The African American Section 1921 - Tulsa Oklahoma
The African American section of Tulsa contained 191 businesses prior to the Race Riot of 1921, which included 15 doctors, a chiropractor, 2 dentists, and 3 lawyers. The residents also had access to a library, 2 schools, a hospital, and a Tulsa Public Health Service. The Polk City Directory listed 159 businesses in 1920 and after the riot in 1922, there were 120 businesses in the directory. In the City Directory in 1921, there were 1,149 residences and most of them were occupied by more than one person--or even one family; the 1920 directory reported 1,126 residences. After the riot, the 1922 directory listed 1,134 residences.
The Red Cross reported that 1,256 houses were burned, 215 houses were looted but not burned, and the total number of buildings not burned but looted and robbed was 314. The Tulsa Real Estate estimated $1.5 million worth of damages and one-third of that in the Black business district. The Exchange claimed personal property loss at $750,000. Between June 14, 1921, and June 6, 1922, $1.8 million of claims were filed against the city of Tulsa and disallowed.
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“Go to work! Go to work in the morn of a new creation… until you have… reached the height of self-progress, and from that pinnacle bestow upon the world a civilization of your own.” – Marcus Garvey
The bird shown in our logo is the Sankofa Bird. Sankofa is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. Sankofa is expressed in the Akan language as, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi," literally translated it means: "It is not taboo, to go back and fetch what you forgot." Sankofa teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us so that we can achieve our full human potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated.
Camal A. Rashada is a former adjunct professor at Georgia Perimeter College, and Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his Masters of Education degree from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, graduating (Summa Cum Laude), and Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University. He also served as Executive Director of ATOP Academy in Phoenix, Arizona, and Assistant Principal of Stone Mountain Charter School in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Camal is an avid researcher of African high civilizations. His passion is telling "Our Story," while exposing the many instances of omission, commission, and distortion of African, and African-American history and culture.
He is the founder of "The GC Legacy", a website committed to telling the story of the Greenwood Community of the historic "Black Wall Street" business district in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early 1900s. Many questions still remain pertaining to the 1921 destruction of what many refer to as the most phenomenal African-American Economic Model in American history.
Was this a riot? Was it a race war? Was it a massacre? Is it more than just a piece of hidden, seemingly forgotten history? Is Black Wall Street indeed, one of the most important significant pieces of black history since slavery? Was it a plot to destroy the unity mindset among black people? Should school systems teach this "American story" of triumph and tragedy in the classroom? Should we keep "The Greenwood Community Legacy Alive?" What would it take for an individual, a community, a "conscious people" to replicate the kind of economic success and empowerment that the citizens of "Black Wall Street achieved?" How can we, why should we keep "the spirit of Greenwood" alive?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington