1921 Tulsa race massacre survivors start speaking up
Starting out as a land acquisition by black entrepreneur O.W. Gurley, Tulsa's Greenwood District grew in just more than a decade into one of the most thriving hubs of black-owned business in the country.
That all changed over a nightmarish 48 hours in 1921. The Tulsa race massacre reduced much of “Black Wall Street,” as the district was known, to charred ruins, while officially leaving 36 residents dead and thousands more homeless.
Many would stay on and rebuild. But it would be decades before the event was openly discussed in Tulsa or taught in its schools. When the aging survivors eventually organized to pursue justice and reparations, it helped raise long-overdue awareness of what remains one of the worst episodes of racial violence in American history.
Survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre appear at a 2003 news conference with their lawyer, Charles Ogletree.