A brand new museum commemorating the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 is officially open in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Greenwood Rising, which is dedicated to educating the public about the Tulsa Race Massacre that happened 100 years ago in the Greenwood District, opened its doors last week on Aug. 4. The new museum utilizes history, technology, and interactive design to open a dialogue of challenging conversations about the tragedy while also discussing Black history and the heritage of historically Black North Tulsa and the Greenwood District specifically.
Back before the events that occurred in 1921, the Greenwood District was an affluent African-American community with a thriving business district known as “Black Wall Street.” White rioters burned and looted the area between May 31 and June 1, 1921 and historians estimate about 300 people were killed, over 800 were treated for injuries, and thousands were left homeless, according to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum.
Greenwood Rising has a number of thoughtful exhibitions for the public to gain greater knowledge of the events that happened there, including “The Greenwood Spirit” exploring the early Greenwood community; “The Arc of Oppression,” which frames the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and its effects through the lens of the history of anti-Blackness in America and systemic oppression; and the “Journey Toward Reconciliation,” which is an open space asking all visitors to come together in the spirit of racial reconciliation and restorative justice.
Greenwood Rising teamed up with design firm Local Projects to create this immersive space. In addition to the exhibitions, the museum also displays certain historic artifacts, including two unpublished manuscripts from non-Black witnesses of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, a Coke machine and barber chair from Eaton’s Barbershop( the headquarters for the Congress for Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) and a meeting place for planned demonstrations in Tulsa during the Civil Rights era), the personal bible and other memorabilia from the late Reverend Ben Hill, and more.
Visitors must reserve timed tickets before coming to the museum. Tickets for time slots are free to the public. For more information about the project, visit the Greenwood Rising website.
Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.