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  • Nia Clark

14. The Legacy of Black Wall Street

Updated: Aug 4


Photo Courtesy: Oklahoma State University


In the nearly 100 In the years since the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsa, particularly the Greenwood District, has undergone a considerable and slow transformation. Although Greenwood, experienced a regeneration between the 1920’s and 1950’s after the community was rebuilt following the Tulsa Race Massacre, that economic boom did not last.

When legal segregation began to be dismantled in the 1950’s, blacks in Greenwood had more freedom to choose how and where they spent their money and many of them spent it outside of the community. Thus began Greenwood’s economic decline. This was exacerbated by several other factors, including redlining - practices that deny residents of certain areas services based on their race or ethnicity, as well as urban renewal - a set of federally financed policies aimed at rehabilitating cities of a city plagued by economic decline, which sometimes cause harm to residents in the targeted areas. Examples include the denial of mortgage loans, insurance and other financial services. This often occurs in minority communities. These factors along with others, have left many parts of present-day Greenwood in a state of economic despair. The city is still very much segregated.  The lack of opportunities for upward mobility many black Tulsans currently face has resulted in many African Americans in Tulsa experiencing a far lower quality of life and fewer opportunities, including the opportunity to own a home. Additionally, many Tulsans of various backgrounds believe that race relations continue to be strained.

As a result a number of Tulsans with expertise in various fields are working to improve these areas of their community.


Guests in this episode include Greenwood Cultural Center Program Coordinator & Tour Guide, Mechelle Brown, as well as preacher and home builder, Greg Taylor.


They had children and grandchildren that did not know about their history. And the survivors spoke about being a proud people, being savvy business owners, being well educated, having a sense of community spirit and community pride and a love for one another. And those ideals, that legacy was not passed on to their children and grandchildren." ~ Mechelle Brown

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Greenwood Cultural Center Program Coordinator & Tour Guide, Mechelle Brown

Preacher/Home Builder


Resources: 1. https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=TU013 2. https://www.tulsahistory.org/exhibit/1921-tulsa-race-massacre/ 3. https://www.tulsa2021.org/


Musical Attributions

1. Glueworm Evening Blues (ID 994) by Lobo Loco License, disclaimer and copyrite information. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode Linked to music: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Welcome/Glueworm_Blues_ID_994 2. Title: Driving to the Delta (ID 923) by Lobo Loco License, disclaimer and copywite information: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Welcome/Driving_to_the_Delta_ID_923_1563 Link to music: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Welcome/Driving_to_the_Delta_ID_923_1563 3. Spirit Inside (ID 819) by Lobo Loco License, disclaimer and copyright information: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/0) Link to music: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/Tree_of_Meditation/Spirit_Inside_ID_819 4. African Moon by John Bartmann Link to license, disclaimer and copyright information: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ Link to Music: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/John_Bartmann/Public_Domain_Soundtrack_Music_Album_One/african-moon


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