Tom Hanks Says It’s ‘Not Right’ American’s Weren’t Taught About The Tulsa Massacre

Wikimedia Commons, By Zach Catanzareti

Legendary actor Tom Hanks is “angry” at the Americans who made the “editorial” choice to exclude the 1921 Tulsa Massacre from the country’s history curriculum.

“I knew more about my Portuguese heritage than I did about being black and living in Tulsa in 1921. That’s not right. It’s not what an education should be,” he said during an appearance on the “Another Act” podcast. 

 “It’s not what the grand lesson of even something as basic as our pledge of allegiance should be, when we’re going to dare to say the words ‘with liberty and justice for all,’” he continued. “That was not liberty and justice for all and it’s not right, and it made me mad.”

Hanks discussed his education while growing up in Oakland, California, and what led him to write an opinion piece about the Tulsa Massacre for The New York Times ahead of Juneteenth last year. 

“I read a New York Times piece on a hundred-year-old survivor of the Tulsa Massacre, and my question was this, ‘What’s the Tulsa Massacre?’” He explained. “You know, I was taught American history every three years growing up, fifth grade, eighth grade, eleventh grade… And I’ve read it ever since for pleasure.”

“How is it that it wasn’t until two years ago that I heard about the Tulsa Massacre?” Hanks questioned. “I heard about all kinds of disasters in which people died,” he added. “But I had never heard about this thing that happened in 1921.”

Hanks was incredulous that Americans had never heard about how Black Wall Street was burned down and residents were driven out of the city limits by “an angry mob of, I’m sorry, white people.” 

He said that if he was taught this at the age of ten, it would have “been a moment of enlightenment,” that would have changed his perception of American history. 

“It made me mad that somebody had somehow made an editorial process of what was appropriate for us to learn about our own American history. It made me angry,” he concluded. 

Watch the rest of his interview below: 


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