Tulsa Peace Fellowship

There never was a good war or a bad peace. ~Ben Franklin

In 1921, the Tulsa, Oklahoma neighborhood of Greenwood was one of the most affluent all-black communities in America. Known as the ""Black Wall Street,"" it ...

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Comment by Tony Nuspl on June 2, 2014 at 9:35am

In 1921, Greenwood (a community in Tulsa, Oklahoma) was one of the most prosperous African-American communities in the United States. Serving over 8,000 residents, Greenwood's commercial district was known nationally as the Negro Wall Street. The community boasted two newspapers, over a dozen churches, and hundreds of African-American-owned businesses.

On the evening of May 31, 1921, the African-American Greenwood community of Tulsa, Oklahoma was ravaged by a White mob. By the conclusion of the riot at midday, June 1, virtually every building in a 42-square-block area of the community—homes, schools, churches, and businesses—was burned to the ground and thousands were left homeless. Over 1,200 homes were destroyed. Every church, school, and business in Greenwood was set on fire. Approximately 8,000 African-Americans were left homeless and penniless.

Unable to rebuild, thousands of residents spent the winter of 1921–1922 in tents.

Credible evidence supports the belief that up to 300 African-Americans were killed during the riot. As many victims were buried in unmarked graves, an exact accounting is impossible.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr5593/text

also see:

http://greenwoodculturalcenter.com/

http://www.jhfcenter.org/the-centers-work/resources/


Comment by Tony Nuspl on May 30, 2013 at 2:59pm

"Exalted Cyclops"? It's hard to believe thinking people went in for this, at one point in time.

An article from ThisLandPress:

Beno Hall: Tulsa’s Den of Terror
• By

http://thislandpress.com/09/03/2011/beno-hall-tulsas-den-of-terror/

Comment by Tony Nuspl on September 16, 2011 at 12:52pm

If you missed Tuesday evening's event, at the Greenwood Cultural Center, here's the podcast:

 

Revisiting Brady: A Public Discussion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqtAW9a6MDI

Featuring speakers: Michael Mason, Ray Pearcey (moderator), Judy Eason McIntyre, Bill O'Connor, Adam Nemec, Lee Roy Chapman, James Goodwin, Seneca Scott, and Marlin Lavanhar.

Comment by Tony Nuspl on September 14, 2011 at 11:05am

Last night, at the public forum, which was very well attended, Marlin Lavanhar of All Souls Church (Unitarian), Tulsa, gave the closing remarks.  He called for Restorative Justice, some meaningful, monetary and emotional investment in north Tulsa, to help heal the scar that was the 1921 massacre, the unprovoked violence by whites against blacks.  He even proposed a special (voluntary?) tax on any business using the Brady name, or within the "Brady Arts District" (as it has been re-baptised of late).  For a city, state and backwards political culture that far too often focuses only retributive justice (punishment), the prospect of creating a more just Tulsa, restoring the ROC (rest of the city) through Restorative justice, would be a very good exercise.  Monetary compensation for the victims of the violence, or for their descendants, may have been thwarted by a biased legal system, a system that is unable to own up to the failures of "white justice" as it was practiced 90 years ago, or the shame of so-called "forces of order" in the State of Oklahoma in fact contributing to the mayhem and lawlessness of that time; the adversarial legal system and the path of civil suits have both proven fruitless in the case of the mass murder committed here, despite decades of efforts to make the system work.  Nonetheless, outside the courts, the political culture here can move forward, as evidenced at the forum yesterday evening, and can create a more ethical Tulsa, one that renounces violence, one that is rightfully ashamed of the actions of some of its so-called "city fathers", and one that works towards the "grand alliance" of which MLK spoke.  Anyone wanting an economically-stronger Tulsa has to be able to see that the development of north Tulsa is essential, just as the PlaniTulsa urban plan calls for, to make Tulsa a cohesive and livable city in the 21st Century.  Moving towards a color blind political culture, and one that simultaneously affirms only non-violent solutions to racial tensions (as opposed to the mob justice the city has known in the distant past), would be a logical step towards the same goal.  Tulsa has to lead in this respect, and drag the other outlying cities and towns in the greater metropolitan area along with it, if need be.  Let there be no more color bar in a great city.  What do we do in Tulsa? We learn from our mistakes, the racial conflicts of the past having damaged the wealth, standing, and conscience of the city. We solve problems in a historically-sensitive manner, acknowledging the multi-racial nature of the city, working towards integration and pluralism. No doubt you remember from your college days that legal justice is not the same as complete justice.  The obligation here is on the side of the offending party, and the process of Restorative justice, which aims to heal the wound festering on both sides, is of necessity a lengthy process.  Last night was a welcome encounter; let's hope it's also the first step towards amending the harm done and towards the reintegration of the city. The crime committed in 1921 devalued the Tulsa community; it's time for the amends that will add value to the city as a whole.

 

Last night's forum was also, hopefully, the first of many in the vein of "truth and reconciliation", to restore some semblance of dignity to north Tulsa.  It's going to take a lot more than just changing a street name, or two. There will also be some further disturbing revelations, no doubt, as Tulsa explores its past; the city's place in this history will also lead to troubling revelations in a larger context: about the role of the governor, the national guard, and the "state" that failed to protect its citizens, in 1921.

