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Hille Foundation donates lot for Greenwood Rising History Center 

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Published 04/27/2020 | Reading Time 4 min 2 sec 

By BWSTimes Staff 

A section of the historic Greenwood District, initially slated for another project, now becomes a land donation for the relocation of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission’s Greenwood Rising History Center. 

The original planning site for the History Center was the parking lot of the Greenwood Cultural Center. But after failed negotiations, the highly anticipated facility will now be constructed in deep Greenwood, between the historic Oklahoma Eagle and the Black Wall Street Art Gallery at the corner of Greenwood Ave and Archer.

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The Hille Foundation and 21 North Greenwood, LLC was in the process of developing the land, halted construction to donate the property to the Centennial Commission. The Foundation says it’s found another site for its development.

“I am so pleased that the Hille Foundation and 21 North Greenwood, LLC donated the land for this momentous project and that the entities of which Kajeer and I are a part are making sure this history is accessible. As a Member of the Centennial Commission, I understand the crucial role Greenwood Rising will play in sharing the history Greenwood with the world,” Maggie Hille-Yar of the Hille Foundation said. 

“What better location for the new History Center than the southeast corner of Greenwood and Archer, the very start of Deep Greenwood. Now, the community and tourists alike can experience a glimpse of the exuberance that once was Black Wall Street. I’m thrilled that we’re located directly across from the History Center because people can now visit the History Center for the historical perspective of Black Wall Street and then come to the gallery for the contemporary perspective of the same. This is absolutely incredible,” Dr. Ricco Wright, founder and CEO of Black Wall Street Art Gallery, said. 

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The Commission says the new location for the History Center is symbolic because it’s just north of the Frisco Tracks where nearly 100 years ago, a White mob crossed the tracks and burned Black Wall Street to the ground and massacred approximately 300 Black people.

Greenwood Rising History Center’s new location will be walkable and is poised to reinvigorate patrons of all colors to Greenwood District businesses, culture and rich history. 

According to the Commission, Greenwood Rising will be built to the same specifications as originally planned, the Pathway to Hope, connecting to John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, though soon-to-be reconfigured, will also remain a crucial part of the new Greenwood District experience.

“I am thrilled to be finally moving forward with construction of our world-class history center, Greenwood Rising. Our work continues to center on telling the remarkable story of Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District. We are now one step closer to doing just that,” Senator Kevin Matthews says — who also Chairs the Commission.

“This moment is the culmination of an incredible amount of work and community input. We will continue to engage our wide array of stakeholders as we move closer toward the completion of the new crown jewel in the Greenwood District, our history center, Greenwood Rising,” Phil Armstrong, Project Director, of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission said. 

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