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The Oklahoma Eagle 2nd Century Campaign

The Oklahoma Eagle’s Second Century Campaign is a year-round initiative to uniquely contextualize the narratives of Tulsans, our shared cultures, art, faith, entrepreneurial spirit, families and communities.

This series is made possible through our collaborative partnership with, and the generous contribution by, Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Agriculture in North Tulsa, 1899-Present

JUNE 2021

Behind a small light-green house on a cozy street in North Tulsa, Earl Stripling is tending to his own little Garden of Eden. Grapevines wind down metal trellises. In a small mesh greenhouse squeezed right into the middle of the yard, broccoli seeds germinate on an electric heat mat. More than 300 onions sprout from a flowerbed packed with phosphorus-rich soil.

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The Power Of Greenwood’s Circular Dollar

JULY 2021

Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood was a self-contained economic stronghold in its heyday, a commercial marketplace where nearly every dollar earned was spent right in the neighborhood.

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The Rich Legacy of Tulsa’s Black Entrepreneurship

AUGUST 2021

The biggest testament to Tulsa’s Black entrepreneurs was the comeback they navigated following the 1921 Massacre.

After the blood dried and the dust settled, a small business owner in just about every Black Tulsa family sprang forward. They opened new rooming houses, transport companies, cafes, juke joints, and other enterprises at an extraordinary pace. By the mid-1940s, by the account of Oklahoma Historical Society, there were 240 businesses packed along with a few blocks of the Greenwood section. This was the second wave of Black entrepreneurship in Tulsa.

In the 1980s and 1990s, a new generation of small business owners came on strong. Howard and Fred Grimes opened Mantique, an upscale clothing store in the Northland Shopping Center. Elmer Thompson founded Elmer’s, which would become a wildly popular barbecue restaurant.

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Goin’ to Worship: Sunday Is A Lifeline of Greenwood’s Legacy and Future

SEPTEMBER 2021

Against big odds – including COVID-19 fears, decreased interest in organized religion among a younger generation – many residents of this primarily Black community consider church the only place to be on a Sabbath morning. While membership and attendance at many Northside houses of worship have declined, engagement in the church remains the most popular activity among Tulsa’s Blacks.

After the blood dried and the dust settled, a small business owner in just about every Black Tulsa family sprang forward. They opened new rooming houses, transport companies, cafes, juke joints, and other enterprises at an extraordinary pace. By the mid-1940s, by the account of Oklahoma Historical Society, there were 240 businesses packed along with a few blocks of the Greenwood section. This was the second wave of Black entrepreneurship in Tulsa.

Read Full Story

The Rich Legacy of Tulsa’s Black Entrepreneurship

AUGUST 2021

The biggest testament to Tulsa’s Black entrepreneurs was the comeback they navigated following the 1921 Massacre.

After the blood dried and the dust settled, a small business owner in just about every Black Tulsa family sprang forward. They opened new rooming houses, transport companies, cafes, juke joints, and other enterprises at an extraordinary pace. By the mid-1940s, by the account of Oklahoma Historical Society, there were 240 businesses packed along with a few blocks of the Greenwood section. This was the second wave of Black entrepreneurship in Tulsa.

In the 1980s and 1990s, a new generation of small business owners came on strong. Howard and Fred Grimes opened Mantique, an upscale clothing store in the Northland Shopping Center. Elmer Thompson founded Elmer’s, which would become a wildly popular barbecue restaurant.

Read Full Story

Carrying on ‘Legacy of (Black) Physicians’

OCTOBER 2021

Against big odds – including COVID-19 fears, decreased interest in organized religion among a younger generation – many residents of this primarily Black community consider church the only place to be on a Sabbath morning. While membership and attendance at many Northside houses of worship have declined, engagement in the church remains the most popular activity among Tulsa’s Blacks.

After the blood dried and the dust settled, a small business owner in just about every Black Tulsa family sprang forward. They opened new rooming houses, transport companies, cafes, juke joints, and other enterprises at an extraordinary pace. By the mid-1940s, by the account of Oklahoma Historical Society, there were 240 businesses packed along with a few blocks of the Greenwood section. This was the second wave of Black entrepreneurship in Tulsa.

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Greenwood: A Community Devoted to Education

NOVEMBER 2021

Since Blacks first created the Historic Greenwood District in the early 1900s, community leaders put a heavy accent on schooling. One early patron was Jake Dillard, a Black businessman credited with starting Tulsa’s first school for Blacks in 1905 in a small church at Archer Street and Kenosha Court. He named it after the poet and author Paul Lawrence Dunbar, the famous Black bard of the era.

