Tulsa Riot of 1921: The Destruction of Black Wall Street

Today marks the 95th anniversary of the Tulsa Riot of 1921 and the destruction of many homes and businesses in the Greenwood district (also referred to as “Little Africa” and “Black Wall Street”) of Tulsa, Oklahoma. In the early 1920’s, Tulsa was wealthy on account of an oil discovery; and because of this, the Greenwood district, a predominately African-American area, flourished. It was one of the most affluent Black-owned commercial areas of the 1900s. The White community in the surrounding areas were unaccepting of economic success of “Black Wall Street.”[1]

On March 31st 1921, a young man by the name of Dick Rowland was accused of assaulting Sarah Page, a 17 year old white elevator operator. This incident was further instigated by newspapers as they encouraged the public to hang Rowland. When the Black community heard about the potential hanging, over 50 armed African-American men came to…

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  1. A desperately sad story. All that hard work and hope destroyed. I don’t know how people endured the injustice and the hate. Is the tragedy acknowledged and taught in Tulsa today?

    1. Yes it is very sad. I imagine that it’s acknowledged (in the black community). However, I’m not sure that it’s taught. Probably not.

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