The Fight For Civil Rights In The Tulsa Race Riot Of 1921

2357 words - 9 pages

In this paper, I will detail how the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 was not only a civil rights movement on the part of the black people in Tulsa, but also a detailed look into the way that civil rights was handled in a deeply racially divided city as Tulsa, Oklahoma. My research will feature many of the different survivors who were able to speak out about the injustice of the Tulsa Race Riot before they died; many of these people were children at the time. I also have a series of secondary sources from books from the library and some online sources. The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 begins before many of the major civil rights movements happen in the United States, but I believe that understanding the steps that black people had to take in order to declare their rights and how riots were used to stop black empowerment are essential to American history.
In this paper, I will also provide some discussion of the difference between the different civil right’s leaders and their movement in relation to the Tulsa Race Riot and why some of their advances were met with success when the one in Tulsa was met with complete failure. I will detail some of the prominent figures and the unknown figures that were crucial during the race riot and elaborate on their contributions. My thesis for this paper is as follows: After World War I the hope for equality both in the law and through the law was prominent in the minds of African Americans and many of them believed that taking a stand and declaring their rights was the way to fight against the inequalities against blacks; this was especially true for the African Americans whose actions spurred the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.
Little Africa and the Black Wall Street are two names often given in the description on Greenwood district Tulsa, Oklahoma. Only blacks lived in Greenwood because segregation was essential to life in Tulsa Oklahoma; “whether by law or custom, Tulsa was and would be one of America’s most segregated cities for the rest of the century” (Hirsch 42). Greenwood district was home to 8,000 people and was self-sufficient African-American community, with a school, a hospital, hotels, grocery stores, drug stores, and clothing stores, two newspapers, and two movie theaters (Brophy). Many African-Americans that lived in Greenwood had achieved their wealth from working hard and establishing their own reputable businesses, because African-Americans were not allowed to work in the same businesses as whites. The separation of blacks and whites was apparent in different ways, but there were also times where blacks and whites connected:
While blacks were excluded from working in the oil fields, the ‘flowing gold’ indirectly benefited Greenwood through the high wages paid to black domestic workers. It also came from whites who gambled, drank, and pursued other illicit pleasures in North Tulsa [Greenwood area]. Its residents believed Greenwood represented a new freedom from the oppressive economy of the Old South, a new...

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