Monday, June 21, 2021

Jim crow behind the scenes

The city of Tulsa, Okla, spread hell on Earth 100 years ago this month when it formed part of the mob that looted and burned Greenwood’s affluent African-American community. When the carnage ceased, perhaps more than 300 basil died. Thirty-five square blocks of homes, churches and schools – along with the one-storey business district known as Black Wall Street – were systematically burned and turned into ashes.

By creating “Opal’s Greenwood Oasis” and “Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre” for young people, the authors of two new picture books remind us that many who survived the fiery conflict of 1921 were children at the time.

Kinney Booker was 8 years old. Seventy-five years later, he remembers hiding in the attic, while white watchdogs drove his father away at gunpoint and set fire to the house. As Kinney and her siblings ran through the streets, where utility poles were also burning, her panicked younger sister asked, “Kinney, is there a fire in the world?” He replied, “I don’t think so, but we are in deep trouble.” Elsewhere in Greenwood, 6-year-old Olivia Hooker heard that she understood the hail, but soon discovered that it was bullets. After the hookers were driven away from their home, the white robbers snatched the valuables from them, destroying what they could not carry. Ellwood Lett was 4½. His family had almost escaped in his grandfather’s wagon, but ran after a white man who used the N-word and shot Elwood’s grandfather. “My mother screamed,” he recalled in the 1990s: “Oh, you killed my father, you killed him,” and I thought he was going to do the same to my mother. “

African-Americans arrived in Oklahoma in the first half of the 19th century as a property on the tears. Enslavement to americans – And later Exodus, designated for the exodus of African-Americans from the white supremacist South. Yet Americans raised with the Hollywood version of history are often surprised to find that there was a significant Black presence on the border and the economic power of a black elite including Greenwood doctors, lawyers, hoteliers, real estate developers and newspapers There was a Mecca. Editor

These sensitively written, beautifully illustrated books restore this often extinct history, explaining the tragedy that is appropriate for children. Both books depict a lovingly tried, closely-knit Greenwood enclave as it appeared on the eve of its destruction.

The author of “Opal’s Greenwood Oasis,” Najah-Amatullah Hilton and Quraysh Ali Lansana, is both a poet and teacher with deep ties to Oklahoma and Tulsa. Skipp Hill’s emotionally resonant, collage-style illustrations reflect the influence of artist Romare Bairden.

The book introduces Opal Brown, a delightful young girl in pigtail who is full of pride as she has just learned cycling. Sitting on the bike, with a classic wicker cast basket attached to the handlebar, Opel announced that he had “just finished third grade” at Greenwood in 1921. Describing her beloved community, she says: “In Greenwood, we have everything we need, and you might be surprised to know that everyone looks like me.” As she leaves for her mother at work – her first ride alone – Opal gives us an overview of Greenwood. Black families are preparing food and setting tables for the annual Memorial Day picnic. Joyful celebration is heart-wrenching for adult readers who know about the Holocaust.

In “Unspeakable”, acclaimed children’s author Carol Boston Weatherford continues her exploration of African-American history, earning her three Caldecott honors, including “Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom,” And “a Newberry honor for”. Box: Henry Brown reconciled himself to freedom. “His ancestors had gone through a period of white supremacist terrorism, which Tulsa was an example of.

Award-winning painter Floyd Cooper was born and raised in Tulsa, where none of his teachers ever mentioned the massacre. He learned it on Grandpa’s knee.

Weatherford is directly related to racist theories of segregation. She explains that the rail tracks that separated the white city from black were symbols of laws that forbade marriages across racial lines and called “segregated neighborhoods, schools, phone booths, and railroads and streetcar coaches” .

Like “Opal’s Greenwood Oasis”, “Unspeakable” celebrates the rich world that Greenwood created behind the Jim Crow curtain. Weatherford describes the enclave’s all-black school system as a place where “some people say that black children get a better education than whites” and portrays the black business strip as a resort Where men and women have worked in the white city, strolling in their finest, being watched and watched: “Thursday’s boom in Miss Mabel’s Little Rose Beauty Salon when maids working for white families spend their days Got on vacation and straggled up and down Greenwood Avenue in style. The Soda Fountain at Williams Confectionery was the backdrop for the wedding proposals. “

Some of the people who created Black Wall Street were examples of what white supremacists called “bad negroes”. He refused to bend and scrape, and defended his rights with a pistol if necessary. This made the black city within the city a curse for white tulsans, who saw black money as an insult, and “there is evidence that African-Americans can gain as much, if not more, than whites.” “

The hatred of the breed began when a young black man shining shoes in the white city was falsely accused of assaulting a young white woman working as a lift operator. The white people who hoped to see the black man hanging on, clashed with the black men who had come to stop the lynchings. The powers that be used this episode as an excuse to scramble Greenwood.

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