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EXPERIENCE GREENWOOD


Visitors explore the history of Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District and connect to the spirit of its Black citizens through an immersive journey that uses projection mapping, holographic effect, and environmental media.

The experience brings to life the memories of the past and the visions of success for the future and catalyzes important dialogue around racial reconciliation and restorative justice.

 
 
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EXPERIENCE BLACK WALL STREET

 

Greenwood Rising is the specific story of the dignity of a people who turned trials, tribulations, and tragedy into a triumph of the human spirit.

Meet the people behind Greenwood’s early success, exploring personal stories of entrepreneurship and bringing Historic Greenwood to life through oral and written histories.

We highlight and connect the men and women who built the Greenwood District, including O. W. Gurley, J. B. Stradford, Simon Berry, A. C. Jackson, B. C. Franklin, John and Loula Williams, Mabel B. Little, A. J. Smitherman, Ellis Walker Woods, and J. D. Mann.

 

THE GREENWOOD SPIRIT

 

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The Greenwood Spirit explores the early placemaking of Greenwood — how Native American, African American, and European American communities often collided, and sometimes connected, in a land that mirrored the race-based policy and practice that dominated the nation.

Visitors cross the train tracks to meet district founders and learn about Greenwood’s early placemaking and economic rise. A projection mapped film shows the building of Greenwood brick by brick.


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LIFE IN THE GREENWOOD DISTRICT

A period barbershop comes to life with holographic barbers who engage the visitors with the hopes, dreams, and activity of folks in early Greenwood

 
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THE ARC OF OPPRESSION


The Arc of Oppression frames the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and subsequent changing fortunes of the community through the lens of a centuries-long period of anti-Blackness in America and systemic oppression grounded in laws and customs, and rooted in social, political, and economic systems.

 
 
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INTRODUCTION & CONTENT WARNING

The Arc of Oppression section begins with a content warning that supports visitors with information around recognizing triggers and coping with historical racial trauma.

Visitors may enter an “emotional exit” corridor that bypasses potentially triggering content while providing key historical information, or progress into the Systems of Anti-Blackness space.

 

SYSTEMS OF ANTI-BLACKNESS IN AMERICA

Monumental imagery and embedded casework make plain the political, economic, and social systems of anti-Blackness that created the conditions for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Events are focused on Tulsa but framed in the national context and key features include artifacts of control and violence like slave shackles and a robe from the domestic terrorist organization, the Ku Klux Klan.

The final wall in the Systems of Anti-Blackness space chronologically catalogues the events leading up to and the hours of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

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THE 1921 TULSA RACE MASSACRE

Visitors immediately step into the cacophony of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Projected onto multiple surfaces, environmental motion graphics immerse visitors in the destruction and violence of the night, while they listen to the recorded memories of survivors.

The backsides of the projection surfaces offer insight into the experiences of different community members like the African Blood Brotherhood and white witnesses.

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IMMERSIVE MEDIA

Visitors immediately step into the cacophony of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Projected onto multiple surfaces, environmental motion graphics immerse visitors in the destruction and violence of the night, while they listen to the recorded memories of survivors.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS

The backsides of the projection surfaces offer insight into the experiences of different community members like the African Blood Brotherhood and white witnesses.


IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH & REBUILDING

A band that wraps the back of the Massacre space holds stories, images, and artifacts relating to the immediate Aftermath & Rebuilding efforts, and highlights notable Survivors & Rebuilders.

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CHANGING FORTUNES


A split-screen graphic contrasts a Greenwood District street view during its heyday with photos from after Urban Renewal, framing the theme of the district’s Changing Fortunes. 

A bold, interpretive installation of Greenwood business signs anchors the exhibit space. The installation profiles key community members while flickering lights and various states of (dis)repair reference the ebbs and flows of economic success following the Massacre.

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INTERACTIVE DISPLAYS

Key moments in Greenwood’s history after the Massacre show how the community succeeded but also struggled to live through its legacy of historical racial trauma. Stories push and pull out from the wall, showing the constant duality of experiences.

 
 

JOURNEY TOWARD RECONCILIATON


The Journey Toward Reconciliation is an open and programmed space that asks visitors to come together in the spirit of racial reconciliation and restorative justice to share hopes, fears, and strategies for resilience while forging a new identity.

 
 
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DIALOGUE SPACE

Greenwood Rising’s final space focuses on restorative justice and contemporary issues of anti-Blackness. Flexible media and graphics inform an environment designed for dialogue and ongoing personal and community work.

Through its materials and treatment, the introduction immediately signals to visitors that this is a different kind of space — one of open communication and messy, sustained work. A welcoming seating area invites visitors to sit with their experience of the history galleries and start a dialogue with other visitors. Projected conversation prompts help guide dialogue around racial reconciliation.

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COMMITMENT SPACE

Visitors end their journey by making a personal and actionable commitment toward racial reconciliation. An LED brick activates upon submission, adding visitors’ voices to the community wall of past commitments, which extends into a display of grassroots donor plaques.

 
 
 
 
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The Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission engaged Local Projects to develop and execute an experience design for the history center located at the heart of Tulsa’s Greenwood District. Beginning with a series of onsite workshops and interviews in Tulsa in July 2019, the team worked in close collaboration with the Greenwood Rising project team, Selser Schaefer Architects, and key community stakeholders to develop the following experience.

Beginning with a series of onsite workshops and interviews in Tulsa in July 2019, the team worked in close collaboration with the Greenwood Rising project team, Selser Schaefer Architects, and key community stakeholders to develop the following experience.

Through a number of mediums, media, and physical, the history center invites visitors to explore the early placemaking, hardships, and successes of the historic Greenwood District. Visitors will connect to the spirit and resiliency of the district and use this experience as a catalyst for important dialogue around racial reconciliation and restorative justice.

 
 
 
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