White paint was smeared on the window of a Lower Manhattan art gallery named Black Wall Street on the 100th anniversary of the infamous Tulsa Race Massacre — and the NYPD is probing the vandalism as a possible hate crime.
A security guard at a Nike store across from the Black Wall Street Gallery on Mercer Street spotted the vandalism around 7 a.m. Monday — the date in 1921 when white residents of Tulsa, Okla., laid deadly waste to the city’s Greenwood District, also known as Black Wall Street for its budding black business clout.
The Manhattan art gallery decried its shop’s defacement as “deliberate and intentional” in an Instagram post.
“Some perpetrator(s) vandalized our space at 26 Mercer Street sometime last night between 11pm and 7am,” the post read, noting that the business determined the earlier end of the timeframe based on when Dr. Ricco Wright, the gallery’s Tulsa-born curator, left Sunday night.
The post includes a photo of the gallery’s front window thick with white paint over much of its name.
The gallery said in the caption that the NYPD initially declined to categorize the vandalism as hate speech, though a department rep told The Post that the incident has been referred to the Hate Crime Task Force for investigation.
“We are demanding that the police review their policies on what constitutes hate speech because this was indeed deliberate and intentional,” the gallery’s post read. “All one has to do is look at the facts. We are Black Wall Street Gallery and this incident occurred exactly 100 years after the massacre.
“As far as we’re concerned, smearing white paint on the word ‘black’ is deliberate and intentional and therefore constitutes hate speech.”
The gallery noted that no other businesses on the block were vandalized overnight and that it had not previously been targeted since opening its doors in October.
An estimated 300 people were killed, hundreds more wounded, and businesses, homes and churches burned to the ground in the Tulsa Race Massacre.