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Greenwood Rising History Center Opens

The Greenwood Rising History Center opens at the corner of Archer Street and Greenwood Avenue


Yesterday marked the opening of the Greenwood Rising History Center.


The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission earmarked $20 million for the project, and its purpose is to educate visitors about the massacre.


The building has not been uncontroversial. Some public officials say they oppose the way the money was spent.


Phil Armstrong is the chair of the commission. He spoke at the opening ceremony to a crowd seated in folding chairs at the corner of Greenwood Avenue and Archer Street.


He began by thanking various donors, including Mary Ann Hille of Hille Foundation who donated the land for the center.


“In spite of what some of our critics have said, yes, donate means 100% free and clear with no strings attached,” said Armstrong.


He acknowledged the Greenwood Cultural Center and local businesses, as well.


Finally, he spoke about the struggle and reward.


“The many sleepless nights, and struggles on both sides of this community, all the hits, all the punches, all the ups and the downs were all worth it,” said Armstrong. “An entire new generation born in 2021 - 20 years from now in 2041 - they’ll learn all through their public school education the history of Black Oklahomans and the Tulsa Race Massacre.”


A slate of speakers followed in the approximately 90 minute ceremony, including Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell and Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools Deborah Gist. 


The center was under construction for less than a year. Ground was broken on August 21, 2020 and the foundation was paved in December 2020.


It’s now open for people with ties to historic Greenwood. Tulsa residents will be welcome starting June 9th.