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BLACK WALLSTREET

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  • Djehuti Sundaka
    BLACK WALLSTREET Ron Wallace: co-author of Black Wallstreet: A Lost Dream Chronicles a little-known chapter of African-American History in Oklahoma as told to
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 8, 2002
      BLACK WALLSTREET

      Ron Wallace: co-author of Black Wallstreet: A Lost Dream Chronicles a
      little-known chapter of African-American History in Oklahoma as told to
      Ronald E. Childs. If anyone truly believes that the last April attack on
      the federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was the most tragic
      bombing ever to take place on United States soil, as the media has been
      widely reporting, they're wrong-plain and simple. That's because an even
      deadlier bomb occurred in that same state nearly 75 years ago.

      Many people in high places would like to forget that it ever happened.
      Searching under the heading of "riots," "Oklahoma" and "Tulsa" in
      current editions of the World Book Encyclopedia, there is conspicuously
      no mention whatsoever of the Tulsa race riot of 1921, and this omission
      is by no means a surprise, or a rare case. The fact is, one would also
      be hard-pressed to find documentation of the incident, let alone an
      accurate accounting of it, in any other "scholarly" reference or
      American history book.

      That's precisely the point that noted author, publisher and orator Ron
      Wallace, a Tulsa native, sought to make nearly five years ago when he
      began researching this riot, one of the worst incidents of violence ever
      visited upon people of African descent. Ultimately joined on the project
      by colleague Jay Jay Wilson of Los Angeles, the duo found and compiled
      indisputable evidence of what they now describe as "A Black Holocaust in
      America."

      The date was June 1, 1921, when "Black Wallstreet," the name fittingly
      given to one of the most affluent all-black communities in America, was
      bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of envious whites.
      In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving 36-black
      business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering-A model community
      destroyed, and a major Africa-American economic movement resoundingly
      defused.

      The night's carnage left some 3,000 African Americans dead, and over 600
      successful businesses lost. Among these were 21 churches, 21
      restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital,
      a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half-dozen
      private airplanes and even a bus system. As could be expected, the
      impetus behind it all was the infamous Ku Klux Klan, working in consort
      with ranking city officials, and many other sympathizers. In their
      self-published book, Black Wallstreet: A lost Dream, and its companion
      video documentary, Black Wallstreet: A Black Holocaust in America!, the
      authors have chronicled for the very first time in the words of area
      historians and elderly survivors what really happened there on that
      fateful summer day in 1921 and why it happened. Wallace similarly
      explained to Black Elegance why this bloody event from the turn of the
      century seems to have had a recurring effect that is being felt in
      predominately Black neighborhoods even to this day. The best description
      of Black Wallstreet, or Little Africa as it was also known, would be to
      liken it to a mini-Beverly Hills. It was the golden door of the Black
      community during the early 1900s, and it proved that African Americans
      had successful infrastructure. That's what Black Wallstreet was about.

      The dollar circulated 36 to 1000 times, sometimes taking a year for
      currency to leave the community. Now in 1995, a dollar leaves the Black
      community in 15 minutes. As far as resources, there were Ph.D's residing
      in Little Africa, Black attorneys and doctors. One doctor was Dr. Berry
      who also owned the bus system. His average income was $500 a day, a
      hefty pocket of change in 1910. During that era, physicians owned
      medical schools. There were also pawn shops everywhere, brothels,
      jewelry stores, 21 churches, 21 restaurants and two movie theaters. It
      was a time when the entire state of Oklahoma had only two airports, yet
      six blacks owned their own planes. It was a very fascinating community.
      The area encompassed over 600 businesses and 36 square blocks with a
      population of 15,000 African Americans. And when the lower-economic
      Europeans looked over and saw what the Black community created, many of
      them were jealous. When the average student went to school on Black
      Wallstreet, he wore a suit and tie because of the morals and respect
      they were taught at a young age.

      The mainstay of the community was to educate every child. Nepotism was
      the one word they believed in. And that's what we need to get back to in
      1995. The main thoroughfare was Greenwood Avenue, and it was intersected
      by Archer and Pine Streets. From the first letters in each of those
      names, you get G.A.P., and that's where the renowned R&B music group The
      GAP Band got its name. They're from Tulsa. Black Wallstreet was a prime
      example of the typical Black community in America that did business, but
      it was in an unusual location. You see, at the time, Oklahoma was set
      aside to be a Black and Indian state. There were over 28 Black townships
      there. One third of the people who traveled in the terrifying "Trail of
      Tears" along side the Indians between 1830 to 1842 were Black people.
      The citizens of this proposed Indian and Black state chose a Black
      governor, a treasurer from Kansas named McDade. But the Ku Klux Klan
      said that if he assumed office that they would kill him within 48 hours.
      A lot of Blacks owned farmland, and many of them had gone into the oil
      business. The community was so tight and wealthy because they traded
      dollars hand-to-hand, and because they were dependent upon one another
      as a result of the Jim Crow laws.

      It was not unusual that if a resident's home accidentally burned down,
      it could be rebuilt within a few weeks by neighbors. This was the type
      of scenario that was going on day-to-day on Black Wallstreet. When
      Blacks intermarried into the Indian culture, some of them received their
      promised '40 acres and a Mule,' and with that came whatever oil was
      later found on the properties.

