It was only a 1-square-mile area on the north side of Tulsa, but for blacks in the 1900s, Greenwood was everything the South was not. Filled with black lawyers, doctors and business owners, flush with prosperity, here was an area where African-Americans finally had a chance to make something of themselves, escaping the harsh racism of a nation that deprived them of even the most basic dignities.
A dollar would circulate 19 times before leaving Greenwood, a by product of the segregation laws, which kept blacks from shopping anywhere else but also united the community financially. There was affluence and education in Greenwood not seen anywhere else in the country for African-Americans, and each day more people were coming to carve out a piece of the dream for themselves, adding to the prosperity of the neighbourhood.
On May 30, 1921, a young black man was accused of assaulting a white woman. That accusation was the tipping point for a town already reeling from racial tension, and would turn into the worst 24 hours in the city’s history, known as the Tulsa Race Riot.