Tag Archives: Tulsa

On This Day: The Massacre Of Black Wall Street

462_160I am very glad that John Legend is bringing the story of horror to the movie screen for all to see. This story like the Nat Turner story should be seen and understood like many other atrocities that have been hidden for far too long. These stories and many others are not taught or even spoken about for the people who inflicted the pain and evil upon black people that would make Hitler blushI’m the author of the phenomenal novel “Just a Season” titled from the religious knowledge referring to a period of time characterized by a particular circumstance, suitable to an indefinite period of time associated with a divine phenomenon called life. During this passage through time I have come to realize that there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that we must encounter. This speaks loudly to the challenges of black people in America.

“Black Wall Street” is a history lesson that may cause some not to believe something so dastardly could happen in America. It is intended to inspire, enlighten, empower, and share the history of a people at a time when the odds were against all odds. It was during a time called segregation when Jim Crow ruled and separate but equal was the law of the land. Because of this de facto Apartheid-like system African American were forced to live in communities dependent upon each other in order to survive and survive they did. Every town had such a place and during this series of articles, I will visit those communities to sharing their rich histories.

Let me ask you never forget – Tulsa Oklahoma’s “Black Wall Street” and what white folk did to this community. The name was fittingly given to the most affluent all-black community in America. This community was the epitome of success proving that African Americans had a successful infrastructure known as the golden door of the Black community during the early 1900’s. Although, it was in an unusual location Black Wall Street was a prime example of the typical Black community in America that did business far beyond expectations.

Let me explain, the state of Oklahoma was set aside to be a Black and Indian state that included over 28 Black townships. Another point worth noting, nearly a third of the people who traveled in the terrifying “Trail of Tears” alongside the Indians from 1830 to 1842 were Black people. The citizens of Oklahoma chose a Black governor; there were PhD’s, Black attorneys, doctors and professionals from all walks of life contributing to the successful development of this community. One such luminous figure was Dr. Berry, who also owned the bus system generating an average income of $500 a day in 1910. During this time physicians owned medical schools to empower and develop African Americans.

The area encompassed 36 square blocks, over 600 businesses with a population of 15,000 African Americans. There were pawn shops everywhere, brothels, jewelry stores, churches, restaurants and movie theaters. Their success was monumentally evident in that the entire state of Oklahoma had only two airports, yet six Blacks owned their own planes. Just to show how wealthy many Black people were, there was a banker in a neighboring town who had a wife named California Taylor. Her father owned the largest cotton gin west of the Mississippi. When California shopped, she would take a cruise to Paris every three months to have her clothes made.

There was also a man named Mason in nearby Wagner County, who had the largest potato farm in the west. When he harvested, he would fill 100 boxcars a day. Another Black man not far away was doing the same thing with a spinach farm. The typical family averaged five children or more, though the typical farm family would have ten kids or more who made up the nucleus of the labor.

What was significant about Black Wall Street was they understood an important principle – they kept the money in the community. The dollars circulated 36 to 1000 times within the community, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the community. Something the African America community of today does not fully appreciate or practice because a dollar will leave the Black community today in 15 minutes. This community was so tight and wealthy because they traded dollars hand-to-hand because they were dependent upon one another as a result of Jim Crow laws.

Another powerful image, and extremely significant, was education. The foundation of the community was to educate every child because they understood that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. When students went to school, they wore a suit and tie because of the morals and respect they were taught at a young age. Also, nepotism contributed greatly to the success of this community as a way to help one another – a tactic that needs to be instilled in our culture today.

A postscript to Tulsa’s legacy is the world renowned R&B music group the GAP Band. The group of brothers Charlie, Ronnie & Robert Wilson, chose the group’s name taken from the first letters of the main thoroughfare Greenwood Avenue that intersects with Archer and Pine Streets; from those letters you get G.A.P. Another legendary figure from Tulsa is their favorite son, basketball great and jazz musician the late Wayman Tisdale. These are just a few luminaries that Tulsa has produced, surely the most recognized today.

An unprecedented amount of global business was conducted from within the Black Wall Street community, which flourished from the early 1900 until 1921. Then the unthinkable happened, and the community faced a valley or more accurately stated fell off a cliff. The Black Wall Street community suffered the largest massacre of non-military Americans in the history of this country. As you might well imagine, the lower-economic Europeans looked over and saw how prosperous the Black community had become and destroyed it. I don’t know the true reason; jealousy was mentioned, but racism was certainly at its core. Lead by the infamous Ku Klux Klan, working in concert with ranking city officials, and many other sympathizers.

The destruction began Tuesday evening, June 1, 1921, when “Black Wall Street,” the most affluent all-black community in America, was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of resentful whites. In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving Black business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering. A model community destroyed and a major African-American economic movement resoundingly defused. The night’s carnage left some 3,000 African Americans dead and over 600 successful businesses lost. Among them were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half-dozen private airplanes and even the bus system.

You would think this historic event would be common knowledge, but not so. One would be hard-pressed to find any documentation concerning the incident, let alone an accurate accounting of it. Not in any reference or any American history books documenting the worst incidents of violence ever visited upon people of African descent. This night of horror was unimaginable. Try if you will to imagine seeing 1,500 homes being burned and looted, while white families with their children standing around the borders of the community watching the massacre much, in the same manner, they would watch a lynching. It must have been beyond belief for the victims.

I wonder if you are aware of this little-known history fact; this is where the word “picnic” came from? It was typical to have a picnic on a Friday evening in Oklahoma. The word was short for “pick a nigger” to lynch. They would lynch a Black male and cut off body parts as souvenirs. This went on every weekend in many parts of the country with thousands lynched in the first part of the last century. Unfortunately, that is where the word actually came from.

The riots weren’t caused by anything Black or white. It was caused as a result of Black prosperity. A lot of white folks had come back from World War I and they were poor. When they looked over into the Black Wall Street community and saw that Black men who fought in the war came home as heroes also contributed to the destruction. It cost the Black community everything – justice and reconciliation are often incompatible goals because not a single dime of restitution was ever provided, to include no insurance claims have been awarded to a single victim.

As I began, there are milestones, mountains, and valleys which surely encompassed this community and its people. This is why it is so important to teach these lessons because those who neglect the lessons of the past are doomed to see it repeated. Life is not a race you run, it is a relay and it is your responsibility to pass the baton. Our youth, the next generation, must be prepared and know when they look at our communities today that they came from a people who built kingdoms. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Source:
“A Black Holocaust in America.”
Ron Wallace, Jay Jay Wilson

JUST A SEASON


Trump Supporters Call For A Revolt: Here’s The Truth About Race Riots

007_1000I wrote this article some time ago after there were several situations of unrest on the streets of America. With Trump’s latest message to his supporter to create unrests let me remind you that a “riots is the language of the unheard”. This harkens back to the lawless lynchings of black people. Let’s be clear that the most deadly riots were done by white folk and most were done when they claimed the rules of white supremacy were, in their minds, violated. Black folk have had every reason to riot because when white folk riot it is legal!

Over the centuries what they would call riots were merely unrests because of the killing of an unarmed black person at the hands of the police. Now the truth is black people have only had what would be called only a few riots.

For example, most of the black riots took place in California with the worse being the Watt’s Riots of 1965; a horrible event but like any of the few riots black people started was predicated on some kind of white provocation. So let me remind you that the culture of race relations in America is one sided, and history tells us that most, if not all, race riots were not perpetrated by black people. The culture of violence by the so-called real Americans upon what they call “others” have been at the hands of white people in America.

You often hear how savage black people are when an incident occurs, and blacks take to the streets. They will tell you that these black destroy their own communities. For the record, that is the biggest lie since they portrayed Jesus as a white man. The worst riots and, in fact, most riots were done by white racists. Today it sounds like Trump is suggest a white uprising!

