TULSA, Okla. — A significant moment for Tulsa's Greenwood District, items found in the basement of the Vernons Historic AME Church from the 1921 Race Massacre.
Pastor Turner gave us a personal tour of the church, he explained that most of the building was destroyed after the massacre.
The church members continued to have service in the basement with what was left, and in the same chairs they donated to the Greenwood Leadership Academy.
"That following Sunday members came back and actually worshiped," Pastor Robert Turner said. "Miraculously our ceiling and all that stuff was fine. It was obviously was a lot of debris burned like our windows and everything."
Pastor turner says while learning the history of his church there were things he noticed that seemed out of place.
"I asked about when did we get these old chairs," Pastor Turner said. "Our oldest male member said pastor these are the original chairs from the basement."
And when someone from the greenwood leadership academy reached out, he had an idea.
"The deal was, as long as it's a school. A place for education and children then we have it stored here," Pastor Turner said. "For them to be able to see, learn and hopefully be inspired."
We spoke with the Director of the Greenwood Leadership Academy and the pastor of Vernon AME Church regarding the items.
They say their goal is to ensure the legacy of the old Black Wall Street is noticeable and remembered in their building.
"We wanted to make sure that, that legacy was noticeable in our building," Gregory Robinson said.
Robinson says it's important the students at his school learn and see the history of Tulsa.
“You’ll see the in our building pictures of historic Greenwood that then mold into the faces of the children that we have for today," Robinson says, "I feel like they are the next step in building upon the legacy of Greenwood.”
He says the story they push to tell is what came before the 1921 Race Massacre, and they hope to one day bring more awareness to the history.
"For us, the greenwood story serves as proof of what happens when people are allowed to see their dreams come true," Robinson said. "And the resilience of our people to rebuild, even when things look like they've been destroyed for forever."
And the donation of a chair from the night black Tulsan's gathered to pray after the the damage was done back in 1921 helps them remember what happened.
"As Pastor Turner says they sat in those chairs after the massacre and so we are glad to have one of those in the school," Robinson said.
Thus creating something different for the North Tulsan students at Greenwood Leadership Academy
"GLA is kind of special," Pastor Turner said. "Because of what the goal of the school is about and what they seek to educate our children on."
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