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The word is finally out. It’s the talk of the town. The Terence Crutcher Foundation’s purchase of the 5.8 acre North Pointe Shopping Center, however, represents more than just economic revitalization. It adds to the continuing legacy of a young organization embodying every aspect of Black Power.
First reported by the Tulsa World, the $1.7 million purchase of North Pointe, located on the corner of East Pine and N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, culminates a years-long search for some entity, any entity, to bring a light to the gateway of the long neglected North Tulsa community.
Unlike those who try to equate it with white supremacy, Black Power isn’t about hate or dominance over another group. It seeks to give power to the marginalized, and in the act, lifts up all sinking ships. Black Power, as expressed by the late Kwame Ture and enacted by the original Black Panthers, is the idea that we should have self-determination over our own social, political, and economic destinies.
First popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King’s protégé Kwame Ture, formerly known as Stokely Carmichael, Black Power is an ideal of reclaiming self-determination.
“The goal of black self-determination and black self-identity…is full participation in the decision-making process affecting the lives of black people, and recognition of the virtues in themselves as black people,” Kwame Ture said in his 1967 book, “Black Power”.
Terence Crutcher Foundation buys block for economic justice
Despite quiet contempt from some and outright hate from others in the white supremacist political structure known as the State of Oklahoma, the Terence Crutcher Foundation represents one of the truest examples of Black Power.
Education and mentor programs for youth, community organizing, power building, and mutual aid support for adults reflect just some of the many ways TCF brings self-determination and hope back into a beleaguered Black community. Birthed out of the tragic unjust killing of unarmed Terence Crutcher by former police officer and murderer Betty Shelby, his twin sister Dr. Tiffany Crutcher has turned pain into purpose.
Unlike city leaders, who for a century have continued to deny reparations and dictate decisions for the community, TCF unapologetically fights for justice.
Unlike the nonprofit industrial complex, which often means well but too often narrows the scope of what justice looks like, TCF seeks to “co-envision” the use of North Pointe and co-conspire actionable steps towards equity with the community, not for the community.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity for the Crutcher Foundation and the connection and collaboration with the north Tulsa community to take North Pointe, which has been a staple of this community for a long time, and positioned really in the center of this community, and make it a center of economic vitality and one of the centerpieces of a growing north Tulsa,” TCF board member and community leader Greg Robinson told Tulsa World.
Building Black Power in North Tulsa
Yet not all in the city express excitement for the revitalization of what Dr. Tiffany Crutcher calls “the gateway to downtown and the gateway to North Tulsa.”
Anytime a new business opens in North Tulsa, the Facebook comment sections of local news outlets are often filled with debates about crime and whether any business should move there.
What’s left out of the conversation are the ways in which the Tulsa Race Massacre and the subsequent Urban Removal decisions by the city has contributed to disparities that have yet to be fully addressed.
According to the City of Tulsa’s own annual Equality Indicators Report, North Tulsa residents are more than twice as likely to earn lower salaries than those in South Tulsa. Roughly 3 out of 4 North Tulsa residents live in a food desert compared to no one in South Tulsa, and the life expectancy in North Tulsa is years below that of Tulsans who live on the other side of the Frisco railroad tracks.
For decades residents of North Tulsa have desired social, political, and economic equity. Black Power-centered organizations like the Terence Crutcher Foundation are planting the seeds of hope and watering the soil of youth for a vibrant future.
While Dr. Tiffany Crutcher remains tight-lipped about the details for the revitalization of North Pointe, residents can expect to witness transformative change.