Commemorating the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre:

Community events and resources
John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park

This is a list of upcoming events commemorating the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It also includes some community educational resources. If you know of an event we should add to this list, please email our web editor, tara.rittler@gmail.com. Thank you!

Live Music/Theater

GREENWOOD OVERCOMES – Celebrating Black Composers and Opera Stars

  • When: May 1, 7:30 p.m.; May 2, 2:30 p.m.
  • Where: Tulsa PAC, 110 E. 2nd St.

In a special concert featuring works for voice and piano by 23 living Black composers, Tulsa Opera will honor the resilience of Black Tulsans and Black America one hundred years after the Tulsa Race Massacre.

THE ARMED MAN: A MASS FOR PEACE

  • When: May 7, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Where: ahha Tulsa, 101 E. Archer St.

May 7, 2021, with in-person performances at 5:30 & 7:00 pm at Ahha Tulsa, or via live-stream at 5:30 pm at AnyWhereSeat.com.

Tulsa Chorale remembers the historic Tulsa Race Massacre and commemorates the 100th anniversary performing Karl Jenkins’ “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace.” In addition to extracts from the Latin Mass, the text for “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” incorporates words from historical and religious sources, including the Islamic call to prayer, the Bible, and the Mahabharata. Writers whose words appear in the work include Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Sankichi Toge, who survived the Hiroshima bombing but died some years later of leukemia.

Tickets are $20. RSVP here.

Greenwood: An American Dream Destroyed

  • When: May 8 and 15, 8 p.m.; May 9 and 16, 3 p.m.
  • Where: Tulsa PAC, 110 E. 2nd St.

Greenwood: An American Dream Destroyed, tells the powerful story from the perspective of the Boley family. It examines the tragedy that took place on May 30-June 1 ,1921, in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Known as the “Negro Wall Street “ for entrepreneurial opportunities with a vibrant business sector, it would become the target of mass destruction. Presented by Theatre North.

Tulsa 21! Black Wall Street

  • When: June 3-5, 11-12, 8 p.m.; June 5-6, 12-13, 3 p.m.
  • Where: Tulsa PAC, 110 E. 2nd St.

This original production about the history of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, the 1921 Massacre, and the experiences of Tulsa today as a result of this history will take you on an emotional ride through a variety of true stories. The play weaves the narrative of the historical account of the Massacre with true stories of people who live in Tulsa today. These stories were collected in 2017 and are told by a company of all-black actors living in Tulsa. The historical narratives were collected by Mary E. Jones Parrish in 1921 just weeks after the disastrous event. All stories are based on factual archival research. Presented by World Stage Theatre Company.

Tulsa Symphony, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to Perform in Remembrance of Tulsa Race Massacre 100th Anniversary 

  • When: June 6, 3 p.m.
  • Where: BOK Center, 200 S. Denver Ave.

On the somber occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Tulsa Symphony and Festival Chorus will join forces with world-renowned trumpeter, composer, educator and bandleader Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to present All Rise (Symphony No. 1), Marsalis’ epic blues suite that “was written themes of unity and spiritual ascendance.”  David Robertson will conduct the performance, and the chorus will be under the leadership of Damien L. Sneed. This event will take place at the BOK Center on Sunday, June 6 at 3 pm, and is produced in alliance with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.

 “When I was writing ‘All Rise,’ Kurt Masur, conductor of the New York Philharmonic, told me, ‘The line between civilization and barbarism is much thinner than you think.’ That’s why with everything that you do, you have to decry barbarism and the reduction of people.” said Wynton Marsalis. 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission project director Phil Armstrong voiced, “We are so grateful to have Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz in Tulsa for the Centennial. Processing tragedy and trauma is complex. For me, music has always been an emotional outlet, and I hope this experience provides just that to Tulsans during this important week of remembrance, resilience and hope.”.  Keith C. Elder, Executive Director of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, added, “We are glad to bring this moving work and these internationally recognized artists to the Tulsa community to commemorate the tragic events of 1921. It will be an evening where the power of music will be used to unite and heal our community.