Also see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorative_justice

for more information on the process of reconciliation, community accountability, reparative justice, and restorative justice
Comment by Tony Nuspl on September 13, 2011 at 12:16pm
Upcoming event, TONIGHT in Tulsa:

Tuesday, September 13th from 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Public Event about The Tulsa Race Riots
including the role played by Tate Brady who brought the Klan to Oklahoma.
“REVISITING BRADY: The Man, The City, The Riot: A Public Discussion”
Location: Greenwood Cultural Center, Tulsa, OK
Organized by THIS LAND PRESS, Tulsa, OK.
See this excellent article, published recently:
http://thislandpress.com/09/01/2011/tate-brady-battle-greenwood/

speakers/panelists:
Michael Mason, editor at This Land newspaper
Paul Vickery, local historian
Judy Eason McIntyre, Oklahoma State Senator and Chair of the Tulsa County Democratic Party (TCDP)
Seneca Scott, Oklahoma State Representative
Adam Nemec, local businessman in the "Brady" Arts District
James Goodwin, editor of The Oklahoma Eagle newspaper
Bill O'Conner, Oklahoma Center for Community & Justice (OCCJ)
Lee Roy Chapman, journalist (author of the exposé "The Nightmare of Dreamland" 1 Sept 2011, in This Land, available to read online)
Ray Pearson, columnist for The Urban Tulsa Weekly (and moderator for the evening)

Comment by Tony Nuspl on September 12, 2011 at 4:29pm

MLK wrote:

"The unemployed, poverty-stricken white man must be made to realize that he is in the very same boat with the Negro. Together, they could exert massive pressure on the government to get jobs for all. Together they could form a grand alliance. Together, they could merge all people for the good of all."

 

quote found here:

Today's Visionary: 10 Things Martin Luther King, Jr. Taught Us About Today’s Struggles 

http://www.nationofchange.org/todays-visionary-10-things-martin-lut...

Visionary: 10 Things Martin Luther King, Jr. Taught Us About Today’s Struggles

Comment by Tony Nuspl on September 5, 2011 at 3:39pm

This documentary "The Night Tulsa Burned" uncomfortably illustrates the cycle of violence:  From puerile throwing of coal at each other, in what seemed like harmless games, in the manner of "Lord of the Flies," the conflict polarized between the two races in Tulsa and escalated to the point of both black businessmen and white uneducated workers carrying shotguns around town in posses, with the local paper multiplying hate and inciting violence in a propaganda war against blacks, followed by the scapegoating of black individuals for the collective madness of the white population, followed by armed invasions of entire black neighborhoods, and the terrorizing of unsuspecting civilians by barbarians supposedly representing white folk, the deliberate torching of homes owned by blacks, and the indiscriminate aerial bombing by Tulsans of their own city, all symptoms of self-hatred in these early, heady years of the city's bygone history.  Tulsans refused to obey their municipal authorities, proved themselves incapable of resolving their differences or acting like mature civilized adults, and therefore failed to staunch the violence in their midst, until it had taken 300 lives in less than 24 hours: an episode that stands out today as one of the worst episodes of racial violence in the country.  The local forces of order had to be supplanted by the national guard, under the authority of the state governor.  Unfortunately, these state forces continued to scapegoat local blacks for the violence that they had NOT instigated, rounding them up in what can only be described as an attempt at ethnic cleansing, to the further ignominy and shame of the State of Oklahoma.  When the justice system failed to accuse or arraign the white perpetrators, let alone hold them accountable for their murder spree, the breakdown in the law was complete. Concomitantly, the 1921 massacre of blacks by whites created disrespect  for "white justice," acted to perpetuate the cycle of violence, by poisoning the political culture in Tulsa with fearful race relations, for decades afterwards, with prospect of another outbreak of violence, reprisals, or yet more murders. In yet further adolescent incapacity to deal with its own history or destiny as a city, Tulsans engaged in a conspiracy of silence about the massacre of blacks by whites --a disgusting episode of civic marauding and unchecked violence-- for decades and decades after the 1921 mass murder, further undermining the respect for law and order in the city, further entrenching the idea that violence solves, rather than creates, problems.
  The per capita murder rate soared, in a city that ostensibly accepted rule by violent mob, rather than rule by law.  Gun ownership continues to be very high, among Tulsans, with the hysteria about race relations lurking just beneath the surface, and with people fearful to this day of crossing make-believe neighborhood lines drawn in the collective imagination.  Only very recently has a "truth and reconciliation" movement started to flourish in Tulsa, including a belated call for financial reparations to be paid to the victims and/or their descendants. One hopes the political culture can mature, here in Tulsa, but there are still those defending the marauders, 90 years later, there are still those clinging to their guns while their minds run wild, and still those, including elected officials, who refuse to grant compensation to the citizens of Tulsa, of whatever race they may be, whom the city and state failed to protect. Unfortunately, one runs across the occasional unenlightened individual here, individuals who are unable to see beyond matters of race, even in this day and age, and who, through their racial blinkers, are incapable of discussing what really matters in the midst of the Great Recession, including overwhelming similarities in the present plight between whites and blacks in Tulsa both equally suffering in bleak economic times, and the growing clas

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