Community conversations on possible reparations for 1921 massacre on Black Wall Street set to begin next month
Javohn Perry, left, of Seattle, and her cousin, Danielle Johnson, right, of Beggs, Okla., walk past the Black Wall Street mural Monday, April 12, 2021, in Tulsa, Okla. The original Black Wall Street vaporized a hundred years ago, when a murderous white mob laid waste to what was the nation’s most prosperous Black-owned business district and residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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A recent report from Fox23 News expressed how business owners in Greenwood have concerns about security stemming from a lack of lighting on the street. Fox reporter Tanya Modersitzki talked to Cleo Harris, owner of Black Wall Street Tees and Souvenirs and Devin Williams, owner of DW Speakeasy.

“We have a lot of traffic coming through here, and so you can’t catch everything if you don’t have lights. You can have cameras but not correct lighting, what good does that do?” Harris said to Modersitzki.

“For this amount of traffic to be in this part of downtown with very little lighting and almost no police presence, that’s a concern and a community danger that we’re facing right now,” Williams told Fox23 News.

This led The Black Wall Street Times to ask other business owners on Black Wall Street to get their perspective on the matter.

A Big “A” Bail Bond Co.

Walter Armstrong, owner of “A Big ‘A’ Bail Bond Co.,” commented on the matter.

 “I come in here at 2,3,4 o’clock in the morning. It’s totally dark and without the lights you can’t see people sleeping on these benches,” said Armstrong.

“There’s a fear factor because you don’t know what these people are gonna do in the middle of the night and nobody’s here,” Armstrong said. “We do need it, we need it earlier, we need it late.” 

Armstrong questioned why the lights that are there don’t stay on all night. “They’ve got a club (DW Speakeasy) back here and they don’t let out until two. Now why can’t they leave the lights on at least until two, all night long? It’s not that expensive,” Armstrong told The Black Wall Street Times.

VickyB’s Dance Company

The Black Wall Street Times also spoke with the owner of “Vicky B’s Dance Company” Vicky Brunson.

“I have over 200 dancers ranging in age from three all the way to adults. Of course, safety is number one and it’s not always safe, especially in the evenings where the majority of my classes take place.” Brunson said.

Black Wall Street Corner Store & More

Lastly, Angela Robinson, owner of “Black Wall Street Corner Store & More” gave her thoughts on the lack of lights.

“It is a security hazard. When the sun goes down, our businesses are still open. [But] we have no lighting,” Robinson said.

“There’s no streetlights, there’s no lights on our buildings. The lights that we have don’t work. They were recently put up, but they look like Christmas tree lights, even if they worked it wouldn’t give us the lighting that we need,” Robinson said.

Robinson may even have a quick solution to the problem. “In my opinion, I truly feel that the city needs to provide suitable lighting, just like the lighting that’s on the other side by the museum.”

As Black owners continue to ask the city for more lights, The Black Wall Street Times will make sure to keep the community updated on the latest information.

CEO of Downtown Tulsa Partnership Brian Kurtz released a statement on the issue:

“The Downtown Tulsa Ambassadors provide cleaning and safety/hospitality services in Downtown seven days per week and have regular contacts with businesses regarding their needs and concerns. The Greenwood/Archer corridor is regularly and heavily traversed by our teams who proactively and reactively address non-emergency situations and relay critical information to the Tulsa Police Department and other partners. We continue to convey these and similar concerns to the City of Tulsa with requests for a larger and more visible police presence in Downtown’s business districts.

We are aware of inoperable streetlights on the east and west side of Greenwood and are actively working with contractors to restore power. During a recent City-permitted and privately constructed streetscaping project, an underground conduit powering the decorative street lights around Greenwood and Archer was damaged beyond repair. The contractor communicated this issue to our electrical contractor, and they have been collectively coordinating with the private construction firm, electrical engineers and public utilities on a solution to fully restore power to these lights as quickly as possible. We have kept Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, the adjacent property owner, apprised of the issue and efforts to restore power throughout this process and hope to have the lights fully functioning again very soon.”

Kesean Cleveland is an an intern at The Black Wall Street Times. He is a student at Langston University and was born and raised in Oklahoma City. Some of his favorite things include video games, his dog...