African American Literature Book Club: The Victory of Greenwood

The Victory of Greenwood

Newly discovered sources dispel some of Tulsa’s persistent myths and inaccuracies about the events leading up to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. The book also includes the story of Greenwood’s rebuilding, and of the institutions, such as Booker T. Washington High School and Vernon A. M. E. Church, that continue Greenwood’s extraordinary legacy today.

This new collection of 20 historical biographies dispels myths and inaccuracies about the events leading up to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 via newly discovered primary sources, and shows Greenwood’s local and national significance after its rebuilding, to today.

On June 2nd, 1921, the Red Cross began a relief effort from Booker T. Washington High School campus, the only buildings left undamaged by the attack on Greenwood. Meanwhile, residents started working on rebuilding their homes and entrepreneurs such as Loula Williams set about re-establishing their businesses. Attorney B. C. Franklin successfully sued the City of Tulsa, leading to Greenwood’s revival, which lasted well into the late 1960s. People from the Greenwood area had a continuing impact on the world of music, the Civil Rights Movement, medical technology, and computer technology through the 1940s and the present day.

Carlos Moreno learned about the history of Greenwood from the staff of Oklahoma’s longest-running Black newspapers, The Oklahoma Eagle, while doing freelance design work for a 2002 special issue about the Massacre and its aftermath. Moreno says, “This work transcends the Massacre and the upcoming centennial. I wanted to write about the incredibly positive impact that Greenwood had, and still has, on the world, even after all attempts to destroy it.”