Greenwood District

The head of online city guide Root Tulsa says since its self-guided historic tour of the Greenwood District has proven popular, more is in the works.

Executive Director Matt Carney told city councilors more than 4,400 people have taken the tour since it launched in late May by scanning QR codes at points of interest or visiting RootTulsa.com.

Greenwood Rising Finally Opens Its Doors To The Public

Aug 4, 2021

After some delays, Greenwood Rising, a history center dedicated to educating visitors on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, had its grand opening for the public today. 

 

Phil Armstrong is the project director. 

 

“Today is really just allowing for the public to finally see what six years of planning looks like.”

 

Our guest is Carlos Moreno, a Tulsa-based graphic designer, researcher, and freelance writer who originally hails from California, and who's been living and working in Tulsa since the 1990s. Moreno joins us to discuss his new book, "The Victory of Greenwood." This volume presents a novel and engrossing history of Tulsa's Greenwood community by offering more than 20 different biographical portraits of such key "Black Wall Street" figures as John and Loula Williams, B.C. Franklin, the Rev. Ben H. Hill, Edwin McCabe, George Monroe, and various others.

Courtesy Greenwood Chamber of Commerce

The 100 block of North Greenwood Avenue has been added to the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places.

Greenwood Chamber of Commece

I-244's detrimental impacts on the Greenwood District have become a topic of discussion.

A report recently identified the highway built through the heart of Greenwood the 1970s as one of several across the U.S. to tear down, and the Tulsa’s Young Professionals Urbanist Crew has now put forth a proposal on how to do that.

Congress for the New Urbanism

A report from an national urban planning think tank recommends the portion of Interstate 244 that runs through Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood be torn down.

"This year marks the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, when Black Wall Street was first destroyed," the Congress for the New Urbanism writes in its annual "Freeways Without Futures" report.

Library of Congress (American National Red Cross Photograph Collection)

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 injured souls, claimed lives, ruined property, and demolished an entire community. Indeed, the damage suffered by the Black citizens of Greenwood took on many forms -- and this suffering went on for decades. Is it possible even to calculate the economic loss that Greenwood endured due to this terrible tragedy, and if so, how could such a tally be arrived at? As the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre approaches, many are wondering about these questions. Our guest is Jason Long, an economic historian at Wheaton College.

On this edition of ST, we are discussing a book that first appeared as a small, privately-printed volume back in 1923 -- it's an extremely important, frequently cited, and quite special book in that it offers a rare, first-hand account of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Written by one Mary Parrish, a journalist and teacher, the book is "The Nation Must Awake: My Witness to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921." In the opening pages of the text, we learn that Parrish was reading in her home in Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood when the massacre began on the evening of May 31, 1921.

We're pleased to speak once again with the University of Michigan-based historian and bestselling author, Scott Ellsworth, whose books include "The Secret Game," "The World Beneath Their Feet," and "Death in a Promised Land," the last-named being his account of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, a pioneering text which first appeared in the 1980s. Originally from Tulsa, Ellsworth has just published an all-important follow-up to "Death in a Promised Land," which he tells us about.

Our guest is Karlos K. Hill, Associate Professor and Chair of the Clara Luper Department of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He joins us to discuss his unsettling and comprehensive new book, "The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: A Photographic History." It's a vast gathering of photographs that were taken before, during, and after the massacre, mostly by white photographers.

A Texas group that advocates for Black Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights plans to hold an armed demonstration in Tulsa just before the race massacre centennial.

Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt Gun Club founder Nick Bezzel said he’s hoping for 1,000 legally armed Black people to participate in a May 29 remembrance walk for Greenwood, the prosperous community known as Black Wall Street that a white mob destroyed on May 31 and June 1, 1921.

Bezzel said their goal is not violence, but to send a message that a similar attack will never happen again.

Illustration by Marlin Lavanhar (via The Black Wall Street Times)

On this edition of ST, we're pleased to speak with Marlin Lavanhar, a Unitarian Universalist minister who's been based at All Souls Church here in Tulsa since 2000. A longtime social justice activist and tireless human rights advocate, Lavanhar recently launched a series of editorial cartoons focused on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre -- and on the urgent need for reparations to be conveyed to those directly affected by this vast, tragic, century-old crime.

Courtesy

Dozens of local kids helped with the unveiling of a new early literacy initiative Wednesday at OSU-Tulsa.

The 'Stache of Books Community Library is housed in a repurposed Tulsa World newspaper box that's been painted orange and installed on campus west of parking lot E, near Sunset Plaza apartments.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we listen back our discussion from 1997 with the bestselling author and educator Jewell Parker Rhodes. At that time, we spoke with Rhodes about her then-new novel, "Magic City." This book was among the first works of published fiction to depict the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. A memorable and well-crafted novel of racism, vigilantism, and injustice, "Magic City" is now appearing in a new edition that includes a recently-composed afterword from by author.

