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Greenwood District celebrates two dedications to preserve history

Posted at 12:38 AM, Apr 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 10:08:02-04

TULSA, Okla — Saturday was a special day for the Greenwood District, two dedications honored the Tulsan lives that were lost during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

A dedication ceremony for two benches took place at the Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church.

The Bench by the Road Project was launched with the intention to honor and remember the African American heroes that stood tall and helped rebuild The Greenwood District.

The dedication also aims to preserve the tragic history to make sure no one forgets what happened. The benches honor the lives of the Tulsa families who defended their homes and businesses during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Leaders of the project hope everyone who sits on these benches takes the time to reflect on the lives lost during the massacre.

Brenda Nail-Alford is the descendant of a family that owns a business in the Greenwood District.

“The late Toni Morrison, in it of herself is an icon and to have this dedication in her name and honor it’s just awesome and to have a situation where people can sit and discuss the history and to understand the history, speaks and says so much,” Nail-Alford said.

The community also gathered at Carver Middle School for another type of dedication. There is an American Elm Tree that has been growing for nearly one hundred years, the tree is a living monument of the lives that were lost in the Race Massacre one hundred years ago.

Attendees got to take home seedlings of an American Elm or Redbud sapling as a symbol of continued responsibility to social justice in the city of Tulsa.

Bryan Meador is the founder of Plant Seads.

"The history of the Tulsa Race Massacre was buried for a long time, and you know just like healing anything else, you know you’ve got to clean the wound before it will really heal a part of that is teaching people what happened, you know sharing the story of how this occurred in Tulsa and with that information you can then move forward and hopefully this doesn’t happen again,” Meador said

The event included music by Steph Simon and The Rowlands, a band inspired to preserve the history of Black Wall Street.

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