App Aims To Immerse Users In Historic Greenwood Using Extended Reality

May 24, 2021

A new smartphone app is helping bring to life the Greenwood that existed before the Tulsa Race Massacre.

The Greenwood Rising XR app leads users on a 10-stop, 45-minute tour of Greenwood Avenue between Archer Street and I-244. It uses video, audio and extended reality graphics to show what used to be there in present-day surroundings. Developer KJ Jackson demonstrated the app Monday from the west side of Greenwood Avenue in front of the charred bricks in the Bryant Building. 

"We recreated Dreamland Theatre across the street. When you get to that marker, you will be able to hold up your phone, and the Dreamland Theatre that existed 100 years ago will appear life-size, the exact same dimensions, right there through your phone where the expressway’s at," Jackson said.

There are also opportunities for users to interact with their virtual surroundings, like putting looted items back into a safe and stacking bricks like survivors did after the Tulsa Race Massacre so they could be used to rebuild.

"And so, at each stop along the journey, you’re going to be able to do something that involves you in the process of restoration and involves you in the process of healing," Jackson said.

Discussions about Greenwood Rising XR started in 2019.

"I don’t know that many other apps out there use as much tech as we’ve put into this one. We truly wanted to commemorate this time by using everything that was out there and making it accessible to as many people as possible," Jackson said.

Jackson said the app, which is sponsored by Cox Communications, can also show students in his science, technology, engineering, math and arts–oriented nonprofit what they can create. 

Three more phases of the app are in the works. It's available to download for Android and Apple devices.