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World

Trump shifts date of Oklahoma rally to 'respect' emancipation holiday

  • “Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this Holiday,” Trump tweeted.
13 Jun 2020

Amid protests against racial injustice, Trump had faced criticism for scheduling his first campaign rally in months on a day known by African Americans as Freedom Day and in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a city where white mobs massacred African-Americans a century ago.

“Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this Holiday,” Trump tweeted. “I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th, in order to honor their requests.”

Trump, seeking re-election on Nov. 3, scheduled the Tulsa rally on June 19th, the date in 1865 when Texas became the last of the pro-slavery Confederate states forced to comply with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War declaring all people held as slaves free.

Tulsa, a city important in African-American history, in 1921 was the site of one of the bloodiest outbreaks of racist violence in U.S. history in which white mobs attacked black residents and businesses.

Referring to his rally, Trump told Fox News in an interview aired earlier on Friday: “Think about it as a celebration.”

The Republican president suspended his political rallies in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump denied that scheduling the Tulsa rally on Juneteenth was deliberate.

The rally will take place against a backdrop of protests around the United States against racism and police brutality sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The officer was fired and has been charged with second-degree murder.

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