In a time where black men and women worked hard to build their own communities by being entrepreneurs and economically independent they created “Black Wall Street” or Greenwood in Tulsa Oklahoma. A powerful community that took years to build was destroyed in 24 hours in 1921 with a death toll of over 300 black men, women, and children. Some historians estimate it was in the thousands.
History states a black shoeshine boy attacked a white hotel operator and the woman, who was white, ran from the elevator screaming. Other historians state the attack never happened but it was an excuse to destroy the burgeoning black community and wipe it from the map. The event was largely ignored and omitted by American history books. It was the most devastating race riot in American’s history. In an effort to rebuild the community every insurance claim was denied by the insurance companies for the damages that totaled over 2 million dollars in 1921. The community never recovered.