MetroFocus: May 27, 2021

PBS DOCUMENTARY “TULSA: THE FIRE AND THE FORGOTTEN”

The Tulsa race massacre was one of the darkest days in American history. On May 31st, 1921, a white mob destroyed Tulsa, Oklahoma’s prosperous Black community of Greenwood — also known as “Black Wall Street”. Thousands were left homeless and destitute. Hundreds were injured. An estimated 100 to 300 Black residents were killed, though the precise number is unknown. This year PBS marks the centennial of that horrendous act of domestic terrorism in “Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten.” Tonight, as part of our ongoing Chasing The Dream initiative, north Tulsa community activist and a descendant of victims of the massacre, Greg Robinson joins us.

For more information on “Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten,” click here.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE JPB FOUNDATION.

> AN UNRULY WHITE MOB DESTROYED PART OF THE CITY, WHICH WAS THE BLACK COMMUNITY.

TULSA AND THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA HAVE NEVER MADE AMENDS FOR THAT.

IF WE CAN GIVE THEM SOME BETTER IDEA OF WHAT HAPPENED AND WHERE THE REMAINS OF THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS ARE, THAT'S THE GOAL.

UNTIL THEY OBTAIN JUSTICE FOR THE DEFENDANTS, THERE CAN'T BE HEALING.

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

THAT WAS A CLIP FROM THE CBS DOCUMENTARY TITLED 'TULSA, THE FIRE AND THE FORGOTTEN,' A FILM THAT LOOKS BACK AT ONE OF THE DARKEST DAYS IN AMERICAN HISTORY, THE TULSA RACE MASSACRE.

ON MAY 31st, 1921, A WHITE MOB DESTROYED THE PROSPEROUS BLACK COMMUNITY OF GREENWOOD IN TULSA, OKLAHOMA, ALSO KNOWN BY MANY AS BLACK WALL STREET.

THOUSANDS WERE LEFT HOMELESS AND DESTITUTE, HUNDREDS INJURED AND AN ESTIMATED 100 TO 300 BLACK RESIDENTS WERE KILLED, A NUMBER THAT IS STILL NOT PRECISELY KNOWN.

THIS YEAR MARKS THE SS THE CENT OF THAT.

GREG ROBINSON JOINS US.

MR. ROBINSON, A NORTH TULSA COMMUNITY ACTIVIST AND DESCENDENT OF VICTIMS OF THE MASSACRE AND IS FEATURED IN THE DOCUMENTARY.

WELCOME.

THANKS FOR JOINING US, THANK YOU, JACK, FOR HAVING ME.

I APPRECIATE IT.

THE FILM IS POWERFUL.

IT'S PROVOCATIVE AND I THINK WHAT IS SO FASCINATING TO SO MANY PEOPLE IS THAT SUCH A POWERFUL STORY IS NOT KNOWN.

I THINK WITH THIS CENTENNIAL COMING ALONG, PART OF THE MESSAGE HERE IS LET US TELL YOU WHAT IT WAS THAT HAPPENED HERE.

I THINK THE FILM DOES A GREAT JOB DOING THAT.

LET ME START WITH YOU, WITH YOUR UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE.

SET THE STAGE FOR US FOR OUR VIEW.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE GREENWOOD DISTRICT.

I MENTIONED REFERRED TO D BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, I BELIEVE, CHRISTENED IT THE BLACK WALL STREET.

HOW DID THAT AREA EVOLVE TO WHAT IT WAS PRIOR TO THE MASSACRE TAKING PLACE?

YEAH, JACK.

IT'S REALLY A CULMINATION OF FACTORS THAT WERE OCCURRING RIGHT THERE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CENTURY THERE IN THE EARLY 1900s.

YOU HAVE, OBVIOUSLY, THE END OF SLAVERY.

AND SO YOU HAVE AFRICAN-AMERICANS MOVING WEST WARD.

BUT YOU ALSO HAVE THE REALITY THAT IN OKLAHOMA IN PARTICULAR, YOU HAD FREE MEN FROM CREEK AND CHEROKEE AND SEMINOLE TRIBES BEING RELEASED AND GIVEN CITIZENSHIP AND THEREFORE GIVEN LARGE LAND ALLOTMENTS IN INDIAN TERRITORY, WHICH WOULD EVENTUALLY BECOME THE WHOLE STATE OF OKLAHOMA AND THE CITY OF TULSA.

