By 1921, Tulsa’s Black population had grown to almost 11,000, and the Greenwood community was booming. It was a time of prosperity for the residents. The neighborhood boasted 15 grocery stores, two Black movie houses, two Black newspapers, four drugstores, two Black public schools, a Black public library, four barbecue and chili parlors, and about 13 churches.
But it was also a dangerous time to be Black in America. Between 1917 and 1921, racial violence was rampant. In cities across the country, Blacks were being beaten, burned and lynched in alarming numbers.
No one, Black or white, was prepared for what happened on the night of May 31, 1921.
Learn more about GOIN’ BACK TO T-TOWN, including where to watch the documentary: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/t-town/
Goin’ Back to T-Town tells the story of Greenwood, an extraordinary Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that prospered during the 1920s and 30s despite rampant and hostile segregation. Torn apart in 1921 by one of the worst racially-motivated massacres in the nation’s history, the neighborhood rose from the ashes, and by 1936 boasted the largest concentration of Black-owned businesses in the U.S., known as “Black Wall Street.” Ironically, it could not survive the progressive policies of integration and urban renewal of the 1960s. Told through the memories of those who lived through the events, the film is a bittersweet celebration of small-town life and the resilience of a community’s spirit.