After The Burning: The Economic Effects of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

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Abstract:

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre resulted in the burning and leveling of 35 square blocks of a once-thriving Black neighborhood. Nearly every Black-owned home in the city was looted and then burned, resulting in the complete destruction of the vibrant community, once hailed as "Black Wall Street." We report initial estimates from a larger project aimed at understanding the consequences of this event. We use a triple differences strategy to estimate the effect of the Massacre on the Black population of Tulsa up until 1940. We find that for the Black population of Tulsa, the Massacre resulted in a decline in home ownership, occupational status, and educational attainment. It also resulted in an increase in labor force participation, particularly for women. We also find evidence that Black people living in Oklahoma, but outside of Tulsa county, were also affected by the Massacre. These spillover effects tend to be in the same direction as the direct effects but are smaller in magnitude.

Last updated on 07/02/2020