, heavy metal,glam metal,[211] and glam rock.[212] Most of its 1970s albums, particularly the first six released between 1974 and 1977 as well as 1982's Creatures of the Night and 1984's Animalize, featured a hard rock or traditional heavy metal style. 1979's Dynasty and 1980's Unmasked featured a more disco/pop rock sound, and 1981's Music from "The Elder" found the band dabbling in progressive rock. In 1983, starting with Lick It Up and the removal of its trademark make-up, the band began incorporating glam metal into its sound and visual image.[213][214] Later, in the early 1990s, its sound grew heavier and abandoned the glam metal sound.[215] In the mid-1990s, the band returned to its original sound.[212]

Its music is described as "a commercially potent mix of anthemic, fist-pounding hard rock, driven by sleek hooks and ballads powered by loud guitars, cloying melodies, and sweeping strings. It was a sound that laid the groundwork for both arena rock and the pop-metal that dominated rock in the late 1980s."[212] The first review of Kiss by Rolling Stone, in 1973, described the band as "an American Black Sabbath".[216] The same magazine's review of Hotter than Hell stated that "with twin guitars hammering out catchy mondo-distorto riffs and bass and drums amiably bringing up the rear, Kiss spews forth a deceptively controlled type of thunderous hysteria."[217] At the same time, Bennington Banner from Rock Music magazine said, "With its members' bizarre, Kabuki-like makeup, studded black leather costumes and arsenal of on-stage firepower – both musical and literal – Kiss represents the most extreme form of hard rock in 1974."[218]

Makeup designs[edit]

The band is famous for its iconic makeup designs, each of which represents a different character or persona. The current lineup consists of the original four designs: the "Starchild", the "Demon", the "Spaceman" and the "Catman". The band formerly included a practice of giving any new members a new persona, such as "the Fox" for Carr and "the Ankh Warrior" for Vincent; this practice was ended after Singer and Thayer took up Frehley's "Spaceman" and Criss's "Catman" personas. When asked on the matter, Simmons stated "Why wouldn't we use the classic makeup? We own it". Criss relinquished his rights to his makeup when he left the band in 2004, which he later regretted, saying "I'm pissed at myself that my makeup slipped through my hands"; while Frehley claims he licensed his design to the band and would get it back, a notion which Stanley has called "a fantasy".[219]

During 1973–74, Stanley occasionally used an alternative makeup design called the "Bandit" for select photo-shoots and live shows after Neil Bogart, head of Casablanca Records, suggested to him that he use a design that was symmetrical like those of the rest of the band. During this time, he was also still using the Starchild makeup—sometimes even using both designs at the same photo-shoots. In 1974, he stopped using the Bandit design permanently. On the cover of the band's debut album, Criss used a drastically different variation of his Catman makeup (dubbed the "Pantomime Cat") after he allowed the makeup artist at the shoot to use their own ideas instead of following the usual design. Carr was originally going to be the "Hawk", a design which Simmons recalled in his autobiography looked like Big Bird from Sesame Street. One photo of Carr wearing this proposed design exists today, and also one of a mannequin Stanley set up wearing the proposed makeup and outfit. Unlike the Bandit and Pantomime Cat, this alternative design was never used in any official capacity. The Hawk design was also considered for Vincent and Singer.[220]

St. John and Kulick were members of Kiss only during the non-makeup period. Kulick stated that had he ever worn makeup in the band, he would have liked to have been the "Dog": "I figure that since there's already a cat in the band, I should probably be the dog. I'd have a big circle around one eye and I'd look like Petey from the Little Rascals. I've actually seen one or two fan renditions of what that might look like, so yeah, I'd be the dog." The four original makeup designs have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with ownership and licensing rights held by Simmons and Stanley.

Influences[edit]

British glam rockband Slade(pictured in 1973) was among the band's influences.

