At the heart of the Greenwood District lies Black Wall Street, located on Archer & Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Black Wall Street has historically been known for the success of black-owned businesses in the early 1900s, and the tragedy of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 that burned down the entire neighborhood, leaving it devasted with roughly $200,000,000 worth of damages (1). As I walked down the road, I noticed plaques embedded in the concrete, with the names of the businesses that had been burned down during the Tulsa Race Massacre. Some, reopened. Others, not. To this day, $2,719,745.61 of financial claims are left unpaid.
On the corner of Archer & Greenwood is the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce. Noticing they were having an art exhibit, I popped in to take a peek. Eddye K Allen was displaying her works. The Greenwood District, located right next to the Arts District, doesn’t just have a rich legacy, but it also has a hot art scene. The Black Wall Street Gallery, located just diagonally across from the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, is currently holding several exhibits and will be open 1 – 6 PM from Wednesday – Sunday. One of those exhibits is the Healing Series by Eddye K Allen.
Another African-American artist renown in the Tulsa area is Charica Daugherty. She can often be found painting at her favorite coffee shop, Nordaggio’s. Her art exhibit “Black Victorians” was shown at the Black Wall Street Gallery, too. However, I went to her art show at the TAC Gallery June of 2019.
Last year, in February, the Gilcrease Museum displayed an art exhibit showcasing art created by black artists in February of 2020. The Greenwood Art Project is a pop-up style art show celebrating black artists throughout Tulsa. I concluded my stroll through Greenwood by visiting the beautiful Black Wall Street mural by the Greenwood Cultural Center, known as the “keeper of the flame” of the Black Wall Street era (2).
As I drove back home, I came across a fence that had been painted with statements such as the famous Martin Luther King, Jr. quote “I have a dream”. I have an appreciation for art because it records history, conveys feelings, and tells a story. Old and young alike relate to it and have the ability to create it. Art should never be downplayed or forgotten. Rather, it represents humanity in pictography. Recognizing that art is an important expression of human creativity should come as no surprise, as we are made in God’s image, and He is the ultimate Creator. I love how art invites us into someone else’s view and someone else’s world, and I am grateful that Tulsa is celebrating its value.