Black Wall Street–100 years later

hostility-sculpture-in-tulsa-3910356_1920

Hostility Sculpture in Tulsa, Oklahoma

(Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

(Dr. Martin Luther King)

My first introduction to Black Wall Street came when I served as a panelist for a Florida State University (FSU) Black Student Union (BSU) program.  The students invited me to enhance their professional development program, but I got a history lesson I did not expect or know I needed.

I love working with college students because they bring a passion for subjects they are interested in and that passion keeps them curious and intent on growing daily. My role on the panel was to help BSU students understand how to present themselves when networking for future career opportunities.  We got that process going and had a good question and answer session with lots of input from the students in attendance.

One of the students present asked the moderator why the activities for the week was labeled Black Wall Street?  The response is where my education on the subject began.

The BSU leaders saw Black History Month as the perfect time to educate its members and guests on important periods, i.e., The Harlem Renaissance, Black Wall Street, Black Excellence and Black Power.  I was familiar with each of the periods identified for the month except Black Wall Street.  I assumed this was BSU’s way to show members how to build financial freedom and eventually make their way to Wall Street (NYC).  I was wrong and totally missed the boat on the meaning of Black Wall Street.

The BSU leadership wanted to show members how financial freedom could be gained by following the blueprint laid out by the founders of the true Black Wall Street in Greenwood, Oklahoma (Tulsa).  I had never heard of Black Wall Street, Greenwood, Oklahoma or the massacre that happened there in the early 1920’s.  My students were more than happy to fill me in on another history lesson I never received during my formal education programs—this seems to be a common theme with American history.

The concept a black town in Oklahoma was self-sufficient in the 1920’s seemed unreal at first but decided to learn more after talking with students.  I consider myself a lifelong learner and this was another educational journey I needed to fully see the great things that happened on Black Wall Street prior to the massacre.

O.W. Gurley was a prominent figure who relocated to the Greenwood district and purchased land which then could only be sold to people of color.  This was Gurley’s vision to establish a place for the black population.  Most of his businesses were frequented by black migrants fleeing the oppression of the Mississippi delta.  Gurley worked with others to pool their financial resources and support the thriving businesses being developed in Greenwood.  The residents of Black Wall Street were doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. The success of the black residents of Greenwood played a role in the 1921 massacre because of the jealousy of their white neighbors in nearby Tulsa.

My Black Wall Street education increased my knowledge of this important period of Black History and led me to dig deeper on the actual massacre.  The news program, 60 Minutes did a report on Black Wall Street and the massacre a few years ago.  This led to additional investigations and a team has been formed to find and excavate hidden graves to bring closure for descendants of the massacre victims.  This painful piece of American history continues to garner interest and my hope is we never experience something like this again.

Learn more about what happened in Greenwood here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/antoinegara/2020/06/18/the-bezos-of-black-wall-street-tulsa-race-riots-1921/#65183f08f321

60 Minutes program on Greenwood, Oklahoma:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA8t8PW-OkA

“History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own”.

(Michelle Obama)

Note:  This was a repost.  My mentor thought it was timely to put this in front of readers again.  It has been 100 years and this injustice is finally getting national attention.

Knowledge is power–Ms. Evers boys

blood-1813410_1920

(Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity”.

(Dalai Lama)

The Walk into the Future blog was able to expand to tackle racial injustice in 2020.  The COVID-19 pandemic has adjusted how we interact with others but 2020 provided additional opportunities for the world to view social justice from a new lens.

The younger generation calls this new view as being WOKE.  Merriam Webster.com identifies woke is increasingly used as a byword for social awareness.

The multiple instances of injustice we witnessed in 2020 AND past events provided the Walk into the Future blog with a new level of being woke—this platform has become a place for me to express frustrations, outrage, and fear.  It has also allowed me to learn about past injustices and how they impacted the lives of others who had to live through the experiences.

2020 provided an awakening to the continued injustices for folks like George Floyd, Breana Taylor, Ahmaud Abery and Jacob Blake.  Some if these injustices were recorded and we got a chance to see what really happened not what authorities wanted to hide from the public as they normally do. 

2020 also provided me with a level of curiosity to research past injustices to educate myself and readers about things most Americans had never heard about:  Black 14, Black Wall Street, Rosewood, Florida, and Why Black Lives Matter.  I was able to learn about each of these topics and generate a blog article to share what I discovered.  A lot of my blog followers had never heard of these and want to learn more—this allows me to keep looking for topics to help ensure these injustices are never forgotten and I am hopeful they will not be repeated.

Ms. Evers boys

Why are some minorities fearful of getting vaccines?

Seems like a simple question but the answer will surprise a lot of people who have never heard about the Tuskegee Study which ran from 1932 – 1972 before the unethical treatment of black men in Macon County, Alabama was ended.  The study (lab experiment) was conducted on 600 black men in the rural county, and they were told they had bad blood which was used to trick them into participating in the study. 

The study was designed to observe what happens with untreated syphilis in the body of black men. Let’s repeat that, the study was designed to see the impact of syphilis on black men who were never told what they had or if they were receiving an actual treatment to cure the disease (they were not).  The government used these men as lab subjects to see how the disease would ravage the human body.  No truth, no treatment, no compassion, and no concern for these men by the U.S. government.  Sounds just like what we witnessed in 2020, huh?

My first knowledge of this American experiment on black men was when the 1997 movie, Ms. Evers Boys was released.  This movie depicts the experiences of the black nurse who was brought in to help convince the men to continue to come in for treatment.  The term bad blood was suggested by Eunice Evers and was used to highlight the need for the men to come in to be treated.  The process continued even when it was discovered in 1947 that penicillin was an effective treatment for syphilis.  The government officials running the Tuskegee Study were not interested in curing the men but watching how the disease impacted the body of black men.

The Tuskegee Study experiment on black men was ended in 1972 when news articles were published detailing what the government was doing down in Alabama. 

A $10 million dollar settlement was reached in 1974 for the survivors and families of deceased study participants.  Imagine the physical and mental damage done to these people by the governmental study?

This is one study we know about. 

How many others has the American government conducted? 

Do you understand why some people are afraid of the American government vaccine programs? 

“Distrust and caution are the parents of security”.

(Benjamin Franklin)

Learn more here:

Yes, there are two Americas!

Protest

(Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

“What the mob did to our Senate Chamber today was an utter disgrace”.

(US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien)

Really tried not to write about what happened in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021 but the more I viewed the chaos and mayhem on Capitol Hill I knew the Walk into the Future blog had to say something—could not stay silent. 

The entire episode can be summarized:  I told you!

America #1

Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in 2020 were met with uneven police and National Guard force.  Peaceful protestors who were mostly black and brown were physically moved, restrained, beaten, and arrested while in the streets of America.  The protests were focused on the many injustices committed against black and brown Americans.  The nation finally rose to say this kind of treatment of our people must stop.

Counter protesters did not understand or want to understand what the BLM movement wanted to accomplish.  We had a sitting US President identify peaceful marchers as:  thugs, criminals, people who did not love this country and agitators. 

America was built as told in our history books on people standing up and voicing their opinions on how to improve this country.  It seems every time black people want to march for rights, freedom, and equality we are labeled as less than.  Why is that?  America is America so we are told but it continues to be one sided and it appears my people are always on the wrong side of the issue, police club, police bullet, police beating, police knee on the neck, neighborhood watch with guns in a pickup truck, etc.  I could go on but believe the American picture has been painted by now.

Let us take a quick trip all the WAY back to June 2020—does not seem to be too far to travel, huh?

The former President of the United States tweeted:  Anarchists, Agitators or Protestors who vandalize or damage our Federal Courthouse in Portland, or any Federal Buildings in any of our Cities or States, will be prosecuted under our recently re-enacted Statues & Monuments Act.  MINIMUM TEN YEARS IN PRISON.  Don’t do it! @DHSgov.

So, when BLM protestors wanted to march for rights and against injustice they were tweeted at by the former President and threaten with prison time for something they had not and did not do.  Interesting concept, huh.  I highlighted the word ‘any’ from Trump’s tweets to show the level of hypocrisy we continue to put up with in this country.  It is beyond sad to live with the double standards America throws at us daily. 

“What happened today in Washington, DC is definitely not American”.

(French President Emmanuel Macron)

America #2

I could sum up America #2 with the word privilege.  I could also link video here of the former President of the United States and his family commanding so called patriots to march to Capitol Hill and demand the legal vote be overturned.  We should go ahead and call these people what they truly are:  insurrectionists. This was an insurrection—no other way to view what happened.