SO AT THAT TIME IN OKLAHOMA, YOU HAVE OVER 50 BLACK TOWNSHIPS.

AND THEN YOU ADD IN THE FACT THAT THERE IS THIS TREMENDOUS OIL BOOM RIGHT THERE IN THE CITY OF TULSA.

ALL OF THOSE FACTORS COME TOGETHER TO ALLOW FOR A PROSPEROUS, ALL-BLACK AREA WITHIN THE CITY OF TULSA TO EMERGE.

THAT WAS GREENWOOD.

SO YOU NOT ONLY JUST HAD A FEW BLOCKS OF A FEW SHOPS.

YOU HAD A 35 SQUARE BLOCK AREA THAT WAS THEN STRENGTHENED BY BLACK TOWNSHIPS IN THE SURROUNDING AREAS.

IT WAS REALLY A TREMENDOUS ACCOMPLISHMENT.

TO DO IT IN THE ERA OF JIM CROW WAS JUST INCREDIBLY ASTOUNDING.

GIVE US A SENSE WITHIN THAT AREA OF THOSE 35 SOME BLOCKS THE TYPES OF BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS THAT WERE THRIVING.

IT'S BETTER TO THINK ABOUT GREENWOOD AS A TOWNSHIP.

IN A TOWNSHIP YOU'VE GOT EVERYTHING YOU NEED.

YOU DON'T NEED TO LEAVE.

CERTAINLY THAT'S WHAT CHARACTERIZED GREENWOOD.

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT JB STRATFORD WHO WAS A RENOWNED BUSINESS OWNER.

MANY SAID THE STRATFORD HOTEL, HIS NAMESAKE, WAS THE FINEST AFRICAN-AMERICAN HOTEL IN THE COUNTRY.

YOU HAD SURGEONS LIKE AC JACKSON.

MANY SAID THAT AC JACKSON, BLACK OR WHITE, WAS THE MOST RENOWNED SURGEON OF THE TIME.

YOU HAD MULTIPLE NEWSPAPERS LIKE 'THE TULSA STAR.'

YOU HAD THEATERS LIKE DREAMLAND THEATER LED BY LIULA WILLIAMS.

THE COTTON CLUB BEGAN RIGHT THERE IN GREENWOOD.

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT AN INFUSION OF ARTISTS, OF LAWYERS, OF BUSINESS OWNERS, ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN IMAGINE IN TERMS OF WHAT IS NEEDED TO LIVE A PROSPEROUS LIFE.

IT WAS THERE IN TERMS OF AN ECONOMIC CENTER IN GREENWOOD.

THAT'S WHY IT WAS TERMED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AS THE NEGRO WALL STREET.

IT SOUNDS AS IF WHEN WE DESCRIBE IT, WE TALK ABOUT THIS THRIVING PROSPEROUS BLACK COMMUNITY.

IT SEEMS LIKE WE DON'T NEED TO HAVE THE WORD BLACK IN THAT DESCRIPTION.

DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?

IT DOES.

GREENWOOD STOOD OUT ON ITS OWN REGARDLESS OF WHAT RACE YOU WERE.

WHAT THEY BUILT IN GREENWOOD, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT WITHIN A 35 SQUARE BLOCK RADIUS SOME 300 BUSINESSES.

THERE WERE MULTIPLE FAMILIES WITH THEIR OWN PRIVATE PLANE.

THERE WAS A MAN OPERATING ALMOST AN UBER ZSERVICE WITH HIS PLANE.

IT SOUNDS ALMOST RIDICULOUS WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT IT.

BECAUSE OF THE CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH AND EXPERTISE AND INNOVATIVE MINDSET IN SUCH A SMALL AREA, IT TRULY WAS A REALLY FASCINATING AREA REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU WERE BLACK OR WHITE.

TRULY I THINK THAT'S WHAT LED ULTIMATELY TO ITS ATTEMPTED DESTRUCTION.

THERE WAS JEALOUSLY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FRISCO TRACKS IN THE CITY OF TULSA.

I'M GOING TO GET IN A MOMENT TO THE FACTS THAT TRIGGERED THIS HORRENDOUS MASSACRE.

I THINK MASSACRE IS THE RIGHT WORD TO USE FOR IT.

