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Which Came 1st? The 1921 Race Massacre or Scott Ellsworth?

My mother's family came to Indian Territory in the 1830s. At Roosevelt Junior HS our Oklahoma History teacher, Harriet Lynde, was stellar.  Years later, walking into the Creek Council House, I was immediately drawn to a quote summing up the importance of knowing one's history...pretty thrilled when I got to the name of the woman who had written it... Harriet Lynde.

 

I attended Tulsa's first and oldest high school and spent 7 years between the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, but, I am pretty certain that I heard the name "Scott Ellsworth," before I ever heard of the subtitle of a book he had written, The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.

Something like, someone telling me I had to read a book by Scott Ellsworth.  It's about What?

The book was and is Death In A Promised Land

I was born and grew up in North Tulsa.  North Tulsa was the place my father, a sharecropper's son from rural Arkansas dreamed of making it to and building a life. And, he did...bringing his mother and father and several of his sisters (he was the only boy in a family of about 12 kids) with him.  I couldn't wrap my brain around it. He was a toddler in 1921.  He must have heard about Tulsa, at some point.  But, it was at least a generation after the massacre-the Tulsa bombing, after spending years in Africa and Italy during WWII, that he finally worked his plan. He talked about Tulsa and North Tulsa nonstop.

 

North Tulsa was "the greatest place on Earth," he would say.  "Switzerland," he once said, was the only other place he'd ever been, and he'd been an awful lot of places, that he thought held a candle.

 

He must have known about 1921. Why hadn't he said?

Maybe that's a question Scott Ellsworth will answer in conversation with Associate Dean Kevin Clayton, tonight from 7-8p at Tulsa Community College's McKeon Center for Creativity..

Now a professor in the Afroamerican and African Studies Department at the University of Michigan, Scott Ellsworth will discuss, in person, his new book on Tulsa...The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice.

From the Magic City Books site: 

Space is limited and advanced registration is strongly encouraged for this free event. Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-with-scott-ellworth-tickets-185092084407?aff=erelexpmlt to register.

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Click above to watch Oklahoma's G0vernor Stitt and State Superintendent of Schools Hofmeister on October 19, 2022.

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02.15

THE DAY  BLACK AMERICANS LEARNED WE LIVE IN SUNDOWN CITIES

CHAMBERLAIN AREA NEIGHBORS

NORTH TULSA neighbors were surprised last week to find out a Tiny Home village has been planned for property near their homes in the Chamberlain area, in fact, for many, facing their front yards on 46th Street North off of Peoria Avenue. 

Attending a neighborhood association meeting on Saturday to discover more about the 23-acre project aimed at housing Tulsa's homeless population, neighbors listened to Oklahoma State Representative Regina Goodwin reiterate approval of the mission of the group, City Lights, but, opposition to the location for its proposed City Lights Village.

Oklahoma State Senator Kevin Matthews questioned the lack of transparency in projects, in general, that continue to leave North Tulsans out of opportunities to develop land and create jobs in NORTH TULSA.

Tulsa Dream Center Executive Director, Tim Newton, also spoke about his hope for greater transparency.  

Oklahoma State Representative Monroe Nichols was also present.

Antioch Baptist Church Pastor Emeritus, MC Potter, received timultuous applause before he spoke briefly.

Multiple speakers expressed concern over the placement of the project in an area of the city where vital resources
...hospitals, quality nutrition, and jobs...have remained scarce to unavailable to all residents for generations. 

Joy McCondichie, a descendant of 1921 Race Massacre Survivors, presented research highlighting descrepancies in application documents related to the project.
Renderings of the proposed village on the group's website are at a bird's eye view, also making it difficult to distinguish the housing types planned.

One thread of conversation became the fact that, as one speaker alluded to, the community already carries the heavy load of a vast amount of the city's nonprofits limiting jobs and our tax base, while, as another speaker commented, ironically, our own tax dollars are used to support the nonprofits.


One of two action items from the meeting is attendance at Wednesday's Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission meeting to hear City Lights' side of the story. According to the Chamberlain Area Neighbors President, Jane Malone, the WEST TULSA-based organization declined an invitation to attend Saturday's meeting over their concern for safety.  

The second item...to speak with Catholic Charities who, media has stated, gifted the 23-acres of land to City Lights.


Listen to the video above or at the top of the page to hear most of the weekend's meeting. 

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