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Tulsa Oklahoma’s Greenwood District (Black Wall Street)

with 18 comments

Boluwaji Ogunyemi talks Black Wallstreet, a symbol of African-American potential and site of the worst race riot of its time

 Less than a century ago, a positive community of African-Americans served as a shining example of the potential of those of African descent — Black Wallstreet.

Following the Civil War, many African-Americans settled in Oklahoma due to the wealth from oil fields.

In 1908 the Greenwood Heights community in Tulsa, Oklahoma was established. It was known as “the Negro Wallstreet” and was comparable in affluence to Beverly Hills today. About 15,000 African-Americans lived in this neighbourhood.

The Greenwood business district boasted around 600 African-American owned, successful businesses including modest two-seat barber shops to family-run grocery stores. It was one of the most concentrated African-American business communities in America.

A number of jazz and blues artists also sprung from this area. Greenwood was also home to not one, but two black newspapers: The Tulsa Star and The Oklahoma Sun.

Read more at The Gazette

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Written by Symphony

February 8, 2008 at 10:25 am

18 Responses

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  1. I would like to be able to visit the “Black Wall Street” in Tulas Oklahoma. I seem to be having a hard time findings the address of the musem for the “Black Wall Street”. Could you please help me out.

    Brian Vickers

    October 24, 2008 at 1:08 am

  2. Imagine Greenwood today sans a 1921 riot. I have known of the events of may and june 1921 for nearly half of my 41 years on this planet, and I think that the story has to be shared with the current genration of young blacks, particulaly young males (many of whom are murdering each other for the sport of it.) We must truly undestand the many atrocities our people had to endure so that we could have even a chance at succeeding at whatever endeavor. Whites were baffled by the sight of the many African Americans who sobbed at the news of Barack Obama being elected the 44th president of the United States, they are completely unable to empathize with a history that includes, The Tulsa/Greenwood riot of 1921, The Atlanta Georgia riot of 1906, The murder and imprisonment of black leaders who simply wanted a better life and an equal oppotunity for their people, Jim Crow and over two hundred years of slave labor. Black people of this generation, young and old owe a great debt of gratitude to those who came before them, paving a path to respectability, at times literally in blood. Glenn Paul Atlanta, Georgia

    Gpaul

    November 21, 2008 at 12:40 am

  3. Were can I get a catalog listing the names and address of the Business on Greenwood & Archer from 1906 to May 1921

    Thank you

    Felecia

    February 5, 2009 at 8:43 pm

  4. Hi i am wondering why my father James Lee Madden isn listed as the first black mail carrier in oklahoma i have searched and i see nothing on him,how can i get him recognized.

    Kerry madden

    March 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm

  5. My Great Grandmother Thelma Knight is one of the few remaining living survivors of the race riot. I grew up being educated about the horrific incident that caused forever pain and agony to the black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you read the history you will find there were pharmacies, grocery stores, barber and beauty shops, law firms, tailors, and etc of black owned businesses that were burned to the ground without a dime paid back to rebuild. Black millionaires existed in multiples there and it was all taken away. Never to be the same. Nothing for black families to pass down for tradition, just the sad story. No one wants to be held responsible,they always want to say it was out ancestors who are long gone so why should they have to pay, but in reality some are still blessed to be here now and first of all we are barely a generation removed from being witnesses to it all. Please educate your children of this occurence.Not just because it is history but to show them that everything a black has ever had they had to work from the bottom to the top; and to become educated because they will have to separate themselves and prove their crudentials. God bless

    Monique Rentie

    March 11, 2009 at 9:47 pm

  6. Brian Vickers
    http://greenwoodculturalcenter.com/ for information on the museum.

    senoje

    July 26, 2009 at 11:53 pm

  7. I am a Social Studies teacher in an Albuquerque High School. I am also the sponsor of my school’s Black Student Union (BSU). I was making plans for my group to visit Tulsa and the Black Wall Street Museum. From the information I have researched thus far, I am not seeing a physical structure (museum). Please reply with more information on the Museum and Langston U.

    Mr. Versa Clark

    September 12, 2010 at 11:20 am

  8. What a wondeful time, Even though this was some time after slavery. It had to be a wonderful time for black in that area. It should have been all over what was then Americ.Itis sad what many blacks have become.I think alot of the talk would be different now.

    Cheryl

    July 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm

  9. This is so powerful and sad that people were treated this way in America. As a proud Black man, I think white people need to know that they are blessed that retaliation is not taken out on them for all the evil done by their family members. Some of the family members living today may have the same types of beleifs about blacks a minorities. Sick people like that don’t need to be living on earth with the rest of us.

    I will not promote the violence against the present day white people who think what happen in Tulsa was ok, but if they are treated like the black men and women were treated I would not help them or save them.

    A Sharp

    January 20, 2012 at 10:47 am

  10. Greetings:

    hvac

    April 14, 2012 at 2:48 am

  11. There should Be a movie made on the things that happen here, it is soooooooo sad to see people get all happy over dogs and cats ETC, then over a human being, it is sad, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and this State has it real bad, I was born, here and raised here, but it is sad to see the way blacks are treated, and not give them back what was lost to them, and still taking over Greenwood, but just in a different way, it’s still wrong…

    Alphy

    May 3, 2012 at 7:04 pm

  12. At one time I had a list of all the businesses’ that was on Greenwood Ave., Pine, Cincinnati, & etc. But I have had 2 housefires and lost that information. I have called the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce and they say all they have is the business’ that are there now. I even called the Tulsa Historic Society and they referred me to someone there asnd I left my name and number for this man to call me with this information and he has never called me back and I can never caught him at the Society. If anyone know where I can possible get this information, please email me. My mother had a grocery store with meat market and bakery up until I was approx. then a cafe after that. I’ve lost all pictures and everything I had. This history needs to be passed on to our children and on……….Also I would like to see pictures of Lakeview Park off Mohawk/36th St. N. and the St. Dances on Deep Greenwood. Any information anyone has I would love to see, thanks.

  13. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said
    “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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