Tulsa, OK

The Greenwood Cultural Center is Commemorating The Race Massacre by Creating a Keepsake Journal

Debbie Walker

NBC 5 Dallas Fort. Worth

The Greenwood Cultural Center is creating a keepsake journal commemorating the annihilation of Tulsa's Black Wallstreet and the Greenwood District that occurred in May of 1921. Over 100 businesses are taking part in this souvenir journal celebrating black businesses, entrepreneurship, and organizations despite the violence of this era.

The Massacre Centennial Even Community Chair, Jamaal Dyer, said in an interview with Fox 23 News that a resurgence is occurring in black businesses despite what we are seeing today. Dyer explained that the journal will showcase businesses, class reunions, and professionals advertising their events and services while paying homage to the black history of Tulsa.

"The reason we are creating this journal is to show that 10, 20, or 50 years down the line these are the businesses that are continuing the legacy and embodying the spirit of Black Wall Street, 100 years after the Massacre," said Dyer.

On May 31, 2021, the nation's eyes will be drawn to Tulsa when the Commission will host a nationally televised event to commemorate the centennial with key speakers, musicians, and special guests.

Black Wall Street and the Greenwood District was an area comprised thirty-five blocks of successful businesses, affluent residential neighborhoods, a hotel, a library, churches, two newspapers, and two movie theaters, among other prosperous ventures.

On May 31, 1921, a Tulsa sheriff arrested 19-year-old Dick Rowland for allegedly assaulting a white teeaged girl. As the news spreads in the white community, a crowd of whites gather at the courthouse. That afternoon, the owner of the Tulsa Tribune newspaper, Tate Brady, an alleged KKK member, printed a story demanding the lynching of Mr. Rowland.

WWI veterans both black and white also gather, and a gun battle ensues. It spilled onto Black Wall Street and the Greenwood District. The African-American community was terrorized in the forty-eight hours that followed. Mass murder, burning, looting of the deceased bodies, and injuries occurred en masse.

However, today, this event is not forgotten. We must remember the past to learn from the past.

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