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Tulsa's historic neighborhood, Greenwood, known as the "Black Wall Street", destroyed by riotous Whites in 1921.
In 1921, May 31-June 1, Tulsa's historic Greenwood neighborhood, known as the "Black Wall Street," was destroyed by thousands of armed, angry Whites, estimated to have killed between 100-300 Black men, women, and children. To hide the crime, most were buried in unmarked graves. To date, an effort to recover the bodies in order to provide proper burials and identify the remains is ongoing. Although an apology was issued in the 1990s, almost 100 years later, no one has been brought to justice for the massacre, and no recompense given to the survivors or their descendants.
Dr. Olivia Hooker, the First Black Woman to join the Coast Guard, was also a survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. As a little girl, her most searing memory of the massacre was what the mob did to her doll:
"My grandmother had made some beautiful clothes for my doll. It was the first ethnic doll we had ever seen.... She washed them and put them on the line. When the marauders came, the first thing they did was set fire to my doll's clothes. I thought that was dreadful."
George Monroe, a survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, was just 5 years old at the time. He remembers hiding under the bed with his 3 siblings before a group of white men entered their home:
"My sister grabbed me and pulled me under there,” he said. “And while I was under the bed, one of the guys come in past me and stepped on my finger. And as I was about to scream, my sister put her hand over my mouth so I couldn’t be heard.”
“The projects of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission will educate Oklahomans and Americans about the Race Massacre and its impact on the state and Nation; remember its victims and survivors; and create an environment conducive to fostering sustainable entrepreneurship and heritage tourism within the Greenwood District specifically, and North Tulsa generally.”
"The National Museum of African American History and Culture collects materials to help fill the silences in our nation’s memory around events such as the Tulsa Race Massacre and its reverberations, preserving and sharing wider stories of Black communities in Oklahoma, and centering the testimonies of survivors and their descendants."
The Greenwood Cultural Center is the keeper of the flame for the Black Wall Street era, the events known as the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, and the astounding resurgence of the Greenwood District in the months and years following the tragedy.
Explanatory article plus 3D models of the cities identifying businesses that were destroyed, matched with historic photographs of the buildings and places before the massacre and profiles of the people who lived and worked here. New York Times
"A New York City gallery that was founded to pay tribute to the 1921 Oklahoma race massacre was vandalized multiple times this week — including on May 31, the deadly event's 100-year anniversary." - NBC News
The racist slaughter at a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday is the latest episode in a troubling rise of violence against African Americans, built upon historic racial fault lines and a polarized social climate.
In six episodes, Blindspot: Tulsa Burning tells the story of a thriving neighborhood that attackers set on fire, and the scars that remain 100 years later. We consider the life of this remarkable 35 blocks of Tulsa through the stories of the survivors, descendants and inheritors of that legacy.
On May 31, 1921, six-year-old Olivia Hooker was home with her family when a group of white men launched an attack on the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Olivia was the last surviving witness to the events of that day.
About Radio Diaries: First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to lighthouse keepers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life. Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.
A racially-diverse panel in Oklahoma has recently [ca. 2000] urged the state to pay reparations for the Tulsa race riots in 1921 when angry white mobs killed about 300 Black people, fire-bombed the Black section of town from the air, and left the prosperous Black community of Greenwood in ashes. Tony Brown's Journal, which reported on this historical tragedy nearly 15 years ago, examines these new developments.
This film highlights the growth, destruction, and rebirth of Greenwood, and features some of the final recorded interviews of eyewitnesses who survived the 1921 attacks. Goin’ Back To T-Town was first broadcast on American Experience in 1993.
Not only tells the long-suppressed story of the notorious Tulsa race massacre, it also unearths the lost history of how the massacre was covered up, and of the courageous individuals who fought to keep the story alive. Most important, it recounts the ongoing archaeological saga and the search for the unmarked graves of the victims of the massacre, and of the fight to win restitution for the survivors and their families.
Early in the twentieth century, the black community in Tulsa- the "Greenwood District"- became a nationally renowned entrepreneurial center. The worst riot in American history, the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 destroyed people, property, hopes, and dreams. Ever courageous, the Greenwood District pioneers rebuilt and better than ever. By 1942, some 242 businesses called the Greenwood district home. Having experienced decline in the '60s, '70s, and early '80s, the area is now poised for yet another renaissance. Black Wall Street speaks to the triumph of the human spirit.
