From Multimedia Exhibits to Comics Panel , Artistic Events Across Oklahoma Mark Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial
With the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre less than a month away, one of the organizers of the city's official commemoration is amazed by the way the centennial is coming together — and bringing communities together.
"This has galvanized our city. It has coalesced the private sector, the nonprofit foundations, the community," said Phil Armstrong, project manager for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.
"There's not a sector or industry in Tulsa that has not stepped in either with checks and resources monetarily or with people or with volunteers. There's not one aspect of our city not being impacted right now ... and this is not a Tulsa thing. This is an Oklahoma thing."
The Tulsa Race Massacre was one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. Between May 31 and June 1, 1921, mobs of white residents attacked, set aflame and ultimately devastated the Greenwood District, which was at that time one of the wealthiest Black communities in the United States, earning it the name "Black Wall Street."
Several arts and cultural organizations are planning events to commemorate the centennial, with more expected to be added:
'The Greenwood Joy Experience'
Artist Dawn Tree's "Greenwood Joy Experience" is a multimedia exhibition featuring large-scale paintings, audio and visual elements and animation, all centered around the theme of joy for the African American in America. The one-hour immersive experience will show privately on select days through June 19, which is Juneteenth, at the Greenarch Building, 10 N Greenwood Ave. Tickets and information: http://www.utreep.com/greenwood-joy.
Oklahoma Contemporary's 'We Believed in the Sun' and 'Flight'
In conjunction with the centennial, Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, 11 NW 11, is celebrating the legacy of the Oklahoma City Civil Rights movement with the new exhibit "We Believed in the Sun," opening Thursday in its Mary LeFlore Clements Oklahoma Gallery. The exhibit pairs works by Oklahoma-born Ron Tarver, a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in photography, and Ebony Iman Dallas, an OKC-based painter.
Another Guggenheim Fellow, Crystal Z Campbell’s artist-in-residence installation, "Flight," a multimedia presentation that explores the physical, architectural and cultural residues of the 1921 race massacre, will be on view May 27-Aug. 31 at Oklahoma Contemporary. Information and tickets: https://oklahomacontemporary.org. Her first solo painting exhibition, "Notes from Black Wall Street (Or How to Project Yourself into the Future)," is on view Friday through July 25 at ahha Tulsa, 101 E Archer.
Tulsa Chorale's 'The Armed Man'
Tulsa Chorale will give outdoor concerts featuring Karl Jenkins’ “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace" at 5:30 and 7 p.m. Friday at ahha Tulsa. The performances can be attended in-person or live-streamed. Tickets and information: https://tulsachorale.org.
Theatre Tulsa's 'Greenwood: An American Dream Destroyed'
Theatre Tulsa, billed as the longest-lasting local theater west of the Mississippi River, will perform "Greenwood: An American Dream Destroyed" at 8 p.m. Saturday and May 15 and 3 p.m. Sunday and May 16 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center's Liddy Doenges Theatre, 110 E Second. Tickets and information: https://www.tulsapac.com/events/2021/greenwood-an-american-dream-destroyed.
Greenwood Art Project events
The Greenwood Art Project is an initiative of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission that involves numerous artists working on a variety of projects, from the Dark Town Strutters Ball on May 14 to the 2021 Centennial Parade on May 29. Information: https://www.greenwoodartproject.org/upcoming.
'Love & Harmony Oklahoma' at Myriad Gardens' Crystal Bridge
Curated by Tulsa's Gathering Place, the art installation "Love & Harmony Oklahoma" is on view for free through July 31 in the Visitor Center at the Myriad Botanical Gardens' Crystal Bridge (although the rest of the conservatory is closed for renovations), 301 W Reno. The exhibit celebrates the beauty of ethnic diversity and cultural differences through photography, murals, narratives and sound.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Crystal Bridge will host a talk about the race massacre with Oklahoma author Rilla Askew, who penned the award-winning novel "Fire in Beulah," from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 19. Information: myriadgardens.org.
Greenwood Theatrical Productions' 'Fire in Beulah' sneak peek
The fledgling Greenwood Theatrical Productions is working to mount a new play based on Askew's novel "Fire in Beulah," adapted for the stage by Marta Reiman, with music by Chris Combs and Johnny Polygon. An online sneak peek of scenes from the play is set for 7 p.m. May 21. Information: http://greenwoodtheatrical.org.
Philbrook's 'From the Limitations of Now' and 'Views of Greenwood'
The Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S Rockford Road, is hosting two exhibits that commemorate the anniversary, both on view through Sept. 5: "From the Limitations of Now," brings together local and national artists working in an array of media — from tapestries and video installations to beadwork and digital photographs — to explore America's past of violence and racial injustice and envision a changed future. "Views of Greenwood." showcases nearly 50 photographs of the Greenwood District by three Oklahoma photographers who, over the last 50 years, have explored change, loss and resilience within the neighborhood. Information and tickets: https://philbrook.org.
Tulsa Artist Fellowship Welcoming Session_Spring/Summer 2021
From a 1920’s speakeasy-themed official launch party for a new anthology to a forest preserve turned into a space for collective healing, several Tulsa Artist Fellows are addressing the centennial as part of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship Welcoming Session_Spring/Summer