Marsalis’symphony blends various influences from classical, jazz, gospel, and Latin-based music into a particularly poignant work to memorialize the Massacre. The piece was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and first performed at Lincoln Center in December 1999.  It features three sections of four movements each, which are swing-based and in the structure of the12 bar blues. The first segment is uplifting and energetic, the second set of movements are more dark and distressing, and the final section culminates with the elevating energy of a gospel choir that is titled “I Am (Don’t You Run From Me) – God’s love is what calls us to rise to the complete fulfillment of who we are. Our choice determines the extent to which we will rise, and the act of rising itself is thanks for His love, which is the source of our life and creativity.”

Tickets will go on sale on May 15, 10 am and will be available online at www.TulsaSymphony.org.


Art Exhibitions

Greenwood Art Project

  • Dates: Various
  • Location: Various

“The Greenwood Art Project is an initiative of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre Centennial Commission. Its purpose is to add a cultural component to the many activities and programs the Centennial Commission will host during the centennial year.

The goal of the Greenwood Art Project is to be a catalyst for uniting the city of Tulsa by working with artists, residents, leaders, organizations, and businesses to elevate awareness of Greenwood’s history, focusing on the 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the once thriving Black Wall Street.

The Greenwood Art Project strives to create art that activates the community towards healing from our history, rebuilding, and re-cultivating Greenwood Avenue in the most beautiful and authentic way.” Find upcoming events here.

Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Project

  • Dates: May 7-June 19, 2021
  • Where: Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 E. Reconciliation Way

“The Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Project presented by Living Arts of Tulsa encapsulates local artists’ response and influence of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre over the last 100 years.” Learn more here.

Living Arts of Tulsa will host several events tied in to this exhibition. Find the list here.

CRYSTAL Z CAMPBELL: NOTES FROM BLACK WALL STREET (OR HOW TO PROJECT YOURSELF INTO THE FUTURE)

  • Dates: May 7-July 25, 2021
  • Where: ahha Tulsa, 101 E. Archer St.

“Notes from Black Wall Street (Or How to Project Yourself into the Future) is Oklahoma-based artist Crystal Z Campbell’s first solo painting exhibition. On the occasion of the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Campbell’s new commission considers the wake of this event into the present day. Featuring several large paintings and one-hundred small paintings with paint often as thick as scars, this series imagines ways in which histories are embedded and embodied narratives written upon us.” Continue reading.

From the Limitations of Now

  • Dates: March 14-September 5, 2021
  • Where: Philbrook Museum, 2727 S. Rockford Rd.

“Bringing together local artists and artists working across the country, From the Limitations of Now reflects on the important ways art and literature allow us to examine America’s past and picture a future in which, in the words of renowned Oklahoma author Ralph Ellison, “we are able to free ourselves from the limitations of today.” Spanning multiple galleries throughout the Museum, the exhibition will feature a range of works, including vibrant tapestries and beadwork, vivid photographs, songs, paintings, and videos. These artworks reflect on the violence of American history, the power of ancestors who worked in the face of violence to forge a more just world, and speculate on visions of a future that is still yet to be.” Learn more here.

Philbrook will be hosting several community events in conjunction with this exhibition and “Views of Greenwood.” See their community calendar at philbrook.org/calendar.

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“Promiseland” by Skip Hill

Views of Greenwood

  • Dates: March 14-September 5, 2021
  • Where: Philbrook Museum, 2727 S. Rockford Rd.

Views of Greenwood presents nearly fifty photographs of the Greenwood District by three Oklahoma photographers who, over the last fifty years, have explored change, loss, and resilience within the neighborhood.” Learn more here.

TCCL Remembers – Commemorating Tulsa’s Race Massacre With Education, Empathy and Healing

  • Dates: Opens May 4
  • Where: Rudisill Regional Library, 1520 N. Hartford Ave.

