Published 02/13/2020 | Reading Time 3 min 8 sec
BOSTON, Mass. – A new podcast debuted today called Black Wall Street 1921, which examines the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 through the lens of experts, academics, government officials, survivors, and descendants of survivors. The project is a collaboration between local TV news reporter, Nia Clark, and the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. The Tulsa Race Massacre was a violent, bloody attack in 1921, carried out by a mob on the predominantly African-American district of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was considered the most prosperous black community for the early part of the 20th century. Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the tragedy. However, the ramifications continue to unravel in the present day. Although this dark incident was deliberately covered up for decades, Black Wall Street 1921 has joined the collective efforts of many to bring this part of history out of the shadows.
“The Tulsa Race Massacre has been called “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history,” but it has only recently come to the attention of many Americans thanks to recent events, including the HBO series, Watchmen, which is set in Tulsa and begins with a fictional scene of the massacre,” said Black Wall Street 1921 host, Nia Clark, who goes by Nia Hamm in her job as a TV Reporter. “Black Wall Street 1921 explores the history and events that led to the massacre, the details of May 31st and June 1st, 1921 when the assault on Greenwood took place, as well as the cover-up that ensued. Listeners will be transported back in time to the years before Oklahoma became a state in order to understand the ethnic and racial dynamics that existed years before and, yet, contributed to the hostile environment that boiled over in Tulsa when the Greenwood district was looted and set ablaze.
Prior to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, Greenwood was a bustling, vibrant, and welcoming community. It was a hub of African-American entrepreneurship and business success. Over the course of 18 hours, this model community was completely destroyed, with hundreds of people killed and millions of dollars worth of property destroyed. According to researchers and eyewitness accounts, the African-American community in Tulsa was targeted on the ground and from the air by white mobs. The once prosperous neighborhood was turned to rubble. However, what is even less well-known that residents of the Greenwood district who decided to remain in the community rebuilt their Black Wall Street better than it was before the attack.
For many years, the Tulsa Race Massacre was a virtual unknown to many Americans. In recent times, as a result of the efforts of many historians, activists, and others, a renewed focus has begun to shed light on those fateful 18 hours. Black Wall Street 1921’s mission is to shine a light on this important point in American history and demonstrate the destructiveness of hate so that an event like the Tulsa Race Massacre never happens again.
“The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission (the “Commission”), will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Massacre in 2021,” said Phil Armstrong, Director of the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. “The Commission will leverage the rich history of the Greenwood District through projects and programs that promote entrepreneurship, facilitate cultural tourism, be inspirational and hopeful for future generations, and will tell the full story – not just focus on the Massacre. We will build lasting social ties through community-building and reconciliation efforts. Our planned world-class exhibit facility, coupled with branding and physical enhancements, will soon make Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District a sought-after tourist destination and a vibrant environment for commerce.”
The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre is emblematic of the historical racial trauma experienced by African Americans in communities throughout the land in the early twentieth century,” said Hannibal Johnson, Attorney, Consultant, and Author of Black Wall Street. “The legacy of that trauma plays out in ways big and small, patent and latent, simple and complex. Adding insult to injury, this tortuous history continues to be hidden and marginalized. My participation in this podcast allows me to use my agency to undo just a bit of the damage done by those who would continue to obfuscate and sanitize our history. Listen. Learn. Grow. Only by being honest and forthright about our history will we be able to avoid the mistakes and missteps of the past.”
“If we understand the root causes of the mob’s attack, if we can stimulate community dialogue about the lingering resentment and anger, then we can begin the healing process and push back against advocates for racism and the politics of hatred,” said Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
The first several episodes (Introduction to Black Wall Street 1921, The Five Civilized Tribes, and Manifest Destiny and Oklahoma: A Promised Land) of Black Wall Street 1921 are available now at https://www.blackwallstreet-