Will Rogers Library features Tulsa Historical Society’s ‘Spirit of Greenwood: A History of Prosperity & Perseverance’ display
As a unique feature in honor of Black History month, the Will Rogers Library has received a special educational display covering the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Developed by the Tulsa Historical Society, this four-panel informative display titled “Spirit of Greenwood: A History of Prosperity & Perseverance” highlights the history of the notable Tulsa Greenwood district dating back to the early 19th century. It illustrates the birth of the Greenwood district amidst segregation, the period of affluence and prosperity in which the district became known as Black Wall Street, and culminates in the violence and the Tulsa Race Massacre that ensued.
At one time, Tulsa’s Greenwood district was one of the country’s most prosperous African American communities. After the 1921 Race Riots the area was rebuilt, but over time the positive impact of desegregation combined with general urban and community changes took their toll. However, the area is a living story of constant renewal and resilience. Today only one block of historic Greenwood remains as the original boundaries are now encompassed by parts of downtown, University Park and new apartment construction.
“We are very fortunate to be able to have this feature on display during Black History Month, as it highlights a time in our local area history that many people still don’t know much about.” said Sherry Beach, Library Director. “With the current efforts happening in Tulsa to search for sites related to the Tulsa Race Massacre, this was an historic event that is generating a lot of current interest, yet many aren’t aware of the remarkable background or details. This display is a great educational tool for both adults and students, and we hope people will take this opportunity to learn more.”
The Will Rogers Library also has educational materials developed by the Oklahoma History Center available in one-day and five-day curriculum outlines targeted to grades 5 and above for teachers or parents interested in expanding on the background and history of this time. Special educational materials about Greenwood and the Tulsa Race Massacre are available from the Library or for download from the Tulsahistory.org website. There are also recommendations for additional reading and audio-visual materials available from the Oklahoma Historical Society.
The display will be available for viewing throughout February near the Genealogy section of the library. Patrons may view it at their leisure. Groups interested in learning more about the display or scheduling a visit may contact Leslie Rogers at 918-341-1564 or through wrlibrary@claremorecity. com.