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.