Moreover, even if the charges had been true, the white community's reaction was blown so far out of proportion that it is clear that whites in Tulsa were looking for an excuse to do away with "Black Wall Street" and put the prosperous blacks "back in their place." In order for an event of this magnitude to have occurred, the groundwork must have been in place and the growing strength and increasing popularity of the Ku Klux Klan in Tulsa was matched in other cities in the country as well. All of this indicates that if Rowland had not stumbled, the white community in Tulsa would have likely manufactured another reason for a race riot against the blacks in their city because of this overarching unfettered racist-based hatred. The riot's actual beginnings were also bizarre, with gunfire erupting after a group of blacks assembled at the courthouse to protect Rowland from the lynching that was clearly intended to take place that night.
Although people still talk about how bad race relations are in the United States, it is apparent that the country has come a long way since whites rioted in 1921 in Tulsa and it is reasonable to suggest that no black person anywhere in the country would receive anywhere near the reaction that Rowland evoked at this time. Indeed, it was not even considered at crime at all for a white man to kill a black man during this ugly period in Tulsa's history and the city's history is replete with examples of this happening. It was as it Tulsa existed outside of the United States and the Fourteenth Amendment entirely, existing as it were on another planet where the Constitution did not exist and human beings were judged and executed based solely on the color of their skin.
Certainly, Tulsa was not alone in its treatment of blacks during this period in America's history and two blacks were being lynched somewhere in the country each week. Many legislators in Oklahoma, like several other states, were also members of the Ku Klux Klan. Likewise, all of the elected city officials in Tulsa were elected based on their support of the Klan In this environment, although it is shocking, it is not surprising that an incident like the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 could occur. To their credit, the state has taken steps to memorialize the incident and Tulsa has established a memorial park to the victims of the race riot near Greenwood Avenue that was dedicated in 2010.