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Greenwood Rising: Groundbreaking for a new world class history center in Tulsa

Posted at 4:37 AM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 18:31:43-04

TULSA, Okla. — A historic landmark will break ground today in Tulsa's Greenwood District.

This comes 99 years after the 1921 Race Massacre, where mobs of people attacked hundreds of Black people and destroyed many Black businesses.

READ MORE: 99 years later: The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

It's all happening Friday, Aug. 21, at Greenwood and Archer, what used to be the gateway into what was known as Black Wall Street.

Now, it's becoming the location where the history of this neighborhood will rest, to be called, "Greenwood Rising."

33, 35 City blocks northward from here, from this very corner, to be able to have a facility where the world can come and learn this entire history, this spirit of resiliency, from a community that was destroyed, and then rebuilt bigger and better after it was destroyed.
Phil Armstrong | Project Director, Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission

Phil Armstrong is the Project Director for the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. A commission started five years ago by State Senator Kevin Mathews.

Their goal is to bring attention to Tulsa from around the world and teach people about what happened here, nearly 100 years ago.

“We want to make sure that next year is not a kum-ba-yah, we are all good, go back to your corners moment. Next year is just going to be the launching pad if you will, of things to come, five, 10, 15, 30 years from now,” Armstrong said.

Greenwood Rising is said to be the first of many new historic places to come that will commemorate the history of Black Wall Street.

READ MORE: Centennial Commission picks new site for Greenwood District history center

“One of the exhibits in Greenwood Rising is going to be called the 'Journey to Reconciliation', an amphitheater style room where individuals can come and have conversations about race, have conversations about tough difficult things, to be able to walk away changed,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong believes it will change the culture of the city.

“Having a respect and an understanding for someone else's culture, that will lead to unity, and reconciliation that will allow people to walk away from here empowered to changes their fears and influence," Armstrong said. "Become a better person and change our society.”

Greenwood Rising's official groundbreaking is set for Aug. 21 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

It is a private event, but you can watch it live and find more information here.

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