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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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