First, the people living in the inner city or urban areas do not own that which is burned or damaged. Rather, they are owned by those who profit or prey upon them. Before the 1960s, rioting or race riots as they were called consisted of whites burning down and destroying black communities simply because they didn’t want them there. Let’s go back further, the Native America people were nearly eliminated at the hands of such violence as their lands were stolen by germ warfare and whole tribes slaughtered. Later to be glamorized in “Cowboy and Indian” epics.

To be clear, the brutal and often deadly attacks upon black people was not a Southern phenomenon. These violent acts occurred mostly in major northern, western and Midwestern cities, where the population of black citizens grew tremendously due to the great migration. Blacks fled from the abusive and harsh Jim Crow south to seek refuge from the rigid Jim Crow era laws to find jobs and homes. The competition was fierce, thousands and thousands of blacks flooded the cities resulting in what became known as “white flight”. White people were angry that blacks were taking jobs they felt should have been theirs and building their own communities. Notice how this sounds like Trump’s code language!

Not only was housing discrimination prevalent but they passed laws and created sundown towns, which meant “Nigger” don’t be caught in white communities after dark or you will be lynched. Even white soldiers that have been stationed away from home were furious when they came back to this “change”. An often overlooked hazard, black soldiers who thought they were fighting for freedom would return home to situations worse than that they face on the combat fields.

So for those who don’t know this is how race riots started. Whites were not too happy about desegregation in the cities. Any incident, regardless of how mundane or minor, whites would assert what they viewed as their God-given right to take the law into their own hands. Using vigilante justice to attack destroyed and burned down black populated areas through mob violence and acts of terror that often resulted in countless deaths. It is important to clearly understand that a sense of entitlement was the motivation.

When the Jim Crow laws and subliminal attempts to keep their cities and communities segregated failed, riots often occurred. Here are ONLY just a few examples of the major race riots that took place in America:

1921: May 30 – June 1. Tulsa, OK. Black Wall Street Massacre
1922: May 6, June 9 Kirven, Texas
1923: January 1. Rosewood, FL Rosewood Massacre
1930: October 12-15 Sainte Genevieve, MO
1931: March Scottsboro, AL
1935: March 19 Harlem, NY Harlem Riot of 1935
1943: May Mobile, AL
1943: June Los Angeles, CA Zoot Suit Riot
1943: June 15-16 Beaumont, TX Beaumont Race Riot of 1943
1943: June 20 Detroit, MI Detroit Race Riot
1943:August 1 Harlem,NY Harlem Riot of 1943
1949: August-September Peekskill, NY
1951: July 11-12 Cicero County, IL Cicero Race Riot
1958: Maxton, NC Battle of Hayes Pond
1959: February Pearl River County, MS
1960: April Biloxi Beach, MS
1962: October Oxford, MS Uni of Mississippi
1963: September 30. Oxford, MS Ole Miss Riot
1963: July 11 Cambridge, MD Cambridge riot of 1963
1963: May 13 Birmingham, AL Bombings
1964: July Brooklyn, NY
1964: July 18 Harlem, NY Harlem Riot of 1964
1964: July 24-26 Rochester, NY Rochester riot
1964: August Jersey City, NJ
1964: August Paterson, NJ
1964: August Elizabeth, NJ
1964: August Chicago, IL
1964: August 28 Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia 1964 race riot
1965: March 7 Selma, AL Bloody Sunday
1965: July Springfield, MA
1965: August 11-17 Los Angeles, CA Watts Riot

I would argue that there were only two riots that can be credited to black people. When they killed Dr. King and the Rodney King riots in LA or those during what has been called the long hot summers of the 1960s. So let’s correct the narrative, almost all of the so-called race riots, including the Civil War, were initiated and perpetrated by the so-called Real Americans – white people! Anytime you hear someone criticizing black people for rioting, share this info with them.

