Events

The Black Wall Street Mural featured in the graphic was created by Tulsa artists Chris “Sker” Rogers and Bill White and Kansas City artist Donald “Scribe” Ross and sponsored by the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.

EJS Artistic Presentation on September 20: 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and Black Wall Street

For the past 20 years, the Equal Justice Society has worked with artists to bring Black history to life through music, film, dance, and spoken word. This year the horrors of Tulsa that were reflected in the modern-day horror of the Capitol white supremacy riot will be the focus of our Equal Justice Society 2021 annual event and artistic presentation on Monday, September 20, 2021.

Longtime EJS friends and artistic partners Marcus Shelby and Kevin D. Johnson, Jr. are collaborating on a film about the massacre with original music composed by Marcus. Attacks on the bodies of people of color are unfortunately just part of history. This artistic presentation will connect Tulsa to attacks on members of the AAPI community and on Latinx immigrants.

Loula and John Williams came to embody the entrepreneurial spirit of Greenwood. They owned a confectionery at 102 Greenwood Avenue, and the East End Garage around the corner on Archer Street. Photo from the NYT interactive feature ‘What the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Destroyed

About the Tulsa Race Massacre and Black Wall Street

On May 31, and June 1, 1921, lawless and murderous whites in Tulsa, Oklahoma, beat, robbed, and looted the bodies, businesses, and homes of the prosperous Black folks in the Greenwood section of Tulsa, an area known as “Black Wall Street.”

From Tulsa2021.org: “Early in the twentieth century, Tulsa’s African American community, the Greenwood District crafted a nationally renowned entrepreneurial center. De jure segregation confined African American dollars within this enclave. The resultant economic detour—the diversion of black dollars away from the off-limits white commercial sector—morphed the thirty-five-square-block area into ‘Black Wall Street,’ a dynamic business hub rife with risk-takers and deal makers.

“Over time, fear and jealousy swelled within the white community. African American success, including home, business, and land ownership, precipitated increasing consternation and friction. A chance encounter between two teenagers lit the fuse that set Greenwood District alight. The alleged assault on a white girl, Sarah Page, by an African American boy, Dick Rowland, triggered unprecedented civil unrest. Propelled by sensational reporting by The Tulsa Tribune, resentment over black economic success, and a racially hostile climate in general, mob rule held sway.

“In fewer than twenty-four hours, people, property, hopes, and dreams vanished. Fires raged. Mobs prevented firefighters from extinguishing the flames. Property damage ran into the millions. Hundreds of people died. Scores lay injured. Some African Americans fled Tulsa, never to return.”