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GREENWOOD Dist. – On Friday, April 21, 2023, Greenwood descendants, the North Tulsa community and the Historic Greenwood Black Wall Street Coalition will come together for a virtual town hall to discuss the proposed Black Wall Street National Monument.
This monument is an effort to honor the historic Greenwood Community, which has been dubbed Black Wall Street for its self-sufficient majority-Black district that was tragically burned down by a racist White mob in 1921. Despite this devastating event, the community rose again to prominence, offering Blacks a space to carve out their own version of the American Dream.
The virtual town hall will take place on The Black Wall Street Times’ social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) at both 12 PM and 5 PM CT on Friday, April 21, 2023.
Participants of the event include descendants of survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre who are advocating for this important memorial; community leaders from north Tulsa working to ensure their voices are heard; and Greenwood stakeholders dedicated to honoring this historic district with a national monument.
Read about how the Greenwood Community lobbied congressional leaders HERE.
Read about how City council members unanimously voted, asking their city mayor to make Greenwood a National Monument HERE.
1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Background
In 1921, the Greenwood District, also known as “Black Wall Street,” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was the site of one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history. Over the course of two days, from May 31 to June 1, a white mob attacked and destroyed the prosperous Black community of Greenwood.
The incident was sparked by the arrest of a Black teen, Dick Rowland, for allegedly assaulting a White elevator operator, Sarah Page. Rumors spread that Rowland was arrested and could be lynched, and tensions between the White and Black communities in Tulsa escalated.
On the night of May 31, a White mob descended on Greenwood, looting and burning homes and businesses, including the area’s only hospital, schools, churches, and banks. The National Guard was called in, but they did little to stop the violence. The mob was eventually dispersed on June 1, but not before much of Greenwood had been destroyed.
300 Black Greenwood residents were killed, many buried in mass graves, and 10,000 were displaced. The incident was largely ignored by the national media at the time, and it was only in recent years that the full extent of the violence and its impact on the Black community in Tulsa has been recognized.
Remarks by President Biden Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre
“On the north side, across the rail tracks that divided the city already segregated by law, they built something of their own, worthy — worthy of their talent and their ambition: Greenwood — a community, a way of life. Black doctors and lawyers, pastors, teachers; running hospitals, law practices, libraries, churches, schools.
Black veterans, like a man I had the privilege to giving a Command Coin to, who fought — volunteered and fought, and came home and still faced such prejudice.
Veterans had been back a few years helping after winning the first World War, building a new life back home with pride and confidence, who were a mom-and — they were, at the time — mom-and-plack [sic] — mom-and-pop Black diners, grocery stores, barber shops, tailors — the things that make up a community.
At the Dreamland Theatre, a young Black couple, holding hands, falling in love. Friends gathered at music clubs and pool halls; at the Monroe family roller-skating rink. Visitors staying in hotels, like the Stradford.
All around, Black pride shared by the professional class and the working class who lived together, side by side, for blocks on end.
Through the night and into the morning, the mob terrorized Greenwood. Torches and guns. Shooting at will. A mob tied a Black man by the waist to the back of their truck with his head banging along the pavement as they drove off. A murdered Black family draped over the fence of their home outside. An elderly couple knelt by their bed, praying to God with their heart and their soul when they were shot in the back of their heads.”
Read President Joe R. Biden’s historic speech in its entirety HERE.