Greenwood District, Tulsa
From Martin Luther King Boulevard, the Greenwood District is. From Martin Luther King Blvd. east to Greenwood Ave., the Greenwood District was known as America’s Black Wall Street until the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921. This massacre, which was one of the most horrific in American history, decimated the once-thriving Greenwood community. The victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre were honored by the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Center and the Greenwood Cultural Center. There is a revival of new businesses in the area. In the early 1900s, Tulsa attracted many souls. They shared an American optimism, both white and African American, which was a hallmark of American optimism. They were looking for a better future. Most African American migrants settled in the Greenwood District, which would eventually become the Greenwood District. The main thoroughfare was known as “Black Wall Street”.
In the early 1900s, the Greenwood District was born. However, strict segregation ruled. Ironically, segregation gave rise to a national renowned center for black entrepreneurship. The Greenwood District saw a rise in families and new homes. This created a need for service and retail businesses, schools, entertainment, and other services. An elite group of African American entrepreneurs rose up to the occasion and created a vibrant, vital, self contained economy that would be known as Black Wall Street.
Black Wall Street, also known as Greenwood Avenue, was home to many nightclubs and cafes. There were also doctors’ and lawyers offices, cinemas, doctor’s and lawyers’ offices and grocery stores. There were beauty salons and shoe shine shops. Greenwood Avenue was so sophisticated and elegant, it was the heart of Greenwood District.
The worst racial violence in American History occurred in Tulsa’s spring 1921. This was due to underlying economic and social tension. Three hundred people died. The cost of property damage was in the millions. The Greenwood District, the thirty-five-square-block-area that comprised the city’s entire African American community, lay in ruins. Tulsa’s African Americans turned tragedy into success. They rebuilt the devastated Greenwood District which, by 1942, had 242 black-owned or black-operated businesses.
The community’s decline began in the 1960s, and continued through the 1970s and 1980s. It was destroyed by urban renewal, integration, and a lack of a business climate. At the end of the 20th century, few businesses survived. The Greenwood Cultural Center is a multipurpose educational, arts and humanities center that promotes history, culture and positive race relations. The landmark community landmark was built in 1980 and is a multimillion dollar tribute to Tulsa’s history and the legacy of the historic Greenwood District.