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As the 101 anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre passes, many individuals visit the Greenwood Rising Museum to commemorate the victims and survivors while also indulging in Black history. The Greenwood Rising Museum, established in May, 2021, is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Historic Greenwood District, home to the original Black Wall Street.
When visitors enter the museum, they watch a film featuring Maya Angelou’s legendary poem, “Still I Rise.” The Greenwood Rising museum partnered with the Local Projects, formulating an exhibition area that illustrates the Tulsa Race Massacre and the history of Greenwood. The poem highlights the Greenwood community and what they endured while proving that through any tragedy, they will preserve and stand as one.
Following the film, individuals witness viewports that explain the past transforming into present aspects of society. Next, the museum culminates “The Greenwood Spirit”, analyzing the struggles Black people endured, while also highlighting the prosperous community, even when confronted with systemic racism.
Technology powerfully shows the history of Greenwood’s Black Wall Street
The next part, “Life in Greenwood”, is a crowd favorite because it includes holographics. During this section, the barbers relive the traumatic events of Tulsa, then explain how Greenwood was established while guests sit in a barber chair. The barbers engage the audience in history while also providing laughter by making jokes about being the best barber.
Before entering the “Arc of Oppression,” the museum warns visitors about the disturbing images and words on display. This section ties into the racial terrorism African Americans experienced by the Ku Klux Klan. Next, visitors find the “Systems of Anti-Blackness,” providing a timeline of racial occurrences throughout history, such as slave codes, debt slavery, and the robe used by the Ku Klux Klan.
As visitors exit from that section, they enter into a film, “Tulsa Race Massacre.” Through the film, the audience learns about the horrific and traumatic nightmares experienced by the victims and survivors. The survivors recount that unspeakable night, while conveying the destruction and loss they suffered. To this day, the survivors have not received reparations for the damages from the massacre.
Greenwood Rising details brilliance of Black Wall Street
The gallery of “Changing Fortunes”, entails the success of Black Wall Street, such as local businesses and stores. This part of the museum is crucial in showing that even though the massacre attempted to erase aspects of Black excellence and history, it never stole the heart and spirit behind it, as Greenwood rebuilt even bigger after the gruesome destruction of 36 square blocks and the killing of 300 Black men, women and children in 1921.
At the end of the museum, they look at the “Journey to Reconciliation.”, which includes the dialogue space and the commitment space. The dialogue space allows people to share stories and enlighten one another on Black History. The commitment space is another popular area in the museum, as visitors are allowed to write quotes about our history. People can speak about many topics, such as reparations, racial injustice, prominent figures and more. The visitors’ quotes enter the wall and become rooted in history, at the Greenwood Rising Museum.
The Greenwood Rising museum implements history, technology, and mechanical design, introducing a dialogue of difficult conversations about the massacre and focusing on Black history, specifically the Greenwood District. By addressing traumatic issues in history and captivating the unity within society, the museum illuminates the past of Greenwood with the present.