Warning: Some viewers may find photos in this video to be disturbing.
OKLAHOMA – The Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was once called the “Black Wall Street,” a 35-block radius in the segregated community thriving with hundreds of businesses.
But, on June 1, 1921, the entire area was burned down as a result of a race riot started by accusations a black man assaulted a white woman.
Hundreds of people died and 800 were injured.
“For decades, Oklahoma schools did not talk about it. In fact, newspapers didn’t even print any information about the Tulsa Race Riot. It was completely ignored. It was one of those horrible events that everyone wanted to just sweep up the rug and ignore,” U.S. Senator James Lankford said.
Now, nearly 100 years later, U.S. Senator James Lankford and other leaders of the Tulsa Race Riot Centennial Commission are making sure one of the worst race riots in American history is taught in Oklahoma schools through a new interactive curriculum.
“It’s been part of the requirement for Oklahoma education to talk about the Tulsa Race Riot, but there’s been no curriculum to go with it,” Lankford said.
Senator Kevin Matthews founded the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Centennial Celebration.
“Teach people about the history and honor those who lost their lives, as well as those who made history back in that day and bring people so we don’t repeat that history,” Senator Kevin Matthews in District 11.
The learning tools were created by historical societies, teachers and authors. It’s geared toward students in third, sixth, and the high school level.
They include many videos, including ones from survivors.
“It is a sensitive topic and we wanted to get as much knowledge as we could to get another resource out there for teachers who just weren’t quite sure on how to teach the subject,” Kim Hagan, Asst. Director of Education at the Oklahoma Historical Society, said.
“That’s our worst moment in race in Oklahoma history is that moment. Where have we grown from that time?” Lankford said.
Click here for more information.