The US has a Constitution and the duly elected officials at the Capitol were following the words written in the Constitution on certifying the results from the Presidential election.  Not surprising Trump, his family and friends did not understand they could not just wish for a different election result and make the Constitutional process go away.

The privileged mob left their ignorant leader and marched down to the Capitol to demand law makers stop doing their duties.  I am sure a lot of these privileged fools thought they were doing the right thing and believed they could stop Congress from doing their jobs.  This mob mentality may also be an indictment on the American educational system.  History classes discuss the basics of the Constitution, but all Americans should know the checks and balances of the governmental process on elections.

It appears privileged people do not want to hear reason or logic.  They would rather feaster in conspiracy theories and then claim someone is taking their country away.  They must take it back!

Fast forward and the privileged Americans decided to storm the Capitol to demand the legal election be overturned so they can keep their President!  Let me repeat that, Americans stormed the US Capitol.  They fought, assaulted, and terrorized Capitol police who were severely outmanned by the privileged crowd of Trump supporters.  This mob then entered the chambers of Congress looking for elected officials to include the Vice President because they were upset with the election results, someone took their country and they wanted to keep their President.

CNN articles on the insurrection

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/13/politics/notable-arrests-capitol/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/17/us/capitol-riot-racial-justice-blake/index.html

So, why do I keep using the word privileged?  Great question! 

These people stormed Capitol Hill, beat up police, hunted for elected officials and did not feel the need to hide their identities!  They ransacked the halls of Congress and took selfies, videos and some conducted interviews and did not fear people recognizing them.  No masks, disguises, hoodies, or anything to hide their identities.  Some stated the Capitol belonged to them and it was their right to be there—amazing things happen in America #2 for the privileged folks who live there!  They were not beaten, pepper sprayed, physically removed, arrested on the spot, flash banged, and no helicopters used for crowd control.  We saw all these tactics with BLM peaceful protesters. 

I presented a court argument in a post on August 27, 2020:

https://walkintothefuture.blog/2020/08/27/black-lives-matter-role-call/

A black man in Georgia (Ahmaud Arbery) cannot go for a run without being attacked and killed but a privileged mob can walk in and out of the Capitol?

A black man in Minneapolis (George Floyd) can have a cop’s knee on his neck for 9 minutes and 46 seconds but a privileged mob can hunt for elected officials in the Capitol and then go home?

A black woman in Louisville (Breonna Taylor) can be shot in her bed by cops with a no-knock warrant but Capitol police removed barricades to make the privileged mob’s path easier to get to elected officials?

I could go on with my 2021 trial, but the verdict remains the same:  guilty, guilty, and guilty!

One of my favorite scenes from the 1996 movie, A Time to Kill happens when Matthew McConaughey’s character conducts his closing argument to defend his client charged with murder.  In this scene he asks the jury to close their eyes and then he goes over why his client was charged with murder.

So, let us try a little experiment.  Close your eyes and imagine a mob being riled up and told repeatedly they were being lied to, things were being taken from them and they should march to the halls of Congress and take back what belongs to them.  Imagine this mob rushes the US Capitol, assaults police officers, hunts for elected officials and destroys federal property. 

Now, imagine this mob was black!  How many black and brown people would have died on January 6, 2021 if we did the exact same thing?

Now you officially know what privilege looks like!  Class dismissed!

“History will rightly remember today’s violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation”.

(Former US President Barack Obama)


Congratulations to President Biden!

Poetic Fridays

(Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay)

 

The Revolution is being televised

The Revolution is being televised

America can no longer hide behind the lies

We see the injustices daily

The same ones that leave us flailing

Just like we had when we sang ‘We shall overcome’

How long does the revolution need to go on?

Before the injustices of this land come to an end

Lucky for us the cameras have begun to roll

Because without the footage nobody would believe the carnage

That occurs daily and causes fear

That continues to show on the nightly news

Even though the perpetrators know they are recorded

The Revolution is being televised

But, does it matter?

Black Wall Street

hostility-sculpture-in-tulsa-3910356_1920

Hostility Sculpture in Tulsa, Oklahoma

(Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

(Dr. Martin Luther King)

My first introduction to Black Wall Street came when I served as a panelist for a Florida State University (FSU) Black Student Union (BSU) program.  The students invited me to enhance their professional development program, but I got a history lesson I did not expect or know I needed.

