TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — It was painted under cover of darkness and removed much the same way on Monday morning. In less than two hours, the Black Lives Matter mural on Greenwood was ground up and fed into the back of a dump truck.
"This is embarrassing. I don't care if your black, white, red, yellow, or purple, this is embarrassing," said Pastor Robert Turner of nearby Vernon AME Church.
Pastor Turner says Tulsa now has the dubious distinction of being one of the very few cities to remove a Black Lives Matter mural.
"Fresh off re-election or fresh off an election, one of the first things they do here in North Tulsa is bust up our street that says Black Lives Matter. It shows you that Tulsa still is a racist city," Turner said.
The city voted 8 to 1 to remove the mural, citing concerns over it being a distraction for drivers, but mainly because if they let it stay, they believed that it could set a precedent that any group could paint any message on any street in town.
"For Black Lives Matter to be laid down on this street, it held a significance to the parents who have lost children by police brutality, and let them know that our Black lives do matter," said Terry Baccus.
Baccus is making a documentary on the rebuilding of Greenwood. He came down this morning to witness the latest chapter in his neighborhood's history. He thinks the message will be back.
"I mean something could be possibly put down, yeah. Just as easily as they put it down the first time. What stopped them from putting it down the first time? What is going to stop them from doing it a second time?" Baccus said.
Pastor Turner says the historical parallels he sees are why he's so heated.
"I see the sign says road work, this is not road work. This is historical and cultural terrorism is what this is. It happened in 1921, worse, and it's happening today," said Turner.
For its part, the city said this is not a removal of the message, but it will be relocated somewhere else, although that location has not been determined.