Brophy draws on his own extensive research into contemporary accounts and court documents to chronicle this devastating riot, showing how and why the rule of law quickly eroded. Brophy offers a gut-wrenching portrait of mob violence and racism run amok, both on the night of the riot and the morning after, when a coordinated sunrise attack, accompanied by airplanes, stormed through Greenwood, torching and looting the community. Equally important, he shows how the city government and police not only permitted the looting, shootings, and burning of Greenwood, but actively participated in it.
James Hirsch focuses on the de facto apartheid that brought about the Greenwood riot and informed its eighty-year legacy, offering an unprecedented examination of how a calamity spawns bigotry and courage and how it has propelled one community's belated search for justice. RIOT AND REMEMBRANCE shows vividly, chillingly, how the culture of Jim Crow caused not only the grisly incidents of 1921 but also those of Rosewood, Selma, and Watts, as well as less widely known atrocities.
What happens when a thriving, bustling community--Tulsa's Greenwood District --is burned to the ground due to hatred and prejudice? Jimmy, the narrator in this beautifully illustrated book, knows that his community's strength comes from the strength of its people. And the people can rebuild and find renewal. Based on actual events surrounding the Tulsa Race Riot of the 1920s, this story gives children a touching perspective on prejudice and its effects on a community.
The Color of the Land brings the histories of Creek Indians, African Americans, and whites in Oklahoma together into one story that explores the way races and nations were made and remade in conflicts over who would own land, who would farm it, and who would rule it. This story disrupts expected narratives of the American past, revealing how identities--race, nation, and class--took new forms in struggles over the creation of different systems of property. Conflicts were unleashed by a series of sweeping changes: the forced "removal" of the Creeks from their homeland to Oklahoma in the 1830s, the transformation of the Creeks' enslaved black population into landed black Creek citizens after the Civil War, the imposition of statehood and private landownership at the turn of the twentieth century, and the entrenchment of a sharecropping economy and white supremacy in the following decades.
An investigation of America's failure to atone for the wrongs of slavery. Ever since the unfulfilled promise of "forty acres and a mule" after the Civil War, America has consistently failed to compensate Black Americans for the wrongs of slavery. Exploring why America has struggled to confront the issue of racial injustice, Long Overdue provides a history of the racial reparations movement and shows why it is more relevant now than ever. By looking at other dispossessed groups--Native Americans, Holocaust survivors, and Japanese internment victims in the 1940s--Henry shows how some groups have won the fight for reparations, and explores new ways forward for Black Americans. As the issue of reparations is brought to the national stage by figures such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Kamala Harris, Long Overdue provides a must-read survey of the political and legislative efforts made toward reparations over the course of American history, and offers a new path toward establishing equality for all Black Americans.
Americans preach egalitarianism, but democracy makes it hard for minorities to win. Changing Minds, If Not Hearts explores political strategies that counteract the impulse of racial majorities to think about racial issues as a zero-sum game, in which a win for one group means a loss for another. The authors examine whether communities rife with conflict endorse different outcomes when issues are cast in different terms--for example, by calling attention to double standards, evoking alternate conceptions of fairness and justice, or restructuring electoral choices to offer voters greater control. Their studies identify a host of tools that can help overcome opposition to minority interests that are due to racial hostility.
[Adult nonfiction] On the morning of June 1, 1921, a white mob numbering in the thousands marched across the railroad tracks dividing black from white in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and obliterated a black community then celebrated as one of America's most prosperous. 34 square blocks of Tulsa's Greenwood community, known then as the Negro Wall Street of America, were reduced to smoldering rubble. With chilling details, humanity, and the narrative thrust of compelling fiction, The Burning will recreate the town of Greenwood at the height of its prosperity, explore the currents of hatred, racism, and mistrust between its black residents and neighboring Tulsa's white population, narrate events leading up to and including Greenwood's annihilation, and document the subsequent silence that surrounded the tragedy.
[Juvenile nonfiction] Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa's Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.
News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.
[YA fiction] Isaiah Wilson is, on the surface, a town troublemaker, but is hiding that he is an avid reader and secret poet. Angel Hill is a loner, mostly disregarded by her peers as a goody-goody. Though they've attended the same schools, Isaiah never noticed Angel as anything but a dorky, Bible-toting church girl. Life changes on May 31, 1921, when a vicious white mob storms the Black community of Greenwood. Only then, Isaiah, Angel, and their peers realize who their real enemies are.