LET ME COME BACK TO WHAT YOU JUST MENTIONED.

HOW DID THE REST OF TULSA ESSENTIALLY DEAL WITH THE PRESENCE OF THIS EXTRAORDINARILY SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY THAT WAS INDEED A BLACK COMMUNITY?

AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IN 1921, WHERE WE KNOW THERE ARE STILL LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF LYNCHINGS TAKING PLACE ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

HOW DID THE WHITE COMMUNITY DEAL WITH THE PRESENCE AND SUCCESS OF THIS BLACK COMMUNITY?

YEAH, JACK.

YOU KNOW, IN MANY WAYS TULSA IS A MICROCOSM OF THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT IN THE EARLY 1900s THAT THERE WERE MANY BLACK BOOM TOWNS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY AND THAT THEY WERE MET WITH SIMILAR FATES AS TULSA WOULD ULTIMATELY BE MET WITH.

WHERE THAT STARTED WAS CERTAINLY A SENSE OF JEALOUSLY, A LACK OF CONTROL OVER THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN THE CITY OF TULSA.

IT WAS ACTUALLY, I BELIEVE, IN 1918 THERE WAS A KU KLUX KLAN MEETING HELD IN THE CITY OF TULSA.

IF YOU COULD JUST IMAGINE HAVING A KU KLUX KLAN MEETING AND THEN HAVING TO LOOK OVER AND SEE WHAT WAS AT THAT TIME THE MOST PROSPEROUS BLACK COMMUNITY IN THE COUNTRY, THAT CERTAINLY HAS TO DO SOMETHING TO YOU INTERNALLY.

SO AGAIN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A CITY OF TULSA WHICH THE POPULATION JUST BOOMED ASTRO NOMICALLY, BLACK AND WHITE.

SO THE INFUSION OF PEOPLES COMING FROM ACROSS THE REGION, THERE WAS POVERTY THERE.

AND CERTAINLY THEN YOU LOOK AND YOU SEE THIS AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY WHICH IS SELF-SUSTAINING.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A COMMUNITY IN WHICH THE DOLLAR ROTATED AT LEAST NINE TIMES.

THERE ARE SOME THAT SAY IT ROTATED UP TO 19 AND ALMOST 20 TIMES BEFORE EVER LEAVING.

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THAT HAPPENING IN THE TIME OF JIM CROW IN A STATE OF OKLAHOMA, WHICH THE FIRST LAW ON THE BOOKS IS THE LAW OF JIM CROW.

SO WHEN YOU COMBINE THE SUCCESS OF GREENWOOD AND ITS SELF-SUFFICIENCY WITH SOME OF THE MIND SSETS OF THE TIME, CERTAINLY IT WAS A FORMULA THAT WAS ULTIMATELY NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO REMAIN.

SO YOU'VE SET THE STAGE FOR US HERE, CREATED THE CONTEXT FOR MAY 31st OF 1921.

WHAT ARE THE FACTS AS BEST WE KNOW THEM THAT TRIGGERED?

AS BEST WE KNOW -- AND I APPRECIATE THE WAY YOU'RE STATING THAT, BECAUSE CERTAINLY WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE DEATH TOLL, THERE'S A LOT THAT WE DON'T KNOW.

BUT THE WAY THE STORY IS TOLD IS THAT THERE'S A YOUNG MAN KNOWN BY THE NAME OF DICK ROLAND OR DIAMOND DICK.

WE BELIEVE THAT THEY'RE REFERRING TO A YOUNG MAN WHO GAINED A LITTLE BIT OF PROMINENCE BEING A SHOE SHINE BOY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TR TRACKS.

HE WAS DOING HIS DUE DILIGENCE, ENDED UP NEEDING TO TAKE A QUICK BREAK.

SO HE RUNS INTO THE DREXEL BUILDING THERE IN DOWNTOWN TULSA.

WHETHER THE ELEVATOR SHAFT DIDN'T GO ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE GROUND OR MAYBE HE JUST HAD A MOMENT OF LOSING HIS BALANCE.

WHATEVER OCCURRED, HE TRIPS AND HE FALLS INTO A YOUNG WOMAN WHO WAS THE ELEVATOR OPERATOR AT THAT TIME BY THE NAME OF SARAH PAGE.

SARAH PAGE, I'M SURE SHOCKED, YELPS AND THE ELEVATOR DOOR OPENS.