Kiss was strongly influenced by Alice Cooper and the New York Dolls,[221] while Gene Simmons has stated that the band's "musical heart and soul lies in England".[222]The Beatles and the Yardbird's trio of rock guitarists Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck were among the British acts he praised, with Simmons stating, "I've ripped off so many English riffs, if the British influence wasn't there, we wouldn't be here. 'Rock and Roll All Nite' is a direct bastard child of Slade's 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now'".[222] In his book, Kiss and Make-Up, Simmons wrote of the glam rock group Slade, "... we liked the way they connected with the crowd and the way they wrote anthems ... we wanted that same energy, that same irresistible simplicity".[223]

The world of concert touring was changed by Kiss's practice of erecting uniquely designed stage sets. Tours got larger, carrying more personnel and equipment, including sets, costumes, sound and lighting gear, and pyrotechnics, all requiring more trucking and the total cost increasing by millions of dollars. Kiss also innovated with a significant expansion of concert merchandising, selling non-musical Kiss-branded goods to concertgoers. The sales of merchandise helped pay for the concert expenses and bring a profit to the band as well as give them more of a presence without relying solely on radio. Other bands copied Kiss by selling their own branded goods at concerts, a practice which became more of a necessity in the 1980s with increasing costs of touring.[221][224] In addition to concert merchandising, Kiss has extended its influence to include a full Kiss-themed mini-golf course at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.[225][226]

Members[edit]

Further information: List of Kiss members

Current

  • Paul Stanley – lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar (1973–present)
  • Gene Simmons – lead and backing vocals, bass (1973–present)
  • Eric Singer – drums, backing and lead vocals (1991–1996, 2001−2002, 2004–present)
  • Tommy Thayer – lead guitar, backing and lead vocals (2002–present)

Former

  • Ace Frehley – lead guitar, backing and lead vocals (1973–1982, 1996–2002)
  • Peter Criss – drums, backing and lead vocals (1973–1980, 1996–2001, 2002–2004)
  • Eric Carr – drums, backing and lead vocals (1980–1991; his death)
  • Vinnie Vincent – lead guitar, backing vocals (1982–1984)
  • Mark St. John – lead guitar, backing vocals (1984; died 2007)
  • Bruce Kulick – lead guitar, backing vocals (1984–1996)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Kiss

Discography[edit]

Main articles: Kiss discography and songs

Studio albums

Tours[edit]

See also[edit]

Citations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ab"It's Official: KISS To Launch Farewell Tour, 'End Of The Road', In 2019". Blabbermouth.net. September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  2. ^"GENE SIMMONS Says KISS's 'End Of The Road' Tour Could Last More Than Three Years". Blabbermouth. November 12, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  3. ^"KISS To Launch Three Year Tour In January 2019, Says GENE SIMMONS". Blabbermouth. June 4, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  4. ^Kielty, Martin. "Kiss Reveal 75 New 2020 'End of the Road' Tour Dates". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  5. ^"PAUL STANLEY On Why 'End Of The Road' Is KISS's Final Tour: 'It's Just Not Possible To Continue Doing This The Way We Do It'". Blabbermouth.net. January 5, 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  6. ^"15 Most Influential Bands of All Time". Loudwire. 30 August 2018.
  7. ^ ab"KISS - America's #1 Gold Record Award Winning Group of All Time". Recording Industry Association of America. September 15, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  8. ^"Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  9. ^Martin-Brown, Becca (September 22, 2017). "Rooted In Enjoyment". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  10. ^"RIAA Top Selling Artists". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  11. ^"MTVNews.com: The Greatest Metal Bands Of All Time". Mtv.com. March 9, 2006. Archived from the original on July 28, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  12. ^"VH1: '100 Greatest Hard Rock Artists': 1-50". RockOnTheNet. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  13. ^"The 50 Best Metal + Hard Rock Live Bands of All Time". Loudwire.com. October 19, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  14. ^Gooch and Suhs, Kiss Alive Forever, pp. 14.
  15. ^Gill, Focus, pp. 68–71.
  16. ^Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask, pp. 20–21.
  17. ^Gill, Julian. Kiss On Tour (2020 ed.). KISSFAQ. p. 6. ISBN .
  18. ^"Artist bio: Ace Frehley". Kayos Productions. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
  19. ^Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask, pp. 33, 57–58.
  20. ^Gene Simmons (1987). Exposed (VHS). Mercury.
  21. ^Gebert and McAdams, Kiss & Tell, pp. 41, 42.
  22. ^Apfelbaum, Sue (April 29, 2013). "Iconic New York Music Logos Explained – KISS". Red Bull Music Academy. p. 12. Retrieved June 16, 2017. Article also hosted by Sue Apfelbaum here.
  23. ^Van Luling, Todd (26 May 2016). "Paul Stanley Shares Stories You Didn't Know About KISS". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  24. ^Van Luling, Todd (July 8, 2016). "Ace Frehley Addresses Theory About The Famous KISS Logo". HuffPost. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  25. ^Wilkening, Matthew (May 18, 2020). "How Nazi Comparisons Forced Kiss to Change Their Logo in Germany". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  26. ^Simmons, Gene (2001). Kiss and Make-up. Crown. ISBN 0-609-60855-X. p. 119
  27. ^Mikkelson, David (21 May 2014). "KISS: Does It Stand for 'Knights in Satan's Service'?". Snopes.com. Snopes. Archived from the original on 6 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  28. ^Wilkening, Matthew (January 30, 2016). "The Day Kiss Played Their First Show". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  29. ^(2019). End of the Road World Tour Program, p. 4.
  30. ^Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask, pp. 145–146.
  31. ^Gooch and Suhs, Kiss Alive Forever, p. 27.
  32. ^"Kiss Chronology". kissonline.com. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  33. ^(2019). End of the Road World Tour Program, p. 5.
  34. ^Kielty, Martin (March 29, 2021). "When Kiss Made Their National TV Debut". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  35. ^Greene, Andy (April 22, 2021). "Flashback: Kiss Perform 'Firehouse' on 'The Mike Douglas Show' in 1974". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  36. ^Kissology Volume One: 1974–1977 (DVD). VH1 Classic. October 31, 2006.
  37. ^Gill, Focus, pp. 140–141.
  38. ^Prato, Greg. "Review Dressed to Kill". AllMusic. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
  39. ^"On tour with KISS". EW.com. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  40. ^Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask, pp. 62–64.
  41. ^Young, Charles (April 7, 1977). "Kiss: The Pagan Beasties of Teenage Rock".
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Steve Simmons: Why these were the perfect Olympics in an imperfect place

