A prior agreement between the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission and the three living survivors of the event was upended at the last minute. Legal representatives for the survivors previously agreed that they would appear at the “Remember and Rise” event in return for $100,000 each and a $2 million seed gift to a reparations coalition fund, according to state Sen. Kevin Matthews, chairman of the commission, speaking at a Friday press conference.
The parties agreed to those terms, he said.
But at the last minute, the demands changed. Lawyers for the survivors asked for $1 million for each and $50 million for the fund, said Matthews.
“We could not respond to those demands,” he said. “I absolutely want the survivors, the descendants and others that were affected to be financially and emotionally supported, however this is not the way, no matter how hard we try.”
Lawyers representing the survivors and descendants did not comment.
EARLIER: The commission behind the centennial memorial of the 1921 Tulsa Black Wall Street massacre said today that its Remember & Rise event set for Monday has been canceled.
John Legend was scheduled to headline the event, with Stacey Abrams as the keynote speaker and CSI: NY and The Good Doctor actor Hill Harper emceeing. The event sponsors claimed it was going to be “nationally televised,” but which network was handling was left vague.
Remember & Rise also had America’s Got Talent Season 15 winner Brandon Leake; Damon Lindelof, producer of HBO’s Watchmen, which was set in Tulsa; and video presentations from national leaders, including former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
The commission cited “unexpected circumstances with entertainers and speakers” as the reason for the cancellation.
“The Centennial Commission is unable to fulfill our high expectations for Monday afternoon’s commemoration event and has determined not to move forward with the event at this time,” according to an email sent to media. “We have hopes to reschedule later in this 100th commemorative year. We apologize for the disappointment and any inconvenience caused to ticketholders; if rescheduled, ticketholders will be notified first.”
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