      Just to show you how wealthy a lot of Black people were, there was a
      banker in a neighboring town who had a wife named California Taylor. Her
      father owned the largest cotton gin west of the Mississippi [River].
      When California shopped, she would take a cruise to Paris every three
      months to have her clothes made. There was also a man named Mason in
      nearby Wagner County who had the largest potato farm west of the
      Mississippi. When he harvested, he would fill 100 boxcars a day. Another
      brother not far away had the same thing with a spinach farm. The typical
      family then was five children or more, though the typical farm family
      would have 10 kids or more who made up the nucleus of the labor.

      On Black Wallstreet, a lot of global business was conducted. The
      community flourished from the early 1900s until June 1, 1921. That's
      when the largest massacre of non-military Americans in the history of
      this country took place, and it was lead by the Ku Klux Klan. Imagine
      walking out of your front door and seeing 1,500 homes being burned. It
      must have been amazing.

      Survivors we interviewed think that the whole thing was planned because
      during the time that all of this was going on, white families with their
      children stood around on the borders of the community and watched the
      massacre, the looting and everything---much in the same manner they
      would watch a lynching.

      In my lectures I ask people if they understand where the word "picnic"
      comes from. It was typical to have a picnic on a Friday evening in
      Oklahoma. The word was short for "pick a nigger" to lynch. They would
      lynch a Black male and cut off body parts as souvenirs. This went on
      every weekend in this country. That's where the term really came from.
      The riots weren't caused by anything Black or white. It was caused by
      jealousy. A lot of white folks had come back from World War I and they
      were poor. When they looked over into the Black communities and realized
      that Black men who fought in the war had come home heroes that helped
      trigger the destruction. It cost the Black community everything, and not
      a single dime of restitution---no insurance claims-has been awarded to
      the victims to this day.

      Nonetheless, they rebuilt. We estimate that 1,500 to 3,000 people were
      killed, and we know that a lot of them were buried in mass graves all
      around the city. Some were thrown in the river. As a matter of fact, at
      21st Street and Yale Avenue, where there now stands a Sears parking lot,
      that corner used to be a coal mine. They threw a lot of the bodies into
      the shafts. Black Americans don't know about this story because we don't
      apply the word holocaust to our struggle. Jewish people use the word
      holocaust all the time. White people use the word holocaust. It's
      politically correct to use it. But when we Black folks use the word,
      people think we're being cry babies or that we're trying to bring up old
      issues. No one comes to our support. In 1910, our forefathers and
      mothers owned 13 million acres of land at the height of racism in this
      country, so the Black Wallstreet book and videotape prove to the
      naysayers and revisionists that we had our act together. Our mandate now
      is to begin to teach our children about our own, ongoing Black
      holocaust. They have to know when they look at our communities today
      that we don't come from this.


      http://www.webtek.com/blackwallstreet/Order.htm
      To order a copy of Black Wallstreet, contact:
      Duralon Entertainment, Inc.,
      P.O. Box 2702, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74149
      or call 1-800-682-7975
      Black Wallstreet: A lost Dream $21.95
      ISBN 1-882465-00-8
      Black Wallstreet: A Black Holocaust in America! video
      $29.95
      MAURICE "Crazy Dog" FRANCIS
      Epsilon Chapter SP '87
      (Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc)
      718-832-8866 home
      917-822-9642 cell
    • Djehuti Sundaka
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/blackindians/message/14856 Greetings all, I apologize but I have to put somewhat of a stop to this posting and subsequent
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 8, 2002
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/blackindians/message/14856

        Greetings all,

        I apologize but I have to put somewhat of a stop to this posting and
        subsequent forwarding.

        I appreciate Ron Wallace's initial desires to get this story out but
        there are alot of facts and myths perpetuated in this consistently
        forwarded post throughout the years.

        I'm Kimberly Ellis, a doctoral student who's doing my dissertation on
        the Tulsa Oklahoma Race Riot, War and Massacre (I graduate in May) and I
        am also the national co-coordinator of the "All Eyes on Tulsa
        Reparations Campaign".

        Ron Wallace's book is HISTORICAL FICTION. Yet many people pass it off as
        fact. This message is also many years old and Wallace has written
        nothing else on the riots. Can you guess why?

        The FACTS came out.

        This is not to put the brother down but when one is involved in a
        MOVEMENT, it is exceptionally important for everyone to have the facts
        of the matter and not get caught up in mythmaking and bourgeois
        romanticism.

        If you want to read up on the FACTS for free, please visit the following
        webpage. And, if you feel so inclined, please endorse the call for
        support of the approximately 130 survivors of this tragedy who are
        seeking reparations.

        http://www.tulsareparations.org

        The people who lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921 called their community
        "Greenwood," more than likely after Greenwood, Mississippi not "Black
        Wallstreet." It was once described as the "Negro's Wallstreet" by a
        young Black woman journalist who had been visiting from Rochester, New
        York.

        If you would like to see a FACTUAL, multimedia lecture/ presentation on
        this issue, feel free to contact me at: kim.ellis.1@p... or call
        765-658-6098

        Ultimately, I simply would like for people to have the facts and support
        this issue on the basis of principle and righteousness, not a
        "bling-bling" mentality.

        We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest,

        Kimberly C. Ellis
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