About a month ago I checked out the Greenwood Rising Museum in the Greenwood District of Tulsa just north of downtown.
The museum opened to visitors in August 2021 a little over a 100 years after the Greenwood Massacre in the same area.
The museum has a lot to about the massacre but the emphasis is on the Greenwood community. It also has a lot about the forces of repression against people of color that has been occurring from the early days of Oklahoma right up to the present.
This isn’t the type of museum that has a lot of relics or art to look at. It’s more of a story telling museum using photographs, videos, and displays.
Greenwood was known as the “Black Wall Street” because of its prosperity. Cut off from the white part of town, Greenwood prospered and that was a problem for many in the white community.
The massacre itself lasted less than 24 hours from May 31 to June 1, 1921. A white mob attacked the district and killed several hundred people and burned much of the area to the ground.
No white person was ever brought to justice. The blame was placed squarely on the residents. Although many had insurance nothing was paid under the provisions of riots exemptions.
Afterwards as the community struggled to rebuild, the City of Tulsa responded by requiring brick homes and other things meant to encourage the residents to sell out to white people.
Eventually, the community rebuilt itself and then faced another destructive force. Urban Renewal led to the demolition of many homes and businesses and the construction of a freeway running right through the neighborhood. The white areas south of downtown got below grade freeways to minimze the impact the effect of the highway on the residents. The Greenwood area did not get the same consideration. To this day, there are vast areas just west of Greenwood that are still barren.
The community is resilient and is thriving.
The museum is about a lot more than the massacre.
There is still a fight going on. The Oklahoma legislature has passed laws making it hader to register and vote, aimed squarely at minority voters. The fragile white legislature have also passed laws that inhibit the teaching of the injustices of the past. It might be illegal to bring students to this museum.
I went through the museum, and I did not feel that white people are attacked or disparaged at all. The facility is telling a story in an even handed manner. They are telling the story of their community in a factual manner.
I highly recommend visiting Greenwood Rising. It is well done.
Note that they are closed for the month of August as they refresh the facility. They announced an interesting thing, you can get a preview of the museum for free on the smartphone app “Bloomberg Connects.” I downloaded it and it is a great app. You can tour lots of museums all across the world not just Greenwood Rising.
So, I recommend check Greenwood Rising out if you happen to be in the Tulsa area. Check the link for hours and other info.
I am posting at My Corner of the World. Come check it out.