ATTN: Hayley Romer
60 Madison Avenue
6th Floor: The Atlantic
New York, NY 10010
Dear Brad Girson:
I’m writing to you about the Massacre of the black wall street Graphic Novel . I am representing the voice of Dick Rowland .
I , Dick Rowland, was accused of assaulting a white woman. I am here to inform you this ruined my reputation because I am a black male and the information was only one sided .
First I would like to say I was detained and beaten. I was scared and devastated , in the state of Oklahoma police wanted to silence me and thought I should not be heard because I am a black male. And my version of the story should be believed. I have a voice to use .
The whole state accused me of assaulting a white woman and when i tried using my only weapon i had to use was my mouth i was silenced by the police they didn’t bother to hear me or even question . The police just tried to bring the white woman to light . While the police brought the news to light nobody believed me except one person whose name was Dr . Alicia Odewale. Dr. Odewale was an Assistant professor at the University of Tulsa . She was African American so she knew the struggle and how it was to be labeled as a victim without proof and justice ! Dr. Odewale wanted to make a change and I continued to help her .
I would like to question the state of Oklahoma,because even though I am colored I have a voice to use. I want to ask should I be able to speak up for what I believe in?
P.S. I know I’m dead, but I would still appreciate it if you write me back.
Thank you for your post Ny’Aira!
I really enjoyed the perspective change on this issue. I think you prove a really strong point about how African-American are treated and labeled as criminals even if they haven’t committed any kind of crime or violence in general. I believe you really show that in statements like: “The whole state accused me of assaulting a white woman and when I tried using my only weapon i had to use was my mouth i was silenced by the police they didn’t bother to hear me or even question.”
The whole paragraph really speaks up to me because even if I am a white male, I am Queer and I had experiences where I was labeled in ways that didn’t quite fit me, I wasn’t able to advocate for myself . So on a really extremely small level, I relate to his experience which is not shown by history or the media.
I think even if it was a strong paragraph, I believe that to make clear that the issue is still real in today’s society you could do some research in articles like: “The Mass Criminalization of Black Americans: A Historical Overview” by Annual reviews ( https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-criminol-060520-033306 ). I got to congratulate you on your writing and research which was really fun to read and had a little bit of humor which was truly appreciated. I look forward to your next writing and the issues that you will talk about.
I am impressed by your piece, “What if Dick Rowland Could Tell His Side of the Story?” because the Tulsa Race Massacre has stuck with me since the first time I learned about it. Simply put, it was very interesting to see someone put themselves in a mindset of Rowland to write a piece that represents how he felt. I really like the way you portrayed the fact that he was unjustly treated by the Oklahoma police.
A sentence you wrote that really resonated with me was, “i tried using my only weapon i had to use was my mouth.” I think this is a really powerful way to describe the injustice that Rowland as well as countless other POC have experienced throughout the history of the United States. Describing a voice as a weapon really pushes two ideas, a pro, and a con. The pro is that you should never feel hopeless because you are always armed with a voice, it simply depends on how you communicate. The con however is that this weapon requires others to take up their own weapon to be most effective; though this may also be seen as a positive seeing as it sheds light on the idea that strength in numbers makes anything possible.
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because from reading this, it is clear to me that you have a creative, but just voice. Seeing that people acknowledge injustice and use that terrible history to create creative pieces like yours to send a message is very encouraging; makes me think that hopefully more people will remember that acknowledging the injustices that occurred in our history will help us fight injustice today.
I liked how deeply she portrayed the voice of Dick Rowland and how it was to be a black man and not be heard. I also like the connections she made of what the state/ white mobs thought of the situation, and differing theirs from her point of view. I like how she made it more about her point of view(Dick Rowland) but still connected it to how society viewed it and how they were wrong. I also liked how she connected to the person who did believe her. This was very powerful! I also liked the ending when she asked she should be able to speak up about what she believed in because it make me connect back to him not having a voice and how they immediately believed the white woman and did the massacre. And how even though he is black, his voice still matters! And how we as African-American people matter and what we believe in also matters.