Tulsa Race Massacre

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.

Facebook / Justice For Greenwood Foundation

The legal team representing the three known living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in a lawsuit for reparations for the attack and its ongoing harm said they may bring additional litigation regarding the city of Tulsa's oversight of the search for massacre victims' remains.

City of Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The examination of remains exhumed from a Tulsa cemetery has not yet confirmed that they were victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre, an investigator said Monday.

Courtesy

An online store that pays homage to Black Wall Street is open for a limited brick-and-mortar run, and it’s trying to raise the profile of other local, Black-owned brands, too.

City of Tulsa

Researchers said Tuesday that they have now uncovered 15 more burials in an Oaklawn Cemetery mass grave since an October test excavation revealed 12 in their search for 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre victims, bringing the total to 27 presumed sets of remains with still more "very likely" to be discovered.

"We were able to then come back today and actually initiate the process of excavation on some of the individual burials," Dr. Kary Stackelbeck, Oklahoma's state archaeologist, said during a press briefing at the Tulsa Fire Museum adjacent to the cemetery.

Our guest is the highly regarded American conductor and music director, David Robertson.  He'll be holding the baton at the BOK Center this weekend, as the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra joins forces with Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and a festival choir to perform All Rise (Symphony No. 1), an epic blues suite composed by Marsalis that will take place Sunday, June 6th, at 3pm.

Councilor Joe Deere

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor representing the district that includes much of the historic Greenwood neighborhood destroyed in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre says he believes reparations are due to the attack's survivors and descendants.

Councilor Joe Deere welcomed attendees of the Black Wall Street Legacy Festival's main event on Sunday at the Oklahoma State University - Tulsa campus to the Cherokee Nation reservation.

Oklahoma Historical Society

Updated June 3, 10:10 a.m. to reflect Councilor Kara Joy McKee's response to Greg Robinson during the meeting.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa City Councilors are set to consider a resolution Wednesday to apologize and commit to making tangible amends for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and for discriminatory policies that followed and caused further harm to north Tulsa.

That work includes setting up a process for the community to develop recommendations to aid reconciliation. 

Our guest is the Tulsa-based pianist and composer, Barron Ryan, who tells us about his new piano trio, "My Soul is Full of Troubles." Written for piano, violin, and cello -- and commissioned by Chamber Music Tulsa on the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre -- the work will have its world premiere on June 3rd at the Greenwood Cultural Center at 7pm. A second performance will be given on June 4th at noon at St. John's Episcopal Church, and this additional presentation will moreover be offered as a free Facebook livestream.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday became the first sitting president to visit Tulsa to commemorate the Tulsa Race Massacre, arguably the worst racist attack in American history.

White mobs, many deputized and armed by local officials, burned the Black community of Greenwood to the ground May 31 and June 1, 1921. They killed as many as 300 residents and took thousands more to internment camps.

Chris Polansky / KWGS

Updated 3:07 p.m. to correct the pool reporter's quote attributed to President Joe Biden.  

President Joe Biden toured Greenwood Cultural Center and met with the living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre after arriving in Tulsa early Tuesday afternoon.

Greenwood Cultural Center Program Director Mechelle Brown-Burdex led Biden on the tour, showing him the history of "the most successful, prosperous Black-owned business district in the country."

Matt Trotter / KWGS

According to official records, fewer than 40 people died during the Tulsa Race Massacre. But it’s believed white attackers killed as many as 300 people, with bodies dumped into mass graves and no record of what happened to them.

The Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition and the Equal Justice Initiative have collected soil throughout Greenwood to commemorate massacre victims. The final collection event took place Monday, 100 years to the day after the massacre started.

The White House

President Joe Biden issued a proclamation Monday honoring the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre 100 years later and vowing to work toward undoing systemic racism in the U.S.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Hundreds gathered Monday for an interfaith service dedicating a prayer wall outside historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood on the centennial of the first day of one of the deadliest racist massacres in the nation.

Massacre Documentaries Offer Deep Dive Into Tragedy

May 30, 2021
City of Tulsa

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Several documentary filmmakers — some backed by NBA superstars — are shedding light on the historically ignored Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, one of the most horrific tragedies in American history. 

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's Office

The sponsor of a bill to create a federal commission studying reparations said she stands with those pursuing reparations for people affected by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas said H.R.40 will also help the cause in Tulsa because the commission it establishes will look not only at slavery, but also state and local practices used to brutalize and disadvantage Black Americans.

University of Tulsa

When the smoke cleared in June 1921, the toll from the massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was catastrophic — scores of lives lost, homes and businesses burned to the ground, a thriving Black community gutted by a white mob.

The nightmare cried out for attention, as something to be investigated and memorialized, with speeches and statues and anniversary commemorations.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

As Tulsa commemorates the centennial of a white mob's 1921 attack that leveled the prosperous Black community of Greenwood and killed as many as 300 residents, there's another historical wrong to discuss: an interstate cutting through the district.

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission and Greenwood leaders dedicated the "Pathway to Hope" Friday evening. The pedestrian walkway connects Greenwood and Elgin avenues behind ONEOK Field. It was built along the south side of I-244 on an area that was mostly unused.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The chair of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission said demands from living survivors’ attorneys played into the cancellation of the "Remember and Rise" event.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, State Sen. Kevin Matthews said the survivors’ legal representation approached the commission about including them in the nationally televised event. Thus far, they have distanced themselves from commission.

John Hope Franklin National Symposium

One of the preeminent scholars of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre said Thursday that reparations for survivors and descendants are undeniably necessary.

"The fact of the matter is, without a doubt, the three remaining survivors of the massacre and the descendants of any and all survivors of the massacre deserve some form of financial restitution for what happened to them and their family in 1921," historian Scott Ellsworth said near the end of an address given as part of the John Hope Franklin National Symposium.

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.

With the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre days away, the Tulsa County Democratic Party issued a statement Friday acknowledging the organization’s racist past.

That includes previous Democratic National Committee members’ and national and state elected officials’ involvement with the Ku Klux Klan and participation in the massacre.

This story was updated at 5:28 a.m. on Friday, May 28, to add comments from Centennial Commission project director Phil Armstrong.  

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission announced late Thursday it has canceled Monday's "Remember + Rise" commemoration event.

The event was to be nationally televised from ONEOK Field, featuring award-winning musician John Legend and politician, lawyer and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

With mounting global attention on Tulsa and the myriad events planned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, reparations advocates have launched a phone hotline for descendants of massacre survivors and victims to call and tell their stories.

"I know there's thousands and thousands of more descendants across the world and across the nation," said DJ Mercer, descendant coordinator at the Justice For Greenwood Foundation, which opened the hotline last week.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

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. 

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.

Courtesy

Greenwood Cultural Center and Gathering Place are now hosting exhibits from one of the world’s foremost Black art and history collections.

Bernard and Shirley Kinsey started the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection in an effort to help their son, Khalil, learn Black history he wasn’t being taught in school — and that they couldn’t fill the gaps in, either. The collection of more than 700 artifacts dates back to the 16th Century and shows thriving, successful Black cultures existed around the globe before many were forced to integrate into other societies.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Public Schools unveiled on Thursday a public art installation honoring Greenwood.

"A Stroll In Greenwood" is an 800-foot, printed vinyl mural hung inside Carver Middle School’s football stadium. The work is a collaboration by Kansas City’s Donald Ross "Scribe" and Tulsa’s Chris "Sker" Rogers, a Carver alum. They also created the Black Wall Street mural at the Greenwood Cultural Center.

Rogers said "A Stroll In Greenwood" shows the district from its prosperous heyday to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, but it doesn’t stop there.

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.

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