MARTIN BLAMES RIOTS TO LAX CITY HALL RULE
BY Tulsa Tribune
Jun 2, 1921
1/20/13 at 7:36 AM
Fixes Responsibility, Plans Restoration
A complete fall down of the city government, police authorities and county sheriff’s office influenced by the citizenship was stamped plainly as the main cause of the fearful calamity which brought dishonor upon the city in the events of yesterday’s race riots, by former Judge Loyal J. Martin, who was elected chairman of the reconstruction executive committee at the city hall auditorium today.
Judge Martin was the unanimous choice for chairman of the 40 business men and civic leaders who gathered to form a reconstruction committee. With him on the executive committee were named: H.L. Standeven, Cyrus S. Avery, Grant McCullough, Dr. S.G. Kennedy, C.F. Hopkins and R.F. Tyrrell. This group is to assume full charge of the relief situation as it exists in the aggregate and will have permanent responsibility for immediate relief work and financial measures of rehabilitating the colored district. The responsibility for immediate relief work, however, is to remain with the Red Cross which assumed active work in those lines early yesterday.
Demands Grand Jury Quiz
The striking statements made by Judge Martin and others at the meeting charging the guilt for the riots to a faulty police department and sheriff’s office assumed more importance when viewed in the light of Governor Robertson’s announcement that he will demand a grand jury investigation of the race riot and their causes. District Judges Williams, Hunt and Biddison were to take joint counsel today concerning the procedure of summoning this grand jury.
Judge Martin addressed the meeting immediately after Brig. Gen. Charles S. Barrett had urged the business men of Tulsa to take vigilance steps to discourage mob and lynch law and to fight for a higher standard law enforcement here.
“City Government Falls Down”
“We have neglected our duties and our city government has fallen down,” declared Martin flatly in his statement to the group. “We have had a failing police protection here and now we have got to pay the costs of it. The city and county is legally liable for every dollar of the damages which have been done. Other cities have had to pay the bill of race riots and we shall have to do so probably, because we have neglected our duty as citizens.”
Smashing applause greeted Judge Martin’s declaration that most of the damage done to property was done by criminals who would have been shot on the spot. He urged that the commission determine whether city and county authorities would be able to cope with the situation after the troops leave.
Suggests Appeal to Legion
“If the police authorities can’t take charge of the city, we’d better get the American Legion on the job and have a detachment of one hundred men in readiness for every outbreak during the coming period.”
Judge Martin then proposed that tents be set up at once at various concentration points for negro refugees, including the burned area and that the commission undertake to lay plans for rebuilding the houses on a standard plan which could bring speed and economy into play.
Martin further proposed that the negro refugees be allowed to go home to their relatives and friends nearby, so far as possible.
Judge H.L. Standeven declared that the entire city would have to take part in the burden of reconstruction. He urged that everything possible be done by the newspapers to speed the gathering of funds and to alleviate the excited state of the public mind.
C.R. Rogers, supported Martin’s stand that every criminal and lawless fellow who took part in the rioting and plundering should have been shot and killed. He declared that the business men of Tulsa had fallen down on their job and that now they must make restitution by giving time and money and effort in the work of reconstruction.
Need System in Work
Major C.F. Hopkins pointed out the great need for centralizing the relief work and civic directions, saying that contradictory orders were being issued with great resulting confusion. He estimated that 2,000 negroes would be assembled at the fair grounds tonight in need of food and shelter and sanitary provisions.
Nominations from the floor were made for the positions on the executive committee of the Reconstruction commission. Major Alva J. Niles, who presided at the meeting, asked that his name be withdrawn because of duties in other lines which he must perform. The name of Mayor Evans was proposed and howled down in a chorus of “No. He’s fallen down already.” “He has more than he can handle now,” and similar statements.