Body these issues that were happening, African-


Body of Research

            In the early 1900’s in the Greenwood neighborhood of
Tulsa, Oklahoma, there was an a revolutionary situation happening for
African-Americans. During the early 1900’s, segregation and racial issues were
on the rise in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There were many places throughout the state
where many African-Americans were not allowed to go. Because of these issues
that were happening, African- Americans created a community that would be made
up of hundreds of Black-owned  businesses and markets where
African-Americans could freely go and support each other. This place soon was
named Black Wall street. This paced had a variety of different markets, eating
establishments, hair saloons, and even theaters. Black Wall Street was home to
over 10,000 African-Americans. With many African-Americans supporting each other,
it created better access to housing, jobs, schools, health and savings. Since
African-Americans were not allowed to shop at white owned stores, money that
was spent in Black Wall Street went right back into the black community. There
was a spark of jealousy and envy that was created because of the success
African-Americans were creating for themselves and their future.
 Eventually, there were very little African-Americans in the city trying
or actually spending their money at many white-owned businesses. There were
many people in the city who were not a fan of Black Wall Street because of a
decrease in business and racial issues with African-Americans. These things
created and raised much aggravation and suspicion towards the community.

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            Not long after when Black Wall Street was in its prime,
the crushing situation happened. In 1921 a white woman accused a black man of
sexually assaulting her in an elevator. This striked a fury among people in the
town. The city was divided among if he was guilty or not but there were a group
of people who decided to try to take matters into their own hands. This

situation had become to
be known as the greatest race war in history. On May 31, 1921, hundreds of KKK
members and leaders stormed Black Wall Street and destroyed it. They killed
over 300 African-Americans. They robbed and burned more than 40 square blocks
of it including homes, schools, hospitals, churches, and ruined 150 businesses.
They managed to arrest  6,000 black Tulsans and about 9,000 African-Americans
were left homeless.  “The term “race riot”
does not adequately describe the events of May 31—June 1, 1921 in Greenwood… In
fact, the term itself implies that both blacks and whites might be equally to
blame for the lawlessness and violence. The historical record documents a
sustained and murderous assault on black lives and property. This assault was
met by a brave but unsuccessful armed defense of their community by some black
World War I veterans and others.” This quote was written by Linda Cristen on
the Burning of Black Wall Street in the Zinn Education Program. Today it is
estimated that over $30 million dollars in damages was done that night. Besides
the physical damages that were done, there were a great deal of emotional
damages and distress were also done for the adults and children of Black Wall
Street. It was a depressing tragedy which when asked by som members of the
riot, they responded that it was to get “justice”.

Many people have asked the question of why didn’t
try to rebuild or recreate Black Wall Street. Technically, in some ways it did,
but it came back as something very different. After the riot, when the town
finally recovered, many African-Americans left Tulsa. Since they were not able
to go to white owned stores, there was nowhere to go for blacks in Tulsa. Many
African-Americans didn’t try to rebuild Black Wall Street exactly the way it
was during the time because of fear. Even though during the time of the riot
African-Americans fought for what was theirs, many couldn’t go through another
battle. Since many were trying to recover and work on rebuild their lives, it
was too risky to try to rebuild Black Wall Street. People believed that another
attempt at success would create another riot worse than the first.
 Overtime fear became something that wasn’t an option for
African-Americans all over. It became a known fact that during segregated
times, blacks would have to help themselves when no one else were willing to
help them. Ever since then, African-Americans have worked and thrived to earn
their rights and build businesses to continue to thrive. Now there are many
different black owned businesses all over the world that continue to grow and
expand for African Americans. Without the development of Back Wall Street, the
development of black businesses possibly could have been a much slower
development than what we have today. That contributes to the reason why so many
African-Americans thank and celebrate Black Wall Street when it was in its

there are still some of the last survivors of Black Wall Street and speaks out
on the incident. Olivia Hooker is a 99 year old, African-American who was a
victim of only six years old during the riot. She currently lives in White
Plains, New York and was interviewed by Al Jazeera America. During the
interview Hooker was asked about her experience as a child during the riot.
Hooker says “It really destroyed my faith and humanity” and talks about how she
was being exposed to racism and hate for the first time in her life. Her and
other survivors are still hoping and thriving for justice today.  Otice
Clark was another one of the survivors. Clark lived for 105 years hoping for
justice. Throughout his life, he kept going with the hope that one day he and
other victims would get recognized and justice for what they were forced to go
through when they were only young children. Clark unfortunately died being a
leader to many other victims on a journey to try to get the story of Black Wall
Street known and told Many African-Americans are trying to continue Clark’s
dream and journey and are trying to get the story of Black Wall Street told and
recognized throughout schools and society.


Black Wall Street has become to be known as a
revolutionary place for African-Americans everywhere. It became a community of
wealth that helped support and lift African-Americans during that time. Because
of hate, jealousy, and envy, Black Wall Street took a devastating turn for the
worst when it was burned and raped of its success. It took a devastating toll
mentally and physically to many African-Americans all over. Since then, people
all over have worked to try to get the story of Black Wall Street known and
delivered to to society all over. It created a revolutionary step forward in
Black Businesses that helped develop and create a way for hundreds  of
African-Americans all over. The event took a toll on places all over but people
have continued to thrive and develop the success of Black people. 


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