“This curated exhibit offers a unique, immersive way for participants to learn about this tragic historical event as well as the racial and political conditions leading up to and following the Tulsa Race Massacre itself. TCCL is a proud recipient of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission Grant Program. All grants have been made possible from the generosity of WPX Energy.” Learn more here.

Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the 1921 Race Massacre: Through the Eyes of Children

  • Dates: June 1-22
  • Where: OSU-Tulsa, 700 N. Greenwood Ave.

“Featured Artist: Dr. Courtney Skipper

Tulsa Children’s Museum of Art presents a new art experience for children, created by children. The exhibition “Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the 1921 Race Massacre: Through the Eyes of Children” addresses the lack of awareness and education about the historic Greenwood District, Black Wall Street, and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.” Learn more.

Black Wall Street Gallery

  • Where: 10 N. Greenwood Ave., Ste. B

Black Wall Street Gallery is a conduit for establishing better relations by providing a space for artistic expression, conversation, healing and building community.” Learn more at bwsgallery.com.

My Soul Looks Back and Wonder How I Got Over: Skip Hill & Letitia Huckaby

  • When: April 2-June 20
  • Where: 108 Contemporary, 108 E. Reconciliation Way

My Soul Looks Back and Wonder How I Got Over” is a thoughtful visual dialogue that uses art to examine how the pervasiveness of a collective past informs our present, and how the persistence of hope and collective purpose positively redeems us to our present, and our future. Hill and Huckaby use collage and fiber and for this specific body of work are influenced by the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.” Continue reading

THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH

  • When: May 7-June 1
  • Where: Liggett Studio, 314 S. Kenosha Ave.

“In response to the 1921 Massacre, 100 years ago, Liggett Studio will present an exhibition of new artworks created by Tulsa African-American Artists. We asked them to:  TELL THE WORLD THROUGH YOUR 4-5 ARTWORKS HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED 100 YEARS AGO WITH THE EVENT CALLED THE “1921 TULSA RACE MASSACRE”.  And the exhibit will be their expressions.” More information available here.

The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection

  • When: May 22-June 2021
  • Where: Gathering Place, 2600 S. Riverside Dr.

Gathering Place and Greenwood Cultural Center are hosting one of the largest and most prestigious African American art and history collections in the world beginning May 22 through June 2021 in the ONEOK Boathouse! This one-of-kind art installation is free to experience.

The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection is a traveling exhibition with a wide range of art and artifacts, including books, documents, photography, paintings, fine art, and personal belongings that tell the story of African American struggles, triumphs, and accomplishments from 1595 to present day. The collection is composed of more than 700 rare primary source historical objects and artifacts.

This is the first time the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection is on exhibit in Oklahoma! Its debut is made possible by Gathering Place in collaboration with the Greenwood Cultural Center.


1921 TULSA RACE MASSACRE CENTENNIAL COMMISSION Events

Some events are listed in the previous sections. Find additional events here.

DEDICATION OF PATHWAY TO HOPE

  • When: May 28, 5:21-7:21 p.m.
  • Where: John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, 321 N. Detroit Ave.

Join at 5:21 p.m. for the official ribbon-cutting for the new “Pathway to Hope” connecting the Greenwood District to John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park.

The event includes a march to the park and a program in the park after. Meet at Greenwood Ave. and I-244.

FAITH STILL STANDING – UNITY DAY

  • When: May 30-June 10

A statewide unity program for the community of faith to reflect on the history of the Greenwood District in conjunction with the 2021 Commemoration. Look for upcoming details here.

Remember + Rise

  • When: May 31, 4-8:30 p.m.
  • Where: ONEOK Field, 201 N. Elgin Ave.

Nationally televised event to commemorate the centennial with key speakers, musicians, and special guests.