Finally, the whole history of America is one of brutal aggression and oppression. Therefore, with the rise of police killings at the hands of the state is just a continuation of the brutal nature of a people who without a conscience. Frankly, white folk should thank their lucky stars that black America’s have not taken more brutal action concerning the brutal oppression they have been subjected to for 400 years!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

JUST A SEASON


News Flash: Stranger Than Fiction

5Just when you think you have heard it all; the cop’s prove you wrong! Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby now claims she was temporarily deaf during her encounter with Terence Crutcher, this according to her attorney, Scott Wood. My guess is this was not one of the GOOD COP’S.

The attorney said Shelby had experienced what is called “auditory exclusion”, a form of temporary hearing loss occurring under high stress. This is apparently why Shelby did not hear sirens from the additional police vehicles, she didn’t hear when the other Officer arrived, nor did she hear him announce to her that he has his Taser. This is really reaching for an excuse to kill.

This attorney, and I use that loosely, who said Shelby is justified in gunning down Crutcher, since she believed he had a gun, and  “…if you think someone has a gun, you don’t get your Taser out.” No gun was found on Crutcher nor in his vehicle, and Shelby was not responding to a call about an armed person, so her suspicion of Crutcher being armed is questionable.

This excuse should make everyone ashamed and very troubled by this accretion. If she gets off with this. The problem is she just might and we should began to pray for humanity!

Shelby was charged with felony manslaughter in the first degree, and was arrested after turning herself in to authorities. She was booked at a local county jail and released on $50,000 bond 23 minutes after her arrest. This is a disgrace!!!

This is a simple problem to fix. Don’t just file charges but CONVICT the thugs! Also, it is time to stop the paid vacation (administrative leave police) and free attorneys! This woman deserves to be on a level three tear in a max prison. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


We Must Never Forget What Happened In Tulsa, Oklahoma

2I am the author of the phenomenal novel “Just a Season”. The title is derived from the religious knowledge referring to a period of time characterized by a particular circumstance, suitable to an indefinite period of time associated with a divine phenomenon called life. During this passage through time, I have come to realize that there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that all of us must encounter. This speaks loudly to the challenges of black people.

There are so many acts terror inflicted upon black people that honestly are too numerous to count. White folks, however, erase those horrible crimes and murder from the pages of history and never talk about the sins of the fathers. This heartbreaking story is one that is never mentioned or talked about but it happened and to this day no redress has been afforded to the victims.

The story of “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma was where America bombed a proud and thriving community during a time called segregation. It was during a time when Jim Crow ruled and separate but equal was the law of the land. It was because of this de facto Apartheid-like system black people, were forced to live in communities dependent upon each other in order to survive – and survive they did. At the time, this was the law of the land, and every town had such a place; be it Upton in Baltimore, the Black Bottom in Detroit, or the most famous of them all Harlem USA.

The name “Black Wall Street” was fittingly given; it was the most affluent all-black community in America at the time. This community was the epitome of success proving that black people had a successful infrastructure known as the golden door of the Black community during the early 1900’s. Although, it was in an unusual location Black Wall Street was a prime example of the typical Black community in America that did business far beyond expectations.

Let me explain, the state of Oklahoma was set aside to be a Black and Indian state that included over 28 Black townships. Another point worth noting, nearly a third of the people who traveled on the terrifying “Trail of Tears” alongside the Indians from 1830 to 1842 were Black people. The citizens of Oklahoma chose a Black governor; there were Ph.D.’s, Black attorneys, doctors and professionals from all walks of life contributing to the successful development of this community. One such luminous figure was Dr. Berry, who also owned the bus system generating an average income of $500 a day in 1910. During this time, physicians owned medical schools to empower and develop African Americans.

The area known as Black Wall Street encompassed 36 square blocks, over 600 businesses with a population of 15,000 black people. There were pawn shops everywhere, brothels, jewelry stores, churches, restaurants and movie theaters. Their success was monumentally evident in that the entire state of Oklahoma had only two airports, yet six Blacks owned their own planes. Just to show how wealthy many Black people were, there was a banker in a neighboring town who had a wife named California Taylor. Her father owned the largest cotton gin west of the Mississippi. When California shopped, she would take a cruise to Paris every three months to have her clothes made.

