Route 66 Commission Reaches For Message Of Inclusion

May 11, 2021

With the anniversary of the 1921 Race Massacre approaching, Tulsa’s Route 66 Commission is looking for ways to put out a welcoming message.


"We want the whole world to come here and feel safe and enjoy all of what we are doing here," said City Councilor Kara Joy McKee. 


McKee said Cyrus Avery, known as the “Father of Route 66,” was one of the few white businessmen who encouraged the rebuilding of Greenwood as a community. McKee said Avery owned property in Greenwood. He was in the process of platting new homes in the area when the massacre happened. 


Cyrus Avery was originally from Pennsylvania but became well-known in Oklahoma for his support of highways
Credit Tulsa Historical Society

  "After the massacre, he was one who stood up very strongly to implore the citizens of Tulsa to donate to the fund to rebuild Greenwood," said McKee. "He pushed back against the interests who wanted to take Greenwood away from the original property owners to make it an industrial area."


Other members of the Commission were enthusiastic.


"I think focusing on the hopeful is essential as we look to the future," said Ken Busby, Executive Director and CEO of Route 66 Alliance. 


Oklahoma State University Library in Tulsa received a donation from the Avery family, with some of the material reportedly relating to Greenwood. The Commission said they intend to plumb it for their project.


The Commission said it hopes to put out a statement soon.