I love working with college students because they bring a passion for subjects they are interested in and that passion keeps them curious and intent on growing daily. My role on the panel was to help BSU students understand how to present themselves when networking for future career opportunities.  We got that process going and had a good question and answer session with lots of input from the students in attendance.

One of the students present asked the moderator why the activities for the week was labeled Black Wall Street?  The response is where my education on the subject began.

The BSU leaders saw Black History Month as the perfect time to educate its members and guests on important periods, i.e., The Harlem Renaissance, Black Wall Street, Black Excellence and Black Power.  I was familiar with each of the periods identified for the month except Black Wall Street.  I assumed this was BSU’s way to show members how to build financial freedom and eventually make their way to Wall Street (NYC).  I was wrong and totally missed the boat on the meaning of Black Wall Street.

The BSU leadership wanted to show members how financial freedom could be gained by following the blueprint laid out by the founders of the true Black Wall Street in Greenwood, Oklahoma (Tulsa).  I had never heard of Black Wall Street, Greenwood, Oklahoma or the massacre that happened there in the early 1920’s.  My students were more than happy to fill me in on another history lesson I never received during my formal education programs—this seems to be a common theme with American history.

The concept a black town in Oklahoma was self-sufficient in the 1920’s seemed unreal at first but decided to learn more after talking with students.  I consider myself a lifelong learner and this was another educational journey I needed to fully see the great things that happened on Black Wall Street prior to the massacre.

O.W. Gurley was a prominent figure who relocated to the Greenwood district and purchased land which then could only be sold to people of color.  This was Gurley’s vision to establish a place for the black population.  Most of his businesses were frequented by black migrants fleeing the oppression of the Mississippi delta.  Gurley worked with others to pool their financial resources and support the thriving businesses being developed in Greenwood.  The residents of Black Wall Street were doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. The success of the black residents of Greenwood played a role in the 1921 massacre because of the jealousy of their white neighbors in nearby Tulsa.

My Black Wall Street education increased my knowledge of this important period of Black History and led me to dig deeper on the actual massacre.  The news program, 60 Minutes did a report on Black Wall Street and the massacre a few years ago.  This led to additional investigations and a team has been formed to find and excavate hidden graves to bring closure for descendants of the massacre victims.  This painful piece of American history continues to garner interest and my hope is we never experience something like this again.

Learn more about what happened in Greenwood here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/antoinegara/2020/06/18/the-bezos-of-black-wall-street-tulsa-race-riots-1921/#65183f08f321

60 Minutes program on Greenwood, Oklahoma:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA8t8PW-OkA

“History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own”.

(Michelle Obama)

 

Black Lives Matter Role Call

justice-2755765_1920

(Image by CQF-avocat from Pixabay)

Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything.   They just cry over their condition.  But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”

(Malcolm X.)

Guess it is time to get angry again.  Day after day we read of another black person being killed in America for no reason other than being black.  Terribly sad to keep writing this same line month after month after month.  We cannot go a month without another instance of police killing or shooting someone black simply because they are black.

American politicians condemn OTHER countries for violating the human rights of their citizens but have nothing to say when black people are brutalized in America.  The Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un receives the wrath of the American political system when he imprisons his citizens for no cause but police killing a black person in America gets nothing.  Weird world, huh?

Chinese troops storm Tiananmen Square in 1989 and killed over 300 Chinese citizens and three weeks later the U.S. CONGRESS votes to impose economic sanctions on the Peoples Republic of China.  The Chinese government brutalized Chinese citizens and the U.S. government was so appalled that we imposed sanctions and condemned the Chinese government.  Police killing black people in America gets nothing.

Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen is attacked, beaten, killed, and dismembered by officials of the Saudi Arabian government at the consulate in Turkey.  Multiple senators and congress members swiftly condemned this act and DEMANDED the Saudi government do something.  Black man gets shot in the back SEVEN times in Wisconsin gets nothing.

Citizens of Hong Kong protest for human rights against the Chinese government and the United States government passes the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on 27 November 2019.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1838/text.  Americans march daily for police reform, human rights, equal treatment and to stop the senseless killing of black people—no Human Rights and Democracy Act for the death of black Americans.  Would say that is a double standard but it is more joke than anything else.

Marching, praying, and voting have not ignited the change needed in America.  Maybe Malcolm X. was right all the time—we need our day in court at the United Nations to put America on trial for neglect of citizens.  The daily videos of black people being beaten, brutalized, and killed would present an open and shut case in a court of law.