[Adult fiction] Living in the segregated quarter of Little Tunis, Ivoe Williams immerses herself in the printed word until she earns a scholarship to the prestigious Willetson Collegiate in Austin. Finally fleeing the Jim Crow South to settle in Kansas City, Ivoe and Ona, her former teacher and present lover, start the first female-run African American newspaper, Jam On the Vine. In the throes of the Red Summer--the 1919 outbreak of lynchings and race riots across the Midwest--Ivoe risks her freedom and her life to call attention to the atrocities of the American prison system.
Believed to be the single worst incident of racial violence in American history, the bloody 1921 outbreak in Tulsa has continued to haunt Oklahomans. During the course of eighteen terrible hours on May 31 and June 1, 1921, more than one thousand homes and businesses were destroyed, while credible estimates of deaths range from fifty to three hundred.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Massacre was one of the worst urban racial conflicts in United States history. Two days of violence by whites against blacks left an estimated 50 people dead, hundreds injured, and more than 1,000 black-owned homes and businesses destroyed.
Full text of article by Walter F. White, appearing in The Nation magazine on July 29, 1921.
"A hysterical white girl related that a nineteen-year old colored boy attempted to assault her in the public elevator of a public office building of a thriving town of 100,000 in open daylight. Without pausing to find whether or not the story was true, without bothering with the slight detail of investigating the character of the woman who made the outcry (as a matter of fact, she was of exceedingly doubtful reputation), a mob of 100-per-cent Americans set forth on a wild rampage that cost the lives of fifty white men; of between 150 and 200 colored men, women and children; the destruction by fire of $1,500,000 worth of property; the looting of many homes; and everlasting damage to the reputation of the city of Tulsa and the State of Oklahoma."
"To provide a mechanism for a determination on the merits of the claims brought by survivors and descendants of the victims of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Race Riot of 1921 but who were denied that determination."
In the first part, it presents a brief history of Tulsa, Oklahoma and the reasons that triggered the clash that devastated Greenwood, the black part of Tulsa. The next section focuses on the role of the Red Cross in the relief project for the support of thousands of homeless African Americans, and deals with the long legal struggle for reparations and the role of the legal system in the failure to punish the guilty for the devastation of Greenwood. The last part of the article presents the controversy generated by the renaming of one of Tulsa's main streets and the direct connection to the city's violent and racial past. The legacy of segregation is deeply rooted in the American past; the use of the Tulsa Riot and War as a case study demonstrates the impact of racial conflicts on society and the necessity to identify and resolve relevant problems.
This research examines the role of divergent frames associated with collective violence. That is, we explain how two racial groups, armed with the same objective facts and conditions, may interpret the causation of collective violence in diametrically opposed ways.
This brief article turns to one episode of particularly heinous violence in the early twentieth-century United States, the Tulsa race riot of 1921, and uses Bernadette Atuahene's framework of "dignity taking" to help us understand the reach of the destruction of the riot. For the riot took not just the homes and businesses—and sometimes the lives—of African Americans in Tulsa, it also took their freedom, ran many of them out of the city and state, and left a legacy of white supremacy.
This article turns to the ways in which African Americans in Oklahoma obtained rights through the courts that should have been protected around the time of the riot. This expands our sense of the range of responses, from apologies and compensation, to additional judicial process and substantive rights, that are needed for past racial crimes.
Greenwood, Ronni Michelle. “Remembrance, Responsibility, and Reparations: The Use of Emotions in Talk about the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.” Journal of Social Issues, vol. 71, no. 2, June 2015, pp. 338–55. EBSCOhost, https://doi-org.lscsproxy.lonestar.edu/10.1111/josi.12114.
The article discusses the events that led to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in Oklahoma, which showcased the long struggles of African Americans against white mob violence and systemic racism. Also cited are the enslavement of African Americans by white people and Indians, the efforts by African Americans led by lawyer Edwin P. McCabe to make Oklahoma an all-African American state, and the foundation by Ottawa W. Gurley of the Greenwood District.
The article focuses on Olivia Hooker, first Black woman in the Coast Guard, eyewitness to Tulsa Massacre in 1921. Topics discussed include her research to ensure the legacy of the massacre, one she witnessed; her education in psychological services; and information on Hooker's prepared statement at the congressional subcommittee in 2007.