1921 TULSA RACE MASSACRE CENTENNIAL COMMISSION
Greenwood Rising is the legacy project of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. The Commission began in 2015 under the leadership of Senator Kevin Mathews dedicated to a vision of a stronger and more just Tulsa. The Centennial Commission reached out to and included key Greenwood District organizations—The Greenwood Cultural Center, the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, and the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation—as well as numerous other Greenwood leaders and community members to unite the Greenwood District to outline projects which would commemorate history, tell the whole Greenwood story and create opportunity.
Centennial Commission Members collectively identified five key areas of focus: (1) education; (2) arts and culture; (3) cultural tourism; (4) commemoration; and (5) economic development. These focus areas were chosen believing the first step in the process of reconciliation is knowledge and acknowledgment of the past. The team of over 30 people traveled to Montgomery to visit other examples of social justice institutions and met for months to determine the Commission’s defining work. The Centennial Commission then as a group developed a list of projects to be completed by 2021 that would meet the core purpose of truth-telling, educate the world about the history of Greenwood, and spur entrepreneurial opportunities.
Greenwood Rising is the flagship project of the Centennial Commission and was chosen to be built as the world-class history center located on the southeast corner of Greenwood and Archer, the gateway to Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District. Greenwood Rising honors the icons of Black Wall Street memorializes the victims of the massacre and examines the lessons of the past to inspire meaningful, sustainable action in the present.
The Hille Foundation and 21 North Greenwood, LLC, already in the process of developing the land, halted construction and moved the site of a planned mixed-use building to donate the land to the Centennial Commission. In addition to this generous gesture, the Hille Foundation has long been engaged with the Centennial Commission's work.
Many thanks to the Hille Foundation and 21 North Greenwood, LLC, for this extraordinary gift.
This truth-telling and education for all are aimed at repairing lingering historical racial trauma--working toward restoration--and charting a new, vibrant, inclusive course for the future. Most importantly, it will allow visitors to commit to racial justice and reconciliation and will educate the youth of tomorrow on race relations.
The Centennial Commission’s reconfigured Pathway to Hope connects the Greenwood Rising to John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park which remains a crucial part of the new Greenwood District experience.
CONTINUING THE WORK
The Commission will end its existence by June 30, 2021. Neither it nor any of its volunteer members will receive or have received any financial benefits from the projects or funds raised.
Greenwood Rising will be a new non-profit organization, governed by an independent board of directors who will manage the history center and oversee its programs and operations.
INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
A native of Ohio, Phil Armstrong has made Tulsa his home for more than 20 years. Armstrong has a varied background in the corporate sector and as an entrepreneur in the restaurant business and has been actively engaged in the community by serving on several non-profit boards, including the Barthelmes School for Music, Community Service Council, Reading Partners of Tulsa, and as chairman of the board for the Greenwood Cultural Center.
Armstrong holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Akron.
Phil will work with the Commission, its subcommittees, and key Greenwood District organizations to execute plans for the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Hannibal B. Johnson is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He did his undergraduate work at The University of Arkansas, where he completed a double major in economics and sociology. Johnson is an attorney, author, and independent consultant specializing in diversity & inclusion/cultural competence issues and nonprofit governance. Johnson has also served as an adjunct professor at The University of Tulsa College of Law (legal writing; legal ethics), Oklahoma State University (leadership and group dynamics; business law [MBA Program]), and the University of Oklahoma (ethics; cultural diversity; race & reason; The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot; nonprofit leadership & management).
Johnson serves on the federal 400 Years of African-American History Commission, a body charged with planning, developing, and implementing activities appropriate to the 400th anniversary of the arrival, in 1619, of Africans in the English colonies at Point Comfort, Virginia. He chairs the Education Committee for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.
James Parker is the Volunteer Programs Manager at Greenwood Rising. With years of experience working alongside community leaders, James is adept at building strong relationships and carving paths that increase access and opportunity for marginalized communities. James holds a B.A. in Media Studies from Northeastern State University where he also obtained a M.A. in Communication.
As a communication major, James examined the portrayal of people of color in the media, lack of positive representation of people of color in the media, and root causes of generational disparities. In his spare time, James is a professional photographer and advocate for holistic health and wellness.
DONOR & GRANTS
Clara comes to Greenwood Rising with a social work background, having earned a Master of Social Work from Delaware State University and has previous experience working with disenfranchised populations to address barriers to employment and overall well-being. She has also discovered and obtained funding from nationally and internationally recognized stakeholders for a social enterprise in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Additionally, Clara had the privilege of working with a Tulsa-local Black-owned business to secure funding for operational continuity and begin the certification process of gaining recognition as a Black-owned business at the State and Federal levels.
Clara’s time and heart are dedicated to the multifaceted empowerment of marginalized groups and commitment to the vibrancy of her community. In her spare time, Clara writes music, plays the guitar, and sings - even if it’s a little off-key!
ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR /
Calah McQuarters graduated from Howard University double majoring in Afro-American Studies and Political Science.
As a native Tulsan and graduate of Carver Middle School and Booker T. Washington High School, she has been fortunate to learn much over the years about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, but not so much about the success of Black Wall Street prior to and after 1921. This led her to write a senior thesis on the creation of Black Wall Street.
Learning about the history of Black Wall Street and sharing with her peers the genius and spirit of entrepreneurship and community that existed in Greenwood in the early 1900s. In the midst of a less than welcoming time and atmosphere has inspired her to imagine and work towards a restored sense of pride in North Tulsa and much-needed reconciliation across Tulsa, the state of Oklahoma, and the United States.
FOUNDING BOARD OF DIRECTORS
DR. DEBORAH GIST
HANNIBAL B. JOHNSON