Uncovering Black Wall Street Essay

1845 words - 7 pages

Uncovering the History of Black Wall Street"The date was June 1, 1921, when "Black Wall Street," 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 ( Ellsworth, Death in a Promise Land)." 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 African-American economic movement resoundingly defused. 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 and accurate accounting of it, in any other "scholarly" reference or American history book. For years the forefront of Americans financial back bone and economy has been the picturesque Wall Street, mainly comprised of white corporation owners who accumulate millions of dollars every year while deciding the fate of Americans citizens' monetary gain. In school history books students learn of the progression of Wall Street, but very seldom are students taught the history of Black Wall Street. A replica of the Wall Street most American citizens are accustomed to today; it was black owned. However this "Little Africa" was destroyed to ashes by white Klansmen and city officials due to false allegations of sexual assault. There are no words for the destruction that occurred to one of the most prominent African-American towns in United States History from May 31st 1921 until June 1st 1921. It was not unitl the Tulsa Race Riot commissioned was formed in 1997, that the issue of Black Wall Street became a "hot topic"; but with the conjunction of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission and author and orator Ron Wallace, along with Jay Wilson of the Los Angeles Times, searched tirelessly to find evidence to bring such horrid history to light.The town Greenwood, Oklahoma contained a strip of finically owned black businesses and not only was the town prospering to great heights but it was growing in ecominic success and population. The area encompassed over 600 businesses and 36 square blocks with a population of 15,000 African Americans and over 28 Black townships there. Black Wall street was a prime example of the prosperous Black community that African- Americans search t o rebuild today. However it was placed in an unusual location, because at that time Oklahoma was set aside to be a Black and Indian state due to the United States government ordinance known as the "Trail of Tears". What many don't know is that one third of the people who traveled in the terrifying "Trail of Tears" alongside the Indians between 1830 to 1842 were Black people. There were over 28 Black townships there.Therefore many wondered for years what...

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