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Race Massacre Centennial Commission Holds Groundbreaking for Greenwood Rising History Center

Brooke Allen

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission hosted a groundbreaking on Firday for the long-awaited Greenwood Rising History Center.

Tracy Gibbs, a descendant of the late survivor Ernestine Gibbs, said it’s good to see work begin, but the real groundbreaking started almost 100 years ago.

"Every time a [race massacre] survivor would tell their story — groundbreaking. Every time they would sit their children down and they would share that horrific moment that they had to endure — groundbreaking. Every time they would sit down with their grandchildren — groundbreaking. Every time they would begin to tell their stories to the media and all tacross this nation, even to the Senate floor — groundbreaking," Gibbs said.

The history center will tell the Greenwood District’s stories from before and after the racist attack. It is being built at Greenwood and Archer on land donated by the Hille Foundation.

"It will be a world-class facility that people can come and see that not only did Black lives matter in Greenwood then, but they will matter always," said Hille Foundation Executive Director and Trustee Maggie Hille Yar.

Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell said at the groundbreaking Greenwood Rising will be part of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail when it’s completed. The Oklahoma City Thunder, PSO and QuikTrip have donated money toward the history center.

Construction should be completed in late spring 2021.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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