A Tulsa nonprofit that maintains the historic neighborhood known as "Black Wall Street" has been awarded a $500,000 federal grant.
The National Park Service announced the award as part of $14 million in grants from the African American Civil Rights Historic Preservation Fund.
Greenwood Chamber of Commerce president Freeman Culver said the funding will be vital in preserving the ten original remaining buildings on North Greenwood Avenue.
"Since 1981, there has been nothing done with preserving those buildings," Culver said. "We are the stewards of those buildings, and we are doing our best."
Culver said the grant will build upon funding raised with a GoFundMe campaign his group launched in January in anticipation of May of next year, which will mark the 100-year anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which left at least 39 dead and 35 square blocks destroyed.
"It was just a very prosperous place," Culver said. "It thrived for a long time."
Culver said he sees preserving what remains of the district as important for both Tulsa's history and American history.
"We have to preserve this history," he said. "If we don’t preserve it, the next generation won’t learn about it, and won’t learn from it, and won’t learn about the successes we had right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma."