100 Years After the Tulsa Race Massacre

On May 31, 1921, the United States witnessed one of the worst racially-motivated massacres in its history. A white mob attacked and killed more than 300 people in Greenwood, Oklahoma. Outnumbered and overpowered, the prominent black community north of Tulsa experienced death and destruction for two days.

One-hundred years after this devastating incident, we pay our respects to the lives lost and offer our patrons resources to learn more about the events that transpired. We will not forget.

[NPR] A Century After The Race Massacre, Tulsa Confronts Its Bloody Past
It’s been 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre — one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. An armed white mob attacked Greenwood, a prosperous Black community in Tulsa, Okla., killing as many as 300 people. What was known as Black Wall Street was burned to the ground.

[National Endowment for the Humanities] The 1921 Tulsa Massacre
As city streets throbbed with protests (and what some might call uprisings) during the summer of 2020, two science fiction dramas recalled the massacre of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which took place 100 years ago this spring. Watchmen and Lovecraft Country, both on HBO, filled television screens with imagery of Tulsa’s Black neighborhood of Greenwood—Booker T. Washington nicknamed it Negro Wall Street, which morphed into Black Wall Street—as it was shot up, torched, and bombed from the air by white vigilantes. Viewers wondered if the events depicted were more fiction than science. Social media was abuzz with people trying to find out more about Tulsa. Among African Americans, however, the memory had not completely faded.

[Smithsonian Magazine] A Long-Lost Manuscript Contains a Searing Eyewitness Account of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921
The ten-page manuscript is typewritten, on yellowed legal paper, and folded in thirds. But the words, an eyewitness account of the May 31, 1921, racial massacre that destroyed what was known as Tulsa, Oklahoma’s “Black Wall Street,” are searing.

[Smithsonian Magazine] The Tulsa Race Riot and Three of Its Victims

[The Washington Post] ‘They was killing black people’
In Tulsa, one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history still haunts the city with unresolved questions, even as ‘Black Wall Street’ gentrifies

[The Atlantic] The Massacre of Black Wall Street

[Oklahoma Digital Prairie] Tulsa Race Massacre
The documents in this collection describe one of the darkest episodes in American history. The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 constituted two days of violence that left an unconfirmed number of dead citizens and destroyed 35 square blocks of the prosperous Greenwood neighborhood. The Tulsa Race Massacre has also been known as the “Tulsa Race Riot” and the “Greenwood Massacre.”

This collection features documents and images from various Oklahoma state government agencies, such as the Governor’s office and the Attorney General’s office, regarding the investigation into the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. The collection includes eye-witness testimony, letters, telegrams, police reports, and court cases. Additionally, some documents relate to prostitution, gambling, and illegal alcohol in Tulsa during the early 1920s.

Further Reading…

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