There was also a man named Mason in nearby Wagner County, who had the largest potato farm in the west. When he harvested, he would fill 100 boxcars a day. Another Black man not far away was doing the same thing with a spinach farm. The typical family averaged five children or more, although the typical farm family would have ten kids or more that made up the nucleus of the labor.

What was significant about Black Wall Street was that the black citizens understood an important principle – they kept the money in the community. The dollars circulated 36 to 1000 times within the community, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the community. Something the black community of today does not fully appreciate or practice because a dollar will leave the black community today in 15 minutes. This community was so tight and wealthy because they traded dollars hand-to-hand because they were dependent upon one another, as a result, of Jim Crow laws.

Another powerful image that was extremely significant was education. The foundation of the community was to educate every child because they understood that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. When students went to school, they wore a suit and ties because of the morals and respect they were taught at a young age. In addition, nepotism contributed greatly to the success of this community as a way to help one another – a tactic that needs to be instilled in our culture today.

A postscript to Tulsa’s legacy is the world renowned R&B music group the GAP Band. The group of brothers Charlie, Ronnie & Robert Wilson, chose the group’s name taken from the first letters of the main thoroughfare Greenwood Avenue that intersects with Archer and Pine Streets; from those letters you get G.A.P. Another legendary figure from Tulsa is their favorite son, basketball great and jazz musician the late Wayman Tisdale. These are just a few luminaries that Tulsa has produced; surely the most recognized today.

An unprecedented amount of global business was conducted from within the Black Wall Street community, which flourished from early 1900 until 1921. Then the unthinkable happened, and the community faced a valley or more accurately stated fell off a cliff. The Black Wall Street community suffered the largest massacre of nonmilitary Americans in the history of this country.

As you might well imagine, the lower economic whites looked over and saw how prosperous the black community had become, and they destroyed it. I don’t know the true reason; jealousy was mentioned, but racism was certainly at its core. Lead by the infamous Ku Klux Klan, working in concert with ranking city officials, and many other sympathizers.

The terror and destruction began Tuesday evening, June 1, 1921, when “Black Wall Street,” was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of resentful whites. In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving Black business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering. A model community was destroyed, and a major African-American economic movement resoundingly defused. The night’s carnage left some 3,000 African Americans dead and over 600 successful businesses lost. Among them were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital, bank, post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half-dozen private airplanes and even the bus system.

You would think this historic event would be common knowledge, but not so. One would be hard-pressed to find any documentation concerning the incident, let alone an accurate accounting of it. Not in any reference or any American history books documenting the worst incidents of violence ever visited upon people of African descent. This night of horror was unimaginable. Try if you can – imagine seeing 1,500 homes burned and looted while white families with their children standing around the borders of the community watching the massacre much in the same manner they would watch a lynching. It must have been beyond belief for the victims.

I wonder if you are aware of this little-known history fact; where the word “picnic” came from. It was typical to have a picnic on a Friday evening in Oklahoma as it was in many American towns. The word was short for “pick a nigger” to lynch. They would lynch a Black male and cut off body parts as souvenirs. This went on every weekend in many parts of the country with thousands lynched in the first part of the last century. Unfortunately, that is where the word came from.

The riots weren’t caused by anything Black or white. It was caused, as a result, of Black prosperity. A lot of white folks had come back from World War I, and they were poor. When they looked over into the Black Wall Street community and saw that Black men who fought in the war came home as heroes also contributed to the destruction. It cost the Black community everything – justice and reconciliation are often incompatible goals because not a single dime of restitution was ever provided, to include no insurance claims have been awarded to a single victim.

As I began, there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that surely encompassed this community and its people. This is why it is so important to teach these lessons because those who neglect the lessons of the past are doomed to see it repeated. Life is not a race you run; it is a relay, and it is your responsibility to pass the baton. Our youth, the next generation, must be prepared and know when they look at our communities today that they know they came from a people who built kingdoms. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

THE STORY OF BLACK PEOPLE – they don’t know about us!!!


%d bloggers like this: