The Week (US)

What was ‘Black Wall Street’?


In the early 1900s, Tulsa, Okla., was a racially segregated city of about 100,000 people, with about 9,000 Black residents confined to the Greenwood neighborho­od. Forbidden from patronizin­g or opening businesses on the white side of town, Black Tulsans establishe­d Greenwood as a bustling middle-class neighborho­od, with more than 200 businesses spread across 35 blocks, including 15 doctors, two newspapers, luxury shops, restaurant­s, hotels, theaters, salons, and a library. “Black Wall Street,” as some called it, also had its own school system, post office, savings and loan bank, and hospital. Many white Tulsans resented the bustling, self-contained prosperity of what they derisively called “Little Africa” and “N-----town,” and racial tensions simmered. Greenwood “disproved the whole idea that racial superiorit­y was a fact of life,” said Jim Goodwin, current publisher of The Oklahoma Eagle, a Black newspaper. On May 30, 1921, a spark ignited racial resentment into terrible violence.

 ??  ?? The aftermath: Black lives and wealth destroyed
The aftermath: Black lives and wealth destroyed

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