My court argument would be:

  • How do you defend a cop’s knee on a black man’s neck (George Floyd) for 8 minutes and 46 seconds?
  • How do you defend Louisville cops with a no knock warrant shooting a black women (Breonna Taylor) who was in the BED?
  • How do you defend three Georgia overzealous citizens who run down, trap and then kill a black man (Ahmaud Arbery) out for a jog?
  • How do you defend a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer who shot a black man (Jacob Blake) 7 times in the BACK in front of his kids?
  • How do you plead America?

Verdict:  guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty. 

The defense rests, being black in America is an exhausting experience.

Please vote—thank you!

 “We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary”.

(Malcolm X.)

Why Black Lives Matter (BLM) matters today!

BLM

(Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay)

“Human rights are something you were born with.  Human rights are your God-given rights. Human rights are the rights recognized by all nations on earth.  And any time anyone violates your human rights, you can take them to court”.

(Malcolm X.)

Dictionary.com defines human rights as a right that is believed to belong justifiably to every person.

Interesting to hear politicians, everyday Americans and TV news programs talk about the Constitution but most only cite the Amendments that fit a small segment of society.  A lot of folks will scream for their Second Amendment rights even though it was written when the country did not have an Army and militias were needed to defend the country.  These same folks do not make a peep when the Fourteenth Amendment is brought up.

14th Amendment cliff notes version:  No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person in its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Fourteenth amendment seems clearer to me in today’s climate than arming a militia we do not need because we have professional armed services (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, Guard and Reserves).  Imagine if all Americans were treated equally as described in the Fourteenth amendment.  The world would be a better place right now.

Had a fantastic conversation with an older gentleman last week about all the things (protests, marches, etc.) going on after the death of George Floyd.  The gentleman is a retiree and he drives the customer shuttle part time for a local car dealership.  He was giving me a ride home after I dropped my vehicle off for repairs and wanted to discuss current events.  He let me know he wanted to talk with someone but did not know how to start.  He asked if I would be willing to talk with him so he would have a better understanding of current events.  Guess I made him feel comfortable because I had only been around him 10 minutes before he decided I was the chosen one to enlighten him.

He asked me two questions:

  • Why are people saying Black Lives Matter (BLM), shouldn’t all live matter?
  • Why are the confederate statues coming down so important today?

Explained to him the BLM movement is needed to highlight the injustices black people continue to face with no end in sight.  No one ever said all lives do not matter but BLM is a way to focus on people who have been marginalized, forgotten, abused, and brutalized since being brought to America.  The BLM movement keeps the continued injustices against black people in America at the forefront and signals we will not be quiet anymore.  Anyone who says All Lives Matter, White Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter have not been subjected to the same level of systemic racism, policing, sentencing, violence, government oversight and oppression as the people who need you to understand Black Live Matter!

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

I let my new friend know the confederate statues were routinely placed as racial dog whistles to a past that honored men who fought to continue slavery.  Most people do not know but a lot of these statues were put in place throughout the 1900’s.  The state of Arizona built a confederate monument in 2010.  Let me repeat that—the state of Arizona commissioned and placed a confederate monument in 2010!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Confederate_monuments_and_memorials

Placing these monuments in public places is a slap in the face of all Americans but is reprehensible for anyone who was subjected to slavery, cruelty and death at the hands of the men others are trying to honor with a heritage claim.  Does Germany or Japan have statues of American Generals who fought against their countries?  What would they think having to walk by statues of these people daily?

The confederates who are depicted by the statues fought against America!  They would be considered enemies if they were from a different country or race.  They were traitors against the American government and fought to keep black people as slaves, but some people want to hide behind a heritage claim for why these statues should remain.  They are a part of history but should not be given a higher regard than true American heroes who did not become traitors against their country.  Confederate generals, soldiers, sympathizers, and apologists are traitors to the American way of life.  Who would claim being a traitor as a heritage to be proud of?

My new friend and I departed after having a great conversation.  I am happy he felt comfortable enough to want to talk with me.  He let me know he would talk with his grand kids later that day to help them understand everything happening around them and become a better BLM ally.  Smalls steps on this journey!

Who can you help understand the BLM movement?  What support do you need to keep the conversation moving forward?

 “It’s a privilege to educate yourself about racism instead of experiencing it”.

(Sir John)