Doors open at noon.
Main program starting at 4:00 p.m.

Ticket required for entry.
Parking may be limited with street closures in the area

This will be a socially distanced, outdoor event at OneOK Field in Greenwood with doors opening at noon and the main program starting at 4 p.m. The line-up of speakers will include national celebrities, renowned performers, and other VIPs from the nation’s capital.

Candlelight Vigil

  • When: May 31, 10:30-11:30 p.m.

A solemn ceremony commemorating the start of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Keep an eye out for additional details here.

Dedication of Greenwood Rising

  • When: Wednesday, June 2, 11:30 a.m.-2:29 p.m.
  • Where: Greenwood Rising, 10 N. Greenwood Ave., Suite 2021

Join the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission for the official unveiling of Greenwood Rising: The Black Wall Street History Center.


Tulsa City-County Library Events

Friendship Mattered Then! Friendship Matters Now!

  • When: May 11, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Zoom

Join us via Zoom for an inspiring presentation from Clifton Taulbert, author of “Eight Habits of the Heart: Embracing the Values That Build Strong Communities.” For 36 hours in 1921, friendship lost its way. Great harm was done to people and property. Black Wall Street disappeared in billowing clouds of smoke. Dreams were shattered and some forever. According to Clifton Taulbert, the embrace of genuine friendship cannot restore the lost past, but it can ensure a different future … one where 1921 will not be repeated and where all are respected, affirmed and included. “Over the past few months of this year, the history of Tulsa 1921 has been revisited as scores of people … writers, young people, dancers, lawyers, movies, books, students and librarians all lending their voices as history to be taught and lessons to be learned. We are all in search for that more perfect union — a way of living together that requires friendship. We must not allow friendship to lose its way.” Register online or email register@tulsalibrary.org to receive a Zoom invite for this event. Sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust.
More Information Here

Claudia Rankine on Citizen, Poetry and Past as Present

  • When: Thursday, June 17, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Virtual

Join renowned writer Claudia Rankine for a reading and conversation reflecting on her book “Citizen: An American Lyric,” winner of the 2014 National Book Award. “Citizen” powerfully reflects on racism in the United States. Rankine’s groundbreaking prose poem interweaves personal testimony, representations of events in mass media and contemporary art. As Rankine writes, “You can’t put the past behind you. It’s buried in you; it’s turned your flesh into its own cupboard. Not everything remembered is useful but it all comes from the world to be stored in you.” This virtual, free program is an NEA Big Read event. In partnership with Fulton Street Books, Magic City Books, PEN America, Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa City-County Library and the Tulsa Library Trust. Register online or email register@tulsalibrary.org to receive a Zoom invite.
More Information Here


Additional Events

Cycling the GAP: Sustainability Ride, with Tulsa Artist Fellowship

  • When: May 1, 3-5 p.m.
  • Where: Guthrie Green, 111 E. Reconciliation Way

This 4-mile ride will explore sustainability in North Tulsa as it relates to green building, urban forestry, community gardening, and native food foraging.

Leaving from Guthrie Green, the ride will first stop in at The Joinery, a sustainable building project on Denver Avenue in The Heights, where we will meet with Nathan Pickard, the founder of the project. From there, riders will follow Bradley Dry, a Tulsa-based, Cherokee Chef, as he takes us to his favorite places in North Tulsa to harvest wild-growing, edible plants. The ride will then stop by Emerson Community Garden to learn about the history and mission of the garden from farmer Braden Pickard. Finally, the ride will culminate with a tasting of locally foraged foods prepared by Chef Dry.

Don’t have a bike but want to join? Tulsa Hub has you covered! Email Olivia Cotter at olivia@tulsahub.org for more info.

Have a bike that needs some road ready maintenance? Tulsa Hub has got you there too! Just show up at Guthrie Green around 2pm for basic bike maintenance and a road etiquette refresher!