DICK ROLAND BOLTS OUT, BUT UNFORTUNATELY THE DAMAGE IS ALREADY DONE.

SO NOW WE HAVE IT HERE.

VERY SIMILAR I WILL POINT OUT, JACK, TO HOW MANY OF THESE RIOTS OR MASSACRES, BOMBINGS BEGIN AT THAT TIME.

THERE WAS AN ACCUSATION OF A BLACK MAN ABUSING, HARASSING A WHITE WOMAN.

WHAT OCCURRED IS THAT THE TULSA POLICE DEPARTMENT ALONG WITH THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE TAKE DICK ROLAND INTO CUSTODY AND THAT EVENING ON THE MORNING WHEN TULSANS WAKE UP, THEY SEE A HEADLINE IN THE NEWSPAPER THERE 'NEGRO TO BE LYNCHED TONIGHT.'

I GOT TO INTERRUPT ONE SECOND.

IN LOOKING AT THIS MYSELF AND DOING SOME RESEARCH AND WATCHING THE DOCUMENTARY, WHAT'S FASCINATING IS YOU SAW A HEADLINE ABOUT NEGRO MAN CHARGED WITH AN ASSAULT AND THEN YOU SEE A SUB HEADLINE THE WAY WE WOULD LOOK TODAY IN OUR NEWSPAPERS, ANOTHER PIECE OF INFORMATION THAT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW AND IT WAS THAT THERE WAS ESSENTIALLY SCHEDULING A LYNCHING.

YES, SIR.

YES, SIR.

AGAIN, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THIS IS WHY WE SAY TULSA IN THE CONTEXT OF THE COUNTRY IS JUST A MICROCOSM.

SO YOU HAVE A WHITE MOB THAT BEGINS TO GO TO THE COURTHOUSE, DEMANDING FOR DICK ROLAND TO COME DOWN.

WORD GETS BACK TO GREENWOOD AND NOW WORLD WAR I VETERANS JUST COMING BACK FROM WAR, THEY RUSH DOWN TO DEFEND IT.

WHO KNOWS WHO FIRED THE FIRST SHOT, BUT AN ALTERCATION ENSUES.

AND FROM THEN THE INEVITABLE IS SET TO OCCUR.

I THINK WHEN YOU LOOKED AT THESE STORIES, THERE ARE CERTAIN MOMENTS THAT HELP REVEAL ASPECTS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCE, THE TIME AND PLACE.

ONE OF THE THINGS I WAS STRUCK BY WAS THAT HERE -- AND AGAIN IT SEEMED TO BE IN SOME WAYS EMBLEMATIC OF THE GREENWOOD DISTRICT AND ITS SELF-SUFFICIENCY THAT YOU SAY -- AND WE DON'T SEE THESE OFTEN IN THESE TERRIBLE SCENARIOS, BUT HERE IS A GROUP OF BLACK MEN, AS YOU SAID VETERANS OF WORLD WAR I CAME BACK.

THEY HAD FOUGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY, PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE, CAME BACK.

THEY WERE EXPECTING A RECEPTION THAT SADLY THEY DID NOT GET IN OUR HISTORY.

AND YET HERE THEY ARE RUSHING TO DEFEND SOMEBODY.

AGAIN, MY GUESS IS THAT DID NOT HAPPEN VERY OFTEN IN THESE SCENARIOS.

IS THAT TO YOU ANOTHER INDICATION OF WHAT THE GREENWOOD DISTRICT WAS, THAT THEY WOULD CREATE THEIR OWN DEFENDERS, AT LEAST INITIALLY?

JACK, THAT'S WHY I'M REALLY EXCITED FOR THE WORLD TO BE ABLE TO SEE THE STORY OF GREENWOOD TOLD BY SOME OF THE DESCENDANTS, THOSE OF US WHO REALLY HAVE BEEN YEARNING TO GET OUR STORY OUT.

BECAUSE I THINK WHAT THE WORLD IS GOING TO SEE IS THAT THOSE FIGHTERS HAD SOMETHING TO DEFEND.

AND SO WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT WAS TO OCCUR OVER MAY 31st AND JUNE 1st, IT WAS NOT THE STORY OF A COMMUNITY THAT JUST LAID DOWN.