As the Black population rose and new schools opened (including an elementary school next door to Booker T named after Woods.), Northsiders continued to heed the call to educate Tulsa’s Black kids and youth. To a man or woman, whether they went to Booker T., Central, McClain high schools, or elsewhere, they referred to inspiring teachers or transformative events during their schooling as reasons they opted for careers as Tulsa teachers or administrators.

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From Tulsa to Broadway and Back

DECEMBER 2021

“What makes the Tulsa sound different is that it includes touches of country... It’s a sound shared by all musicians with backgrounds in Oklahoma, from Count Basie to the Fields family."

As young Black Tulsa artists continue to make their mark the city and on the national stage, they are maintaining the tradition of musical talent within the community. Last year, more than 70 rappers and performance artists from across Oklahoma came together. They recorded 143 tracks resulting in “Fire in Little Africa (FILA),” a 21-track compilation album that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

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From Tulsa to Broadway and Back

DECEMBER 2021

“What makes the Tulsa sound different is that it includes touches of country... It’s a sound shared by all musicians with backgrounds in Oklahoma, from Count Basie to the Fields family."

As young Black Tulsa artists continue to make their mark the city and on the national stage, they are maintaining the tradition of musical talent within the community. Last year, more than 70 rappers and performance artists from across Oklahoma came together. They recorded 143 tracks resulting in “Fire in Little Africa (FILA),” a 21-track compilation album that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Read Full Story

Greenwood: A Community Devoted to Education

NOVEMBER 2021

Since Blacks first created the Historic Greenwood District in the early 1900s, community leaders put a heavy accent on schooling. One early patron was Jake Dillard, a Black businessman credited with starting Tulsa’s first school for Blacks in 1905 in a small church at Archer Street and Kenosha Court. He named it after the poet and author Paul Lawrence Dunbar, the famous Black bard of the era.

As the Black population rose and new schools opened (including an elementary school next door to Booker T named after Woods.), Northsiders continued to heed the call to educate Tulsa’s Black kids and youth. To a man or woman, whether they went to Booker T., Central, McClain high schools, or elsewhere, they referred to inspiring teachers or transformative events during their schooling as reasons they opted for careers as Tulsa teachers or administrators.

Read Full Story

On Greenwood: The North Tulsa Sports Machine

JANUARY 2022

Athletic superstars in different sports eras and far-flung urban areas. Gritty and driven, they are part of a distinctive group of athletes who hustled their way to sports fame. At first, blush, aside from raw sports hustle, seemed to have little in common.

And yet, as the Historic Greenwood District folks know, there is a strong thread and a legacy that bonds them together: they are all offspring of North Tulsa’s African American community. Although they are in different age groups, they were raised in roughly the same Northside neighborhoods. Jones and Lockett were Booker T. alums in 2004 and 2011, respectively. Starks graduated from Central High in 1983. And Tillis graduated from Cascia Hall. Her father, Tulsan James “Quick” Tillis, a celebrated heavyweight boxer, who was “one punch away” from beating Mike Tyson and the first to go the distance against him.

This shared heritage is not coincidental. The four are part of an army of athletes raised on Tulsa’s Northside and ascended to careers in sports. Some joined professional teams; others have become college, high school or secondary school coaches, team managers, or agents.

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Today’s Political Leaders Carry the Torch for Justice and Equity

FEBRUARY 2022

Integrity matters; being principled in serving people in the right way has to matter. There is a lot that needs to be done in this city.”

James O. Goodwin, who has been the Eagle’s publisher since 1979, also weighed running for office. But he decided he could best serve the city’s politics running the newspaper and working as a behind-the-scenes broker. His inspiration was his father, who had been a longtime Greenwood civic leader as well as the Eagle’s Publisher.

“He strongly believed in public service and set an example for it,” Jim Goodwin said in an interview. “I have tried to follow in that spirit.”

In the late 1980s, Goodwin and the local chapter of the NAACP sued the city of Tulsa, alleging discrimination against North Tulsans.

The suit drew attention to the unevenness of official North Tulsa representation in city politics. It paved the way for a recommendation that the city completely overhaul its approach to governance. In 1989, Tulsa voters passed a sweeping statute to restructure the city’s governing body. According to the new rules, different districts of the city would get exact representation on the new council. The new structure was a boon for North Tulsa. It created District 1, which encompassed Historic Greenwood and a big swath of the Northside. That move guaranteed that Northsiders would have a representative on the council.

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Second Century Project Team

GARY LEE, Project Lead, Editor and Contributor

M. DAVID GOODWIN, Editor

ROSS D. JOHNSON, Creative

VICTOR LUCKERSON, Contributor

MARY NOBLE, Contributor

BASIL CHILDERS, Photography and Videography

2022 Second Century Proposal