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Karamu House commemorates 100th anniversary of Tulsa Race Massacre with 'Still We Rise' event

Karamu House.
Posted at 10:56 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 11:18:16-04

CLEVELAND — The Karamu House, the oldest African American Theater in the United States, is observing the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, also known as the Black Wall Street Massacre, with “Still We Rise,” a virtual benefit held on Thursday, June 3 at 6 p.m. EDT.

The virtual event commemorates one of America’s most overlooked and significant moments in history, the Tulsa Race Massacre. On May 31, 1921, the massacre sent mobs of white residents to loot and burn what was a thriving and prosperous African American community in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Thirty-five blocks were charred to ruins, more than 800 people were treated for injuries and as many as 300 people died in the aftermath. It’s estimated 600 Black businesses were also destroyed.

The event is inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem, “I Rise.” The virtual event is a community celebration of America’s historic theater, with a goal to raise $250,000 to support the continued revelation, rejuvenation and renovation of the Karamu House, including the completion of its theater wing renovation and streetscape improvement, now scheduled for a grand opening in summer 2022.

“We’re thrilled to still be able to creatively host a benefit for Karamu this year,” said Suzanne Aral-Boutros, benefit chair and member of the Karamu House Board of Directors. “Last year’s annual benefit was canceled, and this year’s 'Still We Rise' gives the community an opportunity to show their support, both big and small, to this incredible institution.”

The event is free to attend but registration is required. Ticketholders will have the option to upgrade their virtual benefit experience or attend the event in-person. This will be the first live event since the pandemic shutdown with an outdoor theatre experience for the benefit, followed by live performances, food and beverage and music and dancing.

Tickets for both the virtual and live experiences are available at

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