Cycling the GAP – Infrastructure Ride, with Tulsa Artist Fellowship

  • When: May 8, 3-5 p.m.
  • Where: Guthrie Green, 111 E. Reconciliation Way

This ride will weave a route back and forth across the various highways that bisect North Tulsa from the rest of the city as a way of coming to terms with the impact of eminent domain and urban renewal efforts in Tulsa at large.

Departing from Guthrie Green, this approximate 8-mile loop will navigate some of the major highways that help create the north end of the Inner Dispersal Loop (IDL) including I-244 and 75, and brush up against the Tisdale Parkway and HWY 412. In addition to these massive infrastructure projects, this ride will also consider the UCAT Campus Corridor as a defining feature of the physical landscape of North Tulsa.

Along this casual, group-oriented bike ride, participants will stop at various locations to hear historical perspectives from local scholars and business leaders, culminating in a sound art installation and film projection underneath a highway overpass.

Don’t have a bike but want to join? Tulsa Hub has you covered! Email Olivia Cotter at olivia@tulsahub.org for more info.

Have a bike that needs some road ready maintenance? Tulsa Hub has got you there too! Just show up at Guthrie Green around 2pm for basic bike maintenance and a road etiquette refresher!

Ride meets at the NW corner of Guthrie Green.

Cycling the Gap: Black Art + Commerce Ride, with Tulsa Artist Fellowship

  • When: Saturday, May 15, 3-5 p.m.
  • Where: Guthrie Green, 111 E. Reconciliation Way

This ride will celebrate the continuum of black entrepreneurship and creativity that emanates from North Tulsa.
Starting from Guthrie Green, we’ll head to the heart of Black Wall Street where we’ll hear from upstart turned community staple, Silhouette Sneakers & Art before riding north into the Heights to Fulton Street Books & Coffee. From there we’ll stop by the studio of Antonio Andrews of No Parking Studios and then on to the future home BLACK MOON Collective along Charles Page Blvd.

Don’t have a bike but want to join? Tulsa Hub has you covered! Email Olivia Cotter at olivia@tulsahub.org for more info.

Have a bike that needs some road ready maintenance? Tulsa Hub has got you there too! Just show up at Guthrie Green around 2pm for basic bike maintenance and a road etiquette refresher!

Ride meets at the NW corner of Guthrie Green.

Magic City – An Evening with Jewell Parker Rhodes

  • When: May 4, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Virtual
Magic City Books and the Tulsa City-County Library are thrilled to welcome Jewell Parker Rhodes for a virtual author event in celebration of the reissue of her magnificent novel, Magic City.
With a new Afterword from the author reflecting on the 100th anniversary of one of the most heinous tragedies in American history–the 1921 burning of Greenwood, an affluent black section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as the Negro Wall Street–Jewell Parker Rhodes’ powerful and unforgettable novel of racism, vigilantism, and injustice, weaves history, mysticism, and murder into a harrowing tale of dreams and violence gone awry.
This free event will be hosted on the Zoom platform and Facebook Live. Find additional details here.

The Ground Breaking: Tulsa’s Search for Justice with Scott Ellsworth

  • When: May 18, 7-8 p.m.
  • Where: Virtual

Magic City Books proudly welcomes native Tulsan Scott Ellsworth for a virtual book launch event in celebration of his new book, THE GROUND BREAKING: AN AMERICAN CITY AND ITS SEARCH FOR JUSTICE.

The Ground Breaking is a chronicle of not only the horrific events of 1921 but also of the decades that were spent ignoring and outright denying the massacre that took place in Greenwood on May 31 and June 1, 1921. Ellsworth served as the chief historian on the Tulsa Race Riot Commission (1999-2000) and is chair of the committee leading the effort to identify the unmarked graves of victims of the 1921 riot for the upcoming 2021 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial. RSVP here.

An Evening with Don Lemon

  • When: May 23, 6 p.m.
  • Where: Virtual

Magic City Books is proud to welcome Don Lemon, host of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon for a virtual book event in celebration of his new book, This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends about Racism.

