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Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial: Stacey Abrams announced as keynote speaker for nationally televised commemoration

A nationally televised event that will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has found its keynote speaker.

The Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission announced Wednesday that political activist Stacey Abrams will fill that role at Remember & Rise, scheduled for Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, at ONEOK Field.

Abrams joins singer-songwriter John Legend, whose participation was announced last week.

Legend and Abrams will be part of the event’s formal program from 4-6 p.m.

More musical performances will follow, then at 10:30 p.m., a candlelight vigil will be held on the streets of the Greenwood District to commemorate the beginning of the Race Massacre.

Tickets to the event are free, and become available online starting this Friday at

Abrams, a voting rights activist and former Georgia lawmaker, is best known for her decade of voter-access and political infrastructure work that helped turn the state of Georgia Democratic in 2020.

Phil Armstrong, centennial commission project director, said, “We are excited to hear from Stacey in person and apply her tenacity and dedication to the reconciliation of Greenwood beyond this year.

“Her tireless efforts to create equity and access for Black Georgia voters has inspired the entire country to re-envision what inclusive structures, systems and communities should look like.”

Abrams served for 11 years in the Georgia House of Representatives and was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2018. She was the first Black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the U.S., as well as the first Black woman and first Georgian to deliver a response to the State of the Union.

In a news release, Abrams said the race massacre centennial “compels us to reflect on this tragic history, without which reconciliation is impossible. Its reverberations continue across communities today, where too many Black Americans face economic hardship, disproportionate police and gun violence, and assaults on their freedom to vote.

“I join in the recognition of what Tulsa’s Black families endured 100 years ago, knowing that together, we can create a more equitable nation where systemic racism is conquered at last.”

ONEOK Field, 201 N. Elgin Ave., will open at noon on May 31, with artists and speakers to appear throughout the afternoon leading up to the formal program.

COVID precautions will be observed.

That includes masks, which will be required for all attendees due to limited social distancing capability. A temperature screening will be required for entrance at the gate.

Officials said event capacity will allow for 6,000 attendees.

Additional requirements will be detailed on the commission website at

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