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A century ago, a prospe rous Black neighborhood in Tulsa, Okla. The Tulsa Race Massacre of killed hundreds of residents, burned more than 1, homes and erased years of Black success. Imagine a community of great possibilities and prosperity built by Black people for Black people. Places to work. Places to live. Places to learn and shop and play.

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Places to worship. In Maythe Tulsa, Okla. Built in the early part of the century in a northern pocket of the city, it was a thriving community of commerce and family life to its roughly 10, residents. But what took years to build was erased in less than 24 hours by racial violence — sending the dead into mass graves and forever altering family trees. Hundreds of Greenwood residents were brutally killed, their homes and businesses wiped out. They were casualties of a furious and heavily armed white mob of looters and arsonists.

One factor that drove the violence: resentment toward the Black prosperity found in block after block of Greenwood. The destruction of property is only one piece of the financial devastation that the massacre wrought. Much bigger is a sobering kind of inheritance: the incalculable and enduring loss of what could have been, and the generational wealth that might have shaped and secured the fortunes of Black children and grandchildren.

The Greenwood Avenue shoe shop of her grandfather and his brother was destroyed. For decades, what happened in Greenwood was willfully buried in history. Piecing together archival maps and photographs, with guidance from historians, The New York Times constructed a 3-D model of the Greenwood neighborhood as it was before the destruction. The Times also analyzed census data, city directories, newspaper articles, and survivor tapes and testimonies from that time to show the types of people who made up the neighborhood and contributed to its vibrancy.

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Perhaps no other collection of businesses tells the story of Greenwood and Black entrepreneurship better than the block of Greenwood Avenue, rising near the southern tip of the neighborhood. This marquee block was the pulse of the Black business community. More than 70 businesses operated in mostly one- two- and three-story red brick buildings clustered along the block.

All but a couple were owned by Black entrepreneurs. In this stretch alone, there were four hotels, two newspapers, eight doctors, seven barbers, nine restaurants and a half-dozen professional offices of real estate agents, dentists and lawyers.

A cabaret and a cigar shop were on the block, too. You could shop for groceries, play pool, take in a theater show, eat dinner or get your hair styled — without ever leaving the block. Loula and John Williams came to embody the entrepreneurial spirit of Greenwood.

The couple also owned the seat Williams Dreamland Theatreat Greenwood Avenue, the first movie house for Black people in the city. It offered both silent films and live shows, and was also a community gathering spot. Bridgewater was a physician with a practice in the Woods Building, at Greenwood Avenue.

He owned 17 rental houses and was also a community leader.

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Several women set up shop as entrepreneurs in the same building. Mary E. Jones Parrishleft, was a teacher and journalist who operated a typing school. Mabel B. Little ran the Little Rose Beauty Salon. It offered six-course meals that were written about in The Tulsa Star.

Buck Colber t Franklina lawyer, had an office inside a building owned by O. After the massacre, Mr. Franklin provided legal services from a tent. The shop carried Black Swan recordsand the family also owned a dance pavilion and skating rink in the community. Smithermana journalist and civil rights activist, founded The Tulsa Star, which was headquartered at Greenwood Avenue. The paper reported on stories of racial violence and advocated for the rights of African-Americans. Stradfordshown with his wife, opened the posh room Stradford Hotel at Greenwood Avenue in Stradford and Mr. Gurley — who purchased large tracts of land in the early s — were among the founders of Greenwood.

Greenwood was one of the few places in the country offering Black citizens — less than six decades out of enslavement — a three-dimensional life. ByGreenwood had grown into a block neighborhood with a bustling retail scene, as well as two schools, two newspapers and a hospital.

Booker T. Washington Schoolwhich opened in with 14 students, had moved into its three-story brick building in It would serve as a hospital and relief center after the massacre. Mount Zion Baptist Church was among some half-dozen churches that burned. There was also a small juke t called Zulu Lounge owned by Isaac Evitt, who worked by day on a farm, but after dark, flung open the doors of Zulu.

In the evenings, residents had their choice of entertainment. Many African-Americans migrated to Tulsa after the Civil War, carrying dreams of new chapters and the kind of freedom found in owning businesses. In Greenwood, residents held more than different types of jobs. While a vast majority of the neighborhood rented, many residents owned their homes. Segregation kept African-Americans from patronizing white-owned shops, and Greenwood thrived from community support of Black-owned businesses.

The assaults on Greenwood raged over two days. The morning of June 2, revealed emptiness and ruin in every direction. Plumes of smoke hovered over the neighborhood. Ash coated the ground. Brick buildings had been reduced to bombed-out husks. And soon, the bodies of those killed would be stacked and discarded in mass graves and a river. It all began on May 30 with two teenagers in an elevator in the Drexel building in downtown Tulsa and morphed into a sexual assault accusation. s vary about what happened between Dick Rowland, 19, a young Black shoe shiner, and Sarah17, a white elevator operator.

One common theory suggests Mr. Rowland tripped and grabbed onto the arm of Ms. while trying to catch his fall. She screamed, and he ran away, according to the commission report. The next day, Mr. Rowland was arrested and jailed in the Tulsa County Courthouse. Rowland but were turned away by the sheriff. As the Black men were leaving the second time, a white man attempted to disarm a Black veteran, and a gun went off in the scuffle.

Some white rioters were even deputized and given weapons by civil officials. Near dawn, the white mob descended on Greenwood. Black Tulsans fought back, valiantly defending their families and property. But they were woefully outed. The mob indiscriminately shot Black people in the streets. Members of the mob ransacked homes and stole money and jewelry. Terror came from the sky, too. White pilots flew airplanes that dropped dynamite over the neighborhood, the report stated, making the Tulsa aerial attack what historians call among the first of an American city.

The s presented a staggering portrait of loss: 35 blocks burned to the ground; as many as dead; hundreds injured; 8, to 10, left homeless; more than 1, homes burned or looted; and eventually, 6, detained in internment camps. The neighborhood economy was destroyed.

Two dozen grocery stores. Thirty-one restaurants. Four drug stores. Greenwood, where Black success embodied the American dream, was no more, suddenly, dreadfully wiped out. Greenwood would be rebuilt, and for a few decades, it would again thrive before falling to urban renewal and other forces. But that spring of unmoored and unrooted the neighborhood with lasting effects. Not long after the attack, shell-shocked survivors — who were blamed for the violence — returned home to ruin. Amid the charred remnants, they were forced to make an excruciating decision that would change family histories forever: leave and start over again somewhere else, or rebuild.

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They also faced another kind of white resistance: a fire ordinance intended to prevent Black property owners from rebuilding on their own and insurance companies that refused to pay damage claims. It is the story of courage. Those who stayed began stitching their lives back together almost immediately. They ed forces and began rebuilding homes and businesses. Within a day, C. Netherland, a massacre survivor and minister whose barber shop at Greenwood Avenue was destroyed, purchased a folding chair, a strop and razor, and set up shop on a sidewalk.

The massacre also claimed the Mount Zion Baptist Church, whose first service in its new building had been held less than two months earlier. Johnson, education chair for the centennial commission. It would have been easier to declare bankruptcy. Instead, church members rebuilt and dug in. It took an additional 21 years before the initial debt was repaid.

The final insult of the massacre came in the silence. For decades, Tulsa deliberately ignored and covered up what had happened in Greenwood.

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Many descendants said they learned about the mob and the killings only as adults — and even then, some of the recounting was told in whispers. Some surviving business owners who built the block of Greenwood Avenue had remarkable second chapters. Others, who struggled in the aftermath, had heartbreaking stories. The Williams family, among the most successful before the massacre, stayed and rebuilt. Parrish, the journalist who ran a typing school, stayed to chronicle the massacre. The two wealthy men who helped found Greenwood were hit hard financially.

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Stradford, who was indicted, escaped to Kansas and then Chicago. He never recovered his fortune. James Nails, who had opened a shoe shop with his brother Henry, rebuilt but never really recovered. He eventually left Tulsa. Nails-Alford said.

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Ina white mob attacked the Greenwood district of Tulsa, killing hundreds of Black people and destroying the neighborhood. Justice has never been served. Can it still be today? There is a pending lawsuit and ongoing discussions about how and whether to compensate the families of the Tulsa Massacre victims. No compensation has ever been paid under court order or by legislation. To this day, not one person has been prosecuted or punished for the devastation and ruin of the original Greenwood.

The buildings, maps and data presented in this article are based on historical records. In as many cases as possible, multiple sources were used to confirm details like the location of businesses and residences.

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