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KGOU Readers Club - Tulsa 1921: Reporting a Massacre

Oklahoma Historical Society
Tulsa's Greenwood district burns on June 1, 1921

On the night of May 31st and through the morning of June 1st in 1921, in Tulsa Oklahoma’s Greenwood district, also known as Black Wall Street, roving bands of white Tulsans all but destroyed the prosperous black community that was thriving there. It was a violent riot where people were gunned down, their homes and businesses burned, and their possessions looted.

The impacts of the Tulsa Race Massacre continue to be felt as its 100th anniversary approaches. The general public is learning more about the event in more modern times, but it’s still not well understood by most. As part of the KGOU Readers’ Club, we’re focusing on important books related to the massacre. This week, Randy Krehbiel, author of Tulsa 1921: Reporting a Massacre.

Greenwood was a place where Black people could be independent and part of their own community, not tied to landowners or servitude. But it was about to burn.

Part 2: Chaos, murder, and fire as white mobs invade Tulsa's Black community.

As the neighborhood burned, Black homeowners were shot and their posessions looted. Those who survived were scatted. But the rebuilding of the Greenwood began almost immediately, and plans by city leaders to repurpose the area as an industrial area were thwarted.

100 years later, questions continue to swirl about the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Tulsa 1921: Reporting a Massacre gives a detailed, well-sourced play-by-play of the events leading up to the destruction of Greenwood, the massacre itself, and the aftermath. It's a vital read for anyone trying to understand the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Logan Layden is a reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma. Logan spent six years as a reporter with StateImpact from 2011 to 2017.
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