Senate passes bill requiring teaching of Tulsa Race Riot history

Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre and Rep. Jabar Shumate: McIntyre, D-Tulsa, said the topic is sometimes omitted in the classroom. "It has been an option," she said. "A lot don't teach it."

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Senate passed a measure Thursday that would require high schools in the state to teach students about the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.

Senate Bill 1381 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, D-Tulsa, and Rep. Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa, passed by a vote of 33-6 and now heads to the House.

"School districts shall ensure that information concerning the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 is presented in high school courses in U.S. history or Oklahoma history," the bill states.

The measure would be effective July 1. McIntyre said no cost would be associated with it.

Tricia Pemberton, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, said information about the race riot is already being taught.

"It is the standard required by the state Department of Education, which has the effect of law," she said in an email.

The state has required the topic in Oklahoma history classes since 2000 and in U.S. history classes since 2004. It has been in Oklahoma history books since 2009, according to the agency.

McIntyre said she brought measure to the Legislature because the topic sometimes is omitted in the classroom.

"It has been an option," she said. "A lot don't teach it."

Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, was among the six lawmakers voting against the measure.

He said he was taught about the Tulsa Race Riot in Oklahoma history.

"We are already teaching it in schools," Brecheen said. "My question is why do we need to run a mandate to force it?"

He said he was concerned that the issue was being politicized.

"And the politically correct vote would have been to vote in favor of it," Brecheen said. "And I just think we as a society have to move away with what is politically correct on these issues."

The Tulsa Race Riot resulted in dozens of deaths, hundreds of injuries and the destruction of most of Tulsa's black Greenwood district.

"It teaches us about how far hatred can go," McIntyre said.

Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465 SUBHEAD: The state's high school curriculum already requires the topic to be covered.

Original Print Headline: Bill aimed at teaching Race Riot history advances

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