A Black Lives Matter mural painted by activists on a street in the heart of the district once known as Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma—once the site of the nation’s worst race massacre—is being removed by the city. City councilors concluded Wednesday that legalizing paintings on the Greenwood District street did not make sense as a public policy, arguing that if they were to allow one sign to be painted they would have to allow others, including a “Back the Blue” message proposed by a local Republican group. The city does not have an ordinance that allows for signage to be created using street surfaces. “There is a constitutional issue that goes on around this, that if you permit that kind of thing… then you would open any street in your community to any type of message that wasn’t pornographic or inciting a riot,” City Attorney David O’Meilia said. The city has not yet set a removal date for the Greenwood Avenue mural. The city council is now seeking to establish a law specifically against painting on city streets or sidewalks. In 1921, as many as 300 people are estimated to have died in three days of attacks on Black residents of Tulsa.
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