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Now we are here, as the Games of Pyeongchang come to an end, and there is neither one extreme nor the other to feel

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Steve Simmons

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PYEONGCHANG — There is usually a distinct impression left at the end of every Olympic Games. You either love it or you hate it. It grabs you and pulls you in or it leaves you cold and somewhat indifferent.

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I was mesmerized by Sydney in the summer of 2000 and by Lillehammer in the winter of 1994, cities and countries that came to life as Olympic hosts, made you want to be one of them. Even tired as we are at the end of every Games, you didn’t want to go home. You weren’t ready to say goodbye.

I couldn’t wait to leave Albertville in 1992 or Atlanta in 1996 — disorganized Games run by disinterested people.

And now we are here, as the Games of Pyeongchang come to an end, and there is neither one extreme nor the other to feel. It’s not ambivalence but it’s not the giddy excitement of Vancouver on the final Olympic Sunday of the 2010 Games. Mostly, these were an Olympics of wonderful moments — which is all Olympics, really — but also a Games of incongruity and contradiction, a Games without feel.

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In fairness, these have been a rather perfect Olympics in a blue sky restaurant fort smith arkansas imperfect place. The infrastructure worked, which on its own is often miraculous. The Athletes’ Village got high marks from those who lived there. The buses ran when the buses were supposed to run. The venues were of reasonable calibre and easily accessed and the controversy surrounding the Games was mostly minimal or Russian or both.

Staging an Olympics can be like dealing with a Rubik’s Cube on performance enhancing drugs. It’s that complicated. It moves that fast. And the Pyeongchang organizers pulled that part off impeccably.

But Olympics aren’t just about buildings and buses and structure and technology and television. They’re about people. They’re about an event with its own pulse. They’re about creating buzz. And this is where Pyeongchang never found its way.

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There were too many empty seats at too many events, some of that attributed to the cost of tickets, some of that attributed to the scheduled time of events, a lot of it attributed to the lack of interest there is in winter sports here.

When Canada played the U.S. in the women’s hockey gold-medal game, with a historical ending and a shootout for the ages, the building was two-thirds full with Americans and the Canadians. The Koreans just didn’t seem to care.

They didn’t care for a lot of the winter disciplines, but curling and the unlikely story of the Garlic Girls pulled in the whole country here. This became the hot ticket in Gangneung, the coastal half of these games. That and short track speed skating were the only hot tickets of the Games.