As America’s only Black prime-time anchor, Lemon’s daily monologues on racism and antiracism, on the failures of the Trump administration and of so many of our leaders, and on America’s systemic flaws speak for his millions of fans. Lemon was the leading voice on CNN guiding viewers through the death of George Floyd and a summer of nationwide protests and riots. Viewers relied on his nightly coverage to guide them through a global pandemic. Now, in an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, he shows us all how deep our problems lie, and what we can do to begin to fix them. Learn more here

The Victory of Greenwood with Carlos Moreno

  • When: May 24, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Virtual
The Victory of Greenwood​ endeavors to tell the story of Greenwood from the perspective of the heroes and entrepreneurs who built Greenwood and then rebuilt it after its destruction. Historians have published many books and articles about the days surrounding the 1921 Race Massacre, but Tulsa knows very little about the founding of Greenwood. We as a city know even less about Greenwood’s reconstruction. Against all odds, the neighborhood was built again, better than before, and became known as “Black Wall Street”.
Magic City Books welcomes author Carlos Moreno for a virtual event to celebrate his new book, The Victory of Greenwood on Monday, May 24 at 7:00 pm CT.
This free event will be hosted on the Zoom platform and Facebook Live. Additional details here.

2021 RECONCILIATION IN AMERICA NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM: “The Future of Tulsa’s Past:  The Centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre and Beyond”

  • When: May 26-29, 2021
  • Where: In-person and Virtual Options available

“Welcome to the 12th Annual Reconciliation in America National Symposium, “The Future of Tulsa’s Past:  The Centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre and Beyond.”  This year, we commemorate the centennial of the 1921 Race Massacre and have assembled celebrated authors, activists, educators, and journalists to discuss the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and how we can work toward the intentional journey of reconciliation.

By convening global scholars and practitioners, the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation hopes to promote a dialogue among those who work to bridge societal divides.” Register here.

MAKING WATCHMEN: with Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson

  • When: May 30, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Where: 700 N. Greenwood Ave.
BLACK WALL STREET LEGACY FESTIVAL in partnership with MAGIC CITY BOOKS presents an evening of shared experience and conversation on the lawn with WATCHMEN creator Damon Lindelof and Emmy-winning writer CORD JEFFERSON.
Learn more here.

Greenwood Film Festival

  • When: June 12-14
  • Where: Greenwood Cultural Center and Circle Cinema

“Greenwood Film Festival will not just commemorate the tragic events of 1921, but continue to build a strong and vibrant art, culture, and film community in the Greenwood District. The Festival will give local filmmakers and others a platform to connect with their community, encourage identity, increase film-making skills, ownership, and engage in hot topics in the Let’s Talk Panels. Tickets can be purchased www.greenwoodfilmfestival.com.” Learn more here.

Tulsa Juneteenth Festival

  • When: June 17-19
  • Where: Greenwood Ave., Tulsa

“The Tulsa Juneteenth Festival commemorates African American freedom, emphasizes education, celebrates the rich heritage of Greenwood, encourages healthy and active lifestyles, and advocates community impact.” Learn more here.


Community Resources

Greenwood Cultural Center

The Greenwood Cultural Center has a page of educational resources, including survivor videos, lesson plans and more.

John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park

Visit the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park to learn about African Americans’ role in Oklahoma’s history, leading up to and beyond the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Greenwood Rising (opening June 2021)

“A state-of-the-art history center located at the heart of Tulsa’s Greenwood District honoring the legacy of Black Wall Street before and after the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.”

YWCA Tulsa’s Black-Owned Business Directory 

The YWCA Tulsa has published a list of local, Black-owned businesses, including non-profits, retail, health & beauty, restaurants, etc.

Books by Local Authors

These books can help parents talk with their kids about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

 

Categories: things to do