We're pleased to welcome Quraysh Ali Lansana back to StudioTulsa; the writer, poet, educator, and Tulsa Artist Fellow joins us to discuss his newest book. That volume, "Opal's Greenwood Oasis," is a children's book for which he is the co-author. Aimed at elementary-school readers, the book profiles one Opal Brown, who takes her very first "on her own" bike ride throughout her home neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Philbrook Museum of Art

Acclaimed documentary director, editor, and producer Sam Pollard joins us to talk about his recent films Black Art: In the Absence of Light, MLK/FBI, and his storied career. From serving as Spike Lee's longtime editor (Jungle Fever, Clockers, 4 Little Girls) to directing one of the earliest films on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre (Goin' Back to T-Town, 1993), Pollard has made an indelible impact by telling Black stories through film. 

WGBH Boston

Our guest on ST is the documentary filmmaker, Sam Pollard, who directed "Goin' Back to T-Town." This remarkable film, which dates from the early 1990s, tells the then-nearly-forgotten-but-now-familiar story of Greenwood, the "Black Wall Street" neighborhood in Tulsa which prospered during the early 20th century, and which was all but erased in 1921 by one of the worst race-driven massacres in U.S. history. "Goin' Back to T-Town" will be shown next week (on Monday the 8th) on PBS television.

Justice For Greenwood Foundation

A New York-based international law firm has joined the legal team representing 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre survivors and their descendants in their lawsuit for reparations from the city of Tulsa and other parties.

Youtube / City of Norman

Martin Luther King Jr. Day events in Oklahoma were noticeably impacted by two unique circumstances Monday.

"Every year, usually ... they have the marching groups. Next year, we'll be back with the walking groups, with the dancing groups," said Tulsa's MLK Day Parade emcee Rebecca Marks-Jimerson, doing color commentary for a livestream of the event. "But this year, because of the COVID, we are doing the social distancing. But we're making it happen for you."

On this edition of ST, we chat with artist and Living Arts of Tulsa board member Tina Henley, who is the curator for an interesting group show now on view at Living Arts called "Project Hope, Unity, and Compassion." On view through the 22nd, it is a collection of large-scale artworks which were created on plywood last summer by various artists, and which were then used to cover store-fronts, windows, and buildings in advance of the Trump rally at the BOK Center.

John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma began a centennial remembrance Friday of a once-thriving African American neighborhood in Tulsa decimated by deadly white violence that has received growing recognition during America’s reckoning over police brutality and racial violence.

Courtesy

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission has received a $1 million grant toward the Greenwood Rising commemorative center from Bank of America.

A portion of the grant is for construction costs, while the rest will go to related initiatives.

"We're going to help with educational programming, entrepreneurial programming, supplier diversity initiatives, I mean, anything and everything we can do to ultimately help bring this community back to where it originally was," said Bank of America Tulsa Market President Bill Lissau.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The city of Tulsa removed a massive Black Lives Matter painting on Monday from a city street in the historic Greenwood District after activists painted it without the city’s permission.

The 250-foot-long (76.20 meters) sign was painted days before President Donald Trump’s June rally and weeks after George Floyd’s death in May after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on the neck of the handcuffed Black man for several minutes.

We're pleased to welcome the Tulsa-based attorney, historian, and author Hannibal B. Johnson back to StudioTulsa. An active and well-respected expert on matters of diversity, inclusion, and social justice, Johnson is also the education chair for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission. He joins us to discuss his newest book, "Black Wall Street 100: An American City Grapples With Its Historical Racial Trauma." As was noted of this volume by Dr.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Tulsa City Council recommended Wednesday the Black Lives Matter mural on Greenwood Avenue stay — for now.

Councilors approved a recommendation to Mayor G.T. Bynum saying the $20,000 it will take to remove the street painting is wasteful when a street resurfacing project is in the works. The mural is in City Councilor Kara Joy McKee’s district.

University of Tulsa

A lawsuit in state court demands the City of Tulsa, Tulsa County and five other defendants address an ongoing public nuisance caused by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

On this edition of ST, we continue our series of conversations with candidates seeking the office of Tulsa mayor. Our guest today is Ty Walker, who owns and operates Tulsa's well-known Wanda J's Next Generation Restaurant. Mr. Walker was born and raised in North Tulsa; he is the father of six daughters, a 1983 graduate of McLain High School, and a U.S. Navy Veteran who served during Desert Storm. Further, per the Walker campaign website: "Tulsa faces a world of economic issues. While we are maintaining as a city, we are not growing.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

It's he-said-they-said between Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and key stakeholders in the Greenwood District, as the conflict continues over whether or not the unauthorized "BLACK LIVES MATTER" mural on Greenwood Avenue can remain.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The city of Tulsa announced Monday that it intends to follow through on its plans to remove the Black Lives Matter painting on the roadway of North Greenwood Avenue

The unauthorized street painting, completed in the lead-up to Juneteenth and President Trump's visit to Tulsa, was a subject of discussion at a Tulsa City Council committee meeting last week, where it was  concluded it would be removed due to not having a city-issued permit, and potentially opening the doors to legally having to allow any other painted messages.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Greenwood's proclamation that "BLACK LIVES MATTER" will be erased from the road surface by the city of Tulsa.

In a Wednesday meeting of the Tulsa City Council's committee on urban and economic development, councilors, attorneys and a representative from City Hall discussed what to do about the painting, which was done without a city permit.

The discussion was raised by Councilor Cass Fahler, who said that pro-police groups have inquired about the legality of painting their own message -- "BACK THE BLUE" -- on some other block in Tulsa. 

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