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BLACK WALL STREET - Greenwood District  TULSA, OK

            It's important to look back on important matters in Black history to understand the systemic inequities that have plagued America since before its inception.

          The above clip is from the silent movies of Rev. S.S. Jones of Tulsa, to give you a brief look into the Greenwood District before the massacre. (Colorization added by the Smithsonian).  

Black residents of Greenwood were extremely successful during a time of legal segregation (Jim Crow laws), overt and open racism and intimidation. Despite everything the residents faced, they built the Greenwood district which boasted hospitals, churches, movie theaters, skating rink, restaurants, schools, banks, law offices, and even private airplanes.

          The third clip is from an HBO series, the Watchmen.  It gives us a glimpse into the Tulsa Massacre.  

           May 31- June 1st, 1921,  99 years ago,  white mobs along with the help of our government and the national guard, dropped explosives on homes and business, burning down and shooting  down the people of Greenwood.  Why leave our government's role out of the record of history?  

40 city blocks were decimated. The death toll was as many as 300 if not more; 800 were treated for injuries and more than 6,000 black citizens were interned at the city’s convention hall and fairgrounds for up to eight days.  Over 10,000 were left homeless, and an ordinance was passed to stop them from rebuilding.


           In the aftermath of the killings, attempts were made to cover up the events. Stories were removed from newspaper archives, and some official accounts were destroyed. It took decades for historians and Oklahoma officials to unearth the history.  But the years of silence took a toll on the truth —" they lost everything. They were afraid it could happen again, and there was no way to tell their story. The two Negro newspapers were bombed as well, and People were too busy just trying to make it.  The killers were still running loose, and they’re wearing blue suits as well as Klan sheets", stated Seymore Williams, a high school teacher in Tulsa.  

          Today the Greenwood district has as few as 10 of its original buildings still standing.   The vast majority of this historically black neighborhood is now an Interstate exchange.    A search for mass graves has been undertaken in recent years. Where is the compensation /reparations for Black Tulsa? The insurance companies did not compensation them for their material losses, stating their losses were due to a race riot.  again, THIS WAS A MASSACRE - NOT A RACE RIOT and it was one of the darkest moments in American history, yet many of us hadn't even heard of the Tulsa massacre until recently.

       The  next clip was taped: 11/18/2008 on "This week on African American Legends", Dr. Brown is joined by Dr. Olivia J. Hooker, Tulsa Race Riot Survivor and Reggie Turner, filmmaker of "Before they Die".   

         The last two clips are regarding a hopefully soon to be completed and released movie entitled:  Tulsa 1921.  This is the work of a young entrepreneur trying to get  his movie to the big screen.  Support him if you can.  

Taped: 11/18/2008. This week on African American Legends, Dr. Brown is joined by Dr. Olivia J. Hooker, Tulsa Race Riot Survivor and Reggie Turner, filmmaker, "Before they Die".

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