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For over 15 arduous years, The John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation has garnered assistance and increased awareness through collective and collaborative efforts from Greenwood supporters near and far. As a result of their tireless efforts, The Greenwood District has now received its listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The nomination and approval culminates an intense and deliberate effort to recognize the history and legacy of one of the most creative, industrious, entrepreneurial, resilient African American communities in the United States in the 20th century.
Listing in the National Register of Historic Places is an honorific designation that provides recognition, limited protection and, in some cases, financial incentives for these important properties.
The Black Wall Street Times spoke with Dewayne Dickens, Ph.D, who sits as a Board of Director for John Hope Franklin about the historic recognition.
“It is an opportunity for a history that is a part of the very fabric of Black legacy in this country which has been under-covered, and now has been brought to the forefront in a national spotlight,” says Dr. Dickens.
Dr. Dickens elaborates, “It’s an important step for every generation of Black people in this country along with the funding that will come with it.”
As Director of Culturally Responsive Practices for Tulsa Community College, Dr. Dickens knows the power of erecting and destroying monuments of historical significance. “It’s a perfect balance of what should be happening in history. When you put up a monument, you’re saying, ‘this represents our highest ideals as a community and culture.”
Dr. Dickens continues, “If we inadvertently or intentionally put up monuments that represent our worst ideals, now that we are taking those down it is imperative that we replace them with monuments that represent our highest ideals. We should be looking for opportunities to share the hidden and underrepresented histories that have not been highlighted.”