The Victory of Greenwood

Greenwood's story is not one of tragedy. The neighborhood has suffered systemic racism and tragic events, but these do not define Greenwood nor tell its complete history.

Founded in Oklahoma in 1905, shortly before Oklahoma’s statehood, Greenwood became the wealthiest African-American community in the nation. A decade and a half later, in 1921, a white mob attacked Greenwood leaving it in ruins.

Despite the despicable acts committed against Greenwood, now known as “The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre,” Greenwood rebuilt, even better than before, with no external aid. In fact, its residents overcame a deliberate attempt by the City of Tulsa to legally prevent them from rebuilding.

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The Greenwood Mapping Project

Throughout the two-year research process of writing The Victory of Greenwood, we uncovered several data sources which included land deeds, addresses of families and businesses, census data, business directory data, municipal land records, and other sources of information that have never been corroborated and displayed together in one place. Together with Code for America, Tri-City Collective, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation, we’re compiling all these data sources together to create an online interactive map of Greenwood—showing Greenwood’s growth from 1905 to 1921, and its rebuilding after the Tulsa Race Massacre.

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Greenwood Stories

Thanks to a generous commitment from the Jenkin Lloyd Jones Press at All Souls Church, we have the opportunity to continue the work we began with this project. In partnership with Tri-City Collective, the OSU Oral History Project, and the Ruth Nelson Foundation, we are creating a series of video interviews of Greenwood residents who remember the vibrant, thriving neighborhood as it existed before the construction of I-244, U.S. 75, the UCAT campus, and ONEOK Field. This collection of new interviews captures the untold history of Greenwood during a time when any mention of Black Tulsa was silenced.

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