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The Garlic Girls, four curlers with Spice Girl-like nicknames and cat-like clothing, were called Pancake and Sunny and Yogurt Annie and Steak. When they advanced to the gold-medal game in extra ends, the country exploded in sporting excitement. It was one of the few memorable moments for the host country, which really won its largest gold medal in friendly simmons first bank anywhere login page and youthful enthusiasm.

Every volunteer could say “hello” or “good morning” often with a warm smile on a cold day, even if they couldn’t say anything else in English, which has become, over time, the language of the Games.

The other Korean moment to cherish: the first hockey game for Korea’s women’s team, in a rink full of North Korean cheerleaders, with the players from the north and south politically forced to play together for the very first time. Maybe it was just for one night, and for the combined Koreans, just one tournament, but it brought two enemies together in the name of sport. And the crowd, not knowing hockey at all, cheered everything from faceoffs to broken sticks, the movement of the puck in any direction.

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“This wasn’t just a hockey game,” IOC president Thomas Bach told the players, who lost 8-0 to Switzerland. “It was more than that.”

Whether it was, in fact, more than that will be determined over time, but entering the Games there was a certain fear about the geographical closeness between North and South Korea and the political problems that existed. If there were political problems here, no one was aware of them. “The players here,” said South Korean coach Sarah Murray, “were the real heroes of the Games.”

The historical notion of the Olympics is the Games bring people together but the reality normally is quite the opposite. It separates and distinguishes countries. What matters in one place, doesn’t resonate somewhere else. The gold medal wins in women’s hockey and men’s curling by the United States were considered historical and triumphant in the U.S. and somewhat disastrous by Canadian standards.

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That’s how the world views sports here: through its own prism and its own circumstances.

And always, there are breakthrough stars.

The biggest star of these Games should be Ester Ledecka of Czech Republic, who managed something that has never been done before. In an Olympic setting in which the impossible becomes a daily occurrence, Ledecka made history all her own.

She won a simmons first bank anywhere login page medal in skiing. And a gold medal in snowboarding. That might be like winning a gold medal in swimming and diving at the same Games.

“It takes a lot of effort to become a professional skier,” said Justin Reiter, her snowboard coach. “It takes a lot of effort to become a professional snowboarder. And she does both with ease.”

She won two gold medals. Simmons first bank anywhere login page cross country skier Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo from Norway was the only athlete to win three gold medals here. The brave Canadian short track speed skating rookie, Kim Boutin, came home with three medals, a story to write a book about and a Canadian flag to carry in the closing ceremony.

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It doesn’t the matter the setting, the feel, the number of smiling kids you might or might not see, the Olympics provides no shortage of breathtaking greatness.

For Canada, these were an Olympics of glee and crushing disappointment. One does not balance the other. But the story might be that Canada won a record number of medals, could have won more, and in sports we hold dear to our national scope, hockey and curling, the results left us wanting more.

But before leaving here, I will remember more than podium performances; more than Alex Harvey coming so close in cross country skiing three different times; more than the bravery of 20-year-old Canadian skater Gabrielle Daleman, who fell three times in her free skate routine and still came out to talk to media about it; more than eating too much simmons first bank anywhere login page food with not enough napkins and my elusive search for artificial sweetener; more than the Tongan Pita Taufatofua, who learned to cross country ski in three months, and then celebrated his 114th place finish in the 15-kilometre event.

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But if there’s a face of these Games, other than the smiling volunteers, other than Ledecka, it is two different faces, really. Simmons first bank anywhere login page sporting moment that won’t leave me was the final of the ice dance, with the Canadian team of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir having to be perfect to win gold. And then they were. They had to be effervescent and better than they’ve ever been before.

And they smiled and we smiled and the world smiled back. This wasn’t just about Canadian gold. In an absolute different way, it was world gold, with cameras clicking, the way Usain Bolt would capture gold, with drama and fun and beauty and the cameras not letting go. Not during their skate. Not after.

That’s the power of any Olympics. It can be too cold and rookie football cards worth money windy — as it was some days in the mountains here — or the ice can be terrible at two different hockey arenas, with pucks bouncing in all directions, but the show goes on. The show triumphs over drug cheats and corruption and scandal. It always does.

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Источник: https://nationalpost.com/sports/olympics/simmons-why-these-were-the-perfect-olympics-in-an-imperfect-place