Greenwood Legacy Should Fuel Future Black Wall Street

 

The future of Greenwood and Black Wall Street sits at the crossroads. It’s time to truly get involved before history repeats itself. On one level the truly admirable history of Black Wall Street was one of the most improbable communities in American history. For an African American community to flourish and shine in the center of one of the most racial divisive times in United States history was indeed rare.

The Klan operated in every aspect of Tulsa, from the police, judges, and state legislators to newspaper publishers. Tulsa’s racial troubles did not begin with the KKK; they just found fertile ground in Oklahoma. Why did so many bushwhackers, swindlers, racists, and every other kind of criminal come to Tulsa and Oklahoma? One might view the problems through a sociological perspective to find the answer.

In 1900 there was huge push to make what was once Indian territory into a state. After the usual bit of lying, cheating and prodding, area tribes all agreed to allot their land to each tribal member. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and state officials knew tribal members were unaccustomed to individual land ownership and knew it would only be a matter of time before poverty and corruption would separate the Indian from their land. African Americans, only several generations from slavery were not as knowledgeable about land ownership or retention as Native Americans. Black Freedmen owned most of the land in and around Tulsa. They were literally both races and this distinction laid the framework for what would become Black Wall Street. Once oil hit many of them became quite wealthy and their money laid the groundwork for what became the historic Greenwood area. What should have been a great story took a tragic turn.

Many white Tulsans were Klan members while others were just plain racially insensitive. Still others were jealous of the wealth they saw just north of the tracks. That racial jealousy turned into rage in 1921 and caused attempts to burn down and destroy Black Wall Street. Today, once again some hungry for wealth are turning north toward the Greenwood area to enrich themselves. While it’s obvious the only land close to downtown Tulsa is in and around the Greenwood area, who and how and will it benefit, should be discussed further.

Today, efforts are in place to seize the day and plan for future generations to not only benefit but remember the past glory that was Black Wall Street. To their credit the children of those who lived through a cruel past are looking at other communities that remember and commemorate their history. Other areas pay homage to civil rights efforts and have created spaces to reconcile racial relations. Beyond what other cities have done, Tulsa can utilize modern technologies to allow the visitor to experience what it was like to walk the streets of Greenwood in good and perilous times.

During these days when hate crimes have climbed 216 percent nationwide and hungry eyes look at the Greenwood area seems its possible to address how to benefit both realities for the indigenous people of Black Wall Street.

 

National Urban League Cites Russians And States Attempts To Suppress Black Votes

The National Urban League has placed voter suppression on top of their list for needed changes. Suppression of Black votes at the state level has increased in recent years. Progressive efforts to increase voter participation has come to a screeching halt in the last few years. The Urban League noted that 14 states have more restrictive voter ID laws, 12 have stiffened registering rules, seven have pared back early voting times, three have made it tougher to restore voting for those with criminal histories. And then there are the Russians.

For reasons, no doubt meant to help President Donald Trump get elected, Russian bots did all they could to suppress, confuse and tamp down the African American vote. They lied about Hillary Clinton, promoted Bernie Sanders at a time when there should be party unity. Unfortunately, those wounds have not totally healed. One fake Twitter account meant to create problems for black voters had 50,000 followers. It has since been disabled.

The Russians still want Trump in office and on the federal level, the president is doing little to keep the Russians from interfering with our elections. The urban league believes the problem is so critical they are calling for a special counsel to investigate the problem. Since the justice department works for Trump there isn’t much chance of that happening.

The responsibility to vote falls solely on every black voter to get registered and soon. The states just dropped millions of voters off their list for minor inactivity or whatever reason they want. Reports show most of those dropped are people of color. Get your photo ID. While it’s ridiculous that voting requires a photo ID its clear that is what’s facing the voter in 2020.

Encourage others to vote, register your friends, and drive people to the polls. Our response must be greater than the ugly effort to separate the African American from their right to vote.

 

Congrats To The Three Black Beauty Pageant Winners

Nia Franklin is the new Miss America, Kaliegh Garris is the Miss Teen, and Cheslie Kryst is Miss USA. All three are African American and they send the good message that despite everything, anyone with a dream can rise to the top.

This is particularly significant since the history of those beauty pageants has not been one of inclusion. Since their wins, they have appeared together to discuss their historic place in history. They are wonderful ambassadors for the promise of America.

The Oklahoma Eagle congratulates the three winners.

Corporate Charities Help Fund Hate Groups

In a real head scratcher, four high profile corporate charities help send millions of dollars to hate groups. A report shows that between 2014 and 2017 nearly $11 million has been funneled to 34 hate groups. They even helped get those donating a tax break.

The donor-advised funds include those managed by Schwab Charities, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Vanguard Charities and Donors Trust 4.

Not all charities are mirroring the poor practices of the identified funds. In the meantime, Schwab and the others need to put an end to their hate-for-profit practices and help fund diversity instead.