IT WAS THE STORY OF A COMMUNITY THAT FOUGHT FOR ALL THAT THEY HAD BUILT AND THE DREAMS OF THEIR FUTURE.

THEY FOUGHT FOR IT UNTIL THE LAST MAN.

SO TRULY I BELIEVE THAT IT WAS THE PRIDE OF THOSE PEOPLE IN WHAT THEY HAD BUILT.

THEY KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING AT THAT TIME, JACK, AND SO THEY WERE NOT GOING TO TAKE THE DESTRUCTION OF THEIR COMMUNITY LAYING DOWN.

IT TRULY IS A HARROWING STORY AND A HARROWING SACRIFICE THAT MANY OF THOSE MEN MADE.

I'M TALKING WITH GREG ROBINSON, WHO IS A NORTH TULSA COMMUNITY ACTIVIST AND A DEFENDANT OF THE VICTIMS OF THE TULSA RACE MASSACRE.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY FILM 'TULSA, THE FIRE AND THE FORGOTTEN.'

CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS FOR TIME AND MAKE SURE YOU WATCH THIS PROVOCATIVE FILM.

SO AS WE MOVE ON, YOU SET THE STAGE FOR US.

THEY'RE ATTEMPTING TO DEFEND THIS YOUNG MAN.

A SHOT RINGS OUT.

DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENS THEN.

WELL, THE BLACK FOLKS AT THE TIME GO BACK AND REALLY PREPARE FOR WHAT IS KNOWN AT THAT TIME WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING AS AN INVASION THAT IS TO COME.

YOU KNOW, WHAT I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND INTERESTING IS THAT THERE WAS SUCH AN ABILITY TO PREPARE NOT A FEW PEOPLE.

YOU KNOW, OFTENTIMES THEY SAY IT WAS A WHITE MOB, AND MAYBE YOU THINK ABOUT 25, 30, 40 FOLKS.

YOU'RE TALKING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE THAT WERE TO INVADE GREENWOOD, BUT THEY WERE READY, JACK.

SO THOSE DEFENDERS GO BACK.

THEY BEGIN TO SET UP BARRICADES TO DEFEND THE AREA THAT IS GREENWOOD.

TRULY THAT IS WHY IT TOOK MORE THAN JUST ONE NIGHT TO DO THE DESTRUCTION THAT THIS WHITE MOB, AIDED BY THE CITY OF TULSA, WANTED TO INFLICT.

IT'S BECAUSE THE DEFENSES WERE READY.

YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING THAT'S IMPORTANT.

YOU SAY AIDED BY THE CITY OF TULSA.

AGAIN, ONE OF THE THINGS I'M SURE WILL STRIKE PEOPLE IS WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE PHOTOS OF WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE.

YOU SEE, AS YOU SAID, HUNDREDS OF WHITE MEN CARRYING WEAPONS.

YOU SEE POLICE OFFICERS AND MILITARY FIGURES, APPARENTLY MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD.

NOW, WHAT YOU WOULD THINK IS, AGAIN, IF YOU RUN THIS BY SOMEBODY AND THEY DON'T KNOW THE STORY, OKAY, SO THE POLICE AND THE NATIONAL GUARD WERE THERE TRYING TO PROTECT THE COMMUNITY, RIGHT?

BUT WHAT IS THE REALITY ABOUT THE PRESENCE OF THE POLICE AND NATIONAL GUARD AS PART OF THIS?

UNFORTUNATELY THE REALITY IS THAT THOSE MEN CARRYING GUNS WERE DEPUTIZED BY THOSE AGENCIES.

SO THE WAY YOU CAN THINK ABOUT IT IS THAT THE POLICE, THE NATIONAL GUARD ADDED TO THE MOB.

AGAIN, THAT IS WHY THIS DESTRUCTION, IT DIDN'T GO ON FOR A FEW HOURS.

IT WENT ON FOR MULTIPLE DAYS WHERE EVENTUALLY THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO BREAK THROUGH THOSE DEFENSES.

JACK, NOT FIRST JUST BURNING EVERYTHING DOWN AT ONCE, BUT THEY BEGAN -- IT WAS A METHODICAL INVASION.

I THINK THAT'S THE THING THAT REALLY STRIKES ME WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE SYSTEMATIC NATURE OF IT, GOING IN FIRST AND LOOTING WHAT THEY WANTED.

WE TALKED IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS PROGRAM ABOUT THE JEALOUSY THAT MAY HAVE EXISTED BECAUSE OF THE GRANDEUR OF THE THINGS THAT WERE HAD.

THERE WERE ACCOUNTS OF PEOPLE CARRYING OUT GRAND PIANOS, PEOPLE CARRYING OUT CLOTHES THAT THEY WANTED.

SO THEY DID THE LOOTING FIRST.

AND THEN AFTER THEY HAD TAKEN ALL THAT THEY WANTED TO TAKE, AFTER THEY HAD CAPTURED THE YOUNG MEN, AFTER THEY HAD CAPTURED THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN AND BEGAN MARCHING THEM AND PUTTING THEM INTO INTERNMENT CAMPS, THEN THEY BEGAN TO SET FIRE TO ALL THAT WAS THERE IN GREENWOOD.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND YOU LOOK AT THE BEFORE PHOTOGRAPHS AND YOU TALK ABOUT THIS 35 BLOCKS OF GRAND HOTELS AND PROFESSIONAL OFFICES AND THEATERS AND HOMES AND YOU LOOK AT THE PHOTOS AFTERWARDS, AFTER THIS STAND OF LESS THAN TWO DAYS.

IF YOU SHOWED THEM TO SOMEBODY AND DIDN'T TELL THEM THE CONTEXT, THEY WOULD SAY THAT LOOKS LIKE A PHOTO OF A BOMBED OUT CITY IN WORLD WAR II, BUT THERE'S NO EVIDENCE OTHER THAN THE RUBBLE OF ANYBODY LIVING HERE.

SO THE EXTENT OF THE DEVASTATION, AGAIN, IS STAGGERING.

WHEN YOU TELL PEOPLE COMPLETE DEVASTATION, WE TRULY MEAN THAT ALL THAT WAS LEFT WERE THE CHIMNEY BOXES FROM THESE HOMES.

AND THE FUNNY STORY THERE, JACK, IS WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE INNOVATION AND THE BRILLIANCE OF THESE PEOPLE, THEY RAEEALIZED TT THE ONE SAFE PLACE YOU COULD KEEP YOUR VALUABLES WAS IN THOSE CHIMNEY SCAPES.

AS YOU WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY, I'D LIKE FOR PEOPLE TO TAKE A LOOK AT THOSE PHOTOS A LITTLE BIT DEEPER AND SEE WHAT'S REMAINING.

YOU CAN MAYBE THINK TO YOURSELF WHY ARE PEOPLE WALKING AMONGST THE RUBBLE LIKE THAT.

THEY'RE GOING BACK TO GET THEIR VALUABLES.

BUT NOTHING WAS LEFT.

I BELIEVE THERE WAS A BASEMENT OF THE VERNON A.M.E. CHURCH THAT WAS REMAINING.

THE 300 BUSINESSES ALL GONE.

THE TRUE CRIME OF THIS, JACK, IS THAT THESE BLACK PEOPLE IN TULSA IMMEDIATELY WENT BACK AND SAID, WE'VE GOT INSURANCE, LET'S START OUR CLAIM.

SO WHEN YOU WATCH THIS DOCUMENTARY, YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR THE STORIES OF HOW THESE HEROIC BLACK TULSANS WENT BACK TO TRY AND CLAIM WHAT WAS THEIRS AND YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR ABOUT THE RACISM THAT HAS PROHIBITED THEM FROM FINDING JUSTICE TO THIS DAY.

FIRST OF ALL, YOU MENTIONED THAT AFTER ALL OF THIS, IT WAS THE BLACK RESIDENTS WHO WERE ROUNDED UP AND ININTERNED FOR A NUMBER OF DAYS.

YOU MENTIONED IMMEDIATELY, BECAUSE THESE WERE SOPHISTICATED BUSINESS PEOPLE, PUT IN CLAIMS FOR INSURANCE.

HOW MANY INSURANCE CLAIMS WERE PAID?

TO THIS DAY, THERE'S BEEN NO INSURANCE CLAIMS PAID.

WELL, JACK, I HAVE SPOKEN INCORRECTLY.

THERE WERE TWO INSURANCE CLAIMS PAID, BUT THEY WERE TO WHITE PEOPLE WHO LOST THINGS IN THEIR BUSINESS.

THERE'S BEEN NO INSURANCE CLAIMS PAID TO THIS DAY TO ANY BLACK PERSON WHO LOST.

AGAIN, YOU HAVE PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE OF WHO WERE INVOLVED HERE.

ANY CONVICTIONS EVER FOR ANY OF THE DAMAGE OR KILLINGS THAT TOOK PLACE?

NO, SIR.

IN FACT, SOME OF THE HEROS THAT I MENTIONED BEFORE, AJ SMITHERMAN, JB STRATFORD AMONG THEM, THEY WERE ACTUALLY INDICTED FOR INCITING A RIOT.

NO CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS OF ANY KIND.

WE'VE GOT ABOUT 3 MINUTES.

TELL ME ABOUT THIS COMMUNITY TODAY AND WHATEVER KIND OF RECOVERY MIGHT HAVE TAKEN PLACE.

YOU KNOW, IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TULSA RACE MASSACRE OF 1921, JACK, THE RESIDENTS OF GREENWOOD, WITH THE HELP OF THOSE BLACK TOWNSHIPS REBUILT.

AND ACTUALLY THEY REBUILT GREENWOOD TO GREAT PROMINENCE THE '30s, '40s, '50s SAW GREAT PROMINENCE IN GREENWOOD.

BUT THEN URBAN RENEWAL CAME IN, SOMETHING WE CALL NEGRO REMOVAL AROUND HERE.

ALONG WITH BLIGHTING OUT AREAS, TAKING PEOPLE'S HOMES, THE CITY AND THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA BUILT HIGHWAYS RIGHT THROUGH THE HEART OF THE GREENWOOD AREA, AND JUST LIKE IN CINCINNATI THE OVER THE RHINE COMMUNITY AND STDETROIT, MICHIGAN, THERE WAS A MASS MIGRATION OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS OUT OF THEIR HOMELAND AND UNFORTUNATELY A CENTURY OF OPPRESSION, LACK OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, POOR EDUCATIONAL ACCESS BEGAN TO ENSUE.

THAT IS WHAT WE ARE MIRED IN TO THIS DAY.

JACK, 100 YEARS LATER THE CLEAR DEVASTATION AND THE CLEAR INTENTIONAL SUPPORT OF THAT DEVASTATION BY THE CITY OF TULSA AND NO REPARATION HAS BEEN MADE, NO ECONOMIC JUSTICE IN ANY WAY HAS BEEN PROVIDED.

FOR THAT REASON, AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN THE CITY OF TULSA RIGHT NOW LAG BEHIND IN EVERY CATEGORY.

THE FILM GOES INTO THIS SEARCH FOR REPARATIONS.

GOT A MINUTE HERE.

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT QUESTION.

AS BLACK PEOPLE OR ANYBODY IN THAT COMMUNITY GREW UP OVER THE DECADES, DID ANY OF THEM LEARN -- WAS THIS TAUGHT TO ANY OF THE COMMUNITIES?

NOT UNTIL JUST RECENTLY THIS PAST YEAR WAS THE GREENWOOD MASSACRE EVER TAUGHT.

I LEARNED FROM MY FATHER TELLING ME.

I KNOW THERE WERE PEOPLE CERTAINLY WHO HAD STORIES PASSED DOWN.

BUT THERE WAS A SHAME THAT IS STILL EXISTING WITH WHITE FOLKS WHO DID NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS VERY MUCH.

AND THEN YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT IT MUST FEEL LIKE TO HAVE GONE THROUGH THAT.

THERE WERE MANY, MANY OF US WHO ARE DESCENDANTS WHO NEVER HEARD THIS DIRECTLY FROM OUR FAMILY MEMBERS.

THE HORRIBLE TRUTH OF THIS IS, THERE ARE PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE GREENWOOD MASSACRE THAN THOSE WHO GREW UP IN ITS SHADOW.

THIS FILM CERTAINLY ENTITLED 'TULSA, THE FIRE AND THE FORGOTTEN' WILL HELP TO TEACH PEOPLE LESSONS THAT NEED TO BE LEARNED AND NEED TO BE REMEMBERED.

GREG ROBINSON, I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR SPENDING SOME TIME AND SHARING THOUGHTS WITH US.

WE APPRECIATE IT.

YOU BE WELL.

THANK YOU, JACK.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE JPB FOUNDATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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