On June 2, 1921, thousands of black Tulsans interned at the Tulsa Fairgrounds woke under armed guard. Many had no idea where their loved ones were or if they were still alive; they didn’t know whether their homes were still standing or if they’d been ransacked by the white mob. As Greenwood residents worked to restart lives that had been violently interrupted, city officials and greedy real estate speculators had other ideas — ideas that would push Greenwood residents off their valuable land forever.
But those white elites would fail to account for the ambition, leadership and tight bonds of community that Greenwood’s people had built over the years. Though the neighborhood would never be the same, against all odds, Black Wall Street would rise from the ashes.
If you’d like to learn more about the Tulsa Race Massacre, we recommend a few great books we drew on for this series:
Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District by Hannibal Johnson
Reconstructing the Dreamland: The Tulsa Riot of 1921 by Alfred Brophy
Riot and Remembrance by James S. Hirsch
This episode originally aired in 2019.
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