Top story for 2012: Good Friday shootings
BY MICHAEL OVERALL World Staff Writer
Monday, December 31, 2012
12/31/12 at 6:56 AM
A few days before Christmas, the national office of the NAACP called to ask how Tulsa was dealing with the aftermath of the Good Friday shootings, eight months ago.
"There's not a lot being said about it anymore," explained the Rev. Warren Blakney, a minister at North Peoria Church of Christ and president of the local NAACP chapter.
"We all came together in such a way that it didn't become a long, drawn-out crisis, like it could have."
And maybe that - not the shooting spree itself - should rank as Tulsa's No. 1 story of the year.
Scattered across north Tulsa, three people were killed and two others injured in the early hours of April 6.
All of the victims were black, while the suspects were described as white, drawing national media to Tulsa and leaving community leaders nervous about racial tensions.
City Councilor Jack Henderson, whose district included at least some of the crime scenes, heard about several minor incidents between white and black residents.
"There were heated words being exchanged," he said. "It was just talk, but under the circumstances it could've blown up.
"It was the most difficult situation I've ever dealt with in my public life because the stakes were so huge.
"We had to keep the lid on this city."
Easter morning, following tips from the public, Tulsa police arrested two suspects, now charged with murder and hate crimes.
Jake England and Alvin Watts are scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 9, and their court proceedings will surely be one of the most followed stories of 2013.
Meanwhile, Henderson and Blakney will help plan a commemoration for the first anniversary.
"Obviously, there are issues and inequalities that we still need to deal with," Blakney said.
"But I was proud of the way my city came together. There was no black Tulsa or white Tulsa. There was just Tulsa."
Original Print Headline: 'City came together'
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Krystal Tattershall puts a tribute at the scene of her neighbor Bobby Clark's shooting at 300 W. 63rd St. North on April 9. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World
City Councilor Jack Henderson (left) and Pastor Warren Blakney, who played a key role in the community's response to the Good Friday shootings, meet at the North Peoria Church of Christ on Dec. 20. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Jesse Jackson speaks on the steps of First Baptist Church North Tulsa, before a meeting with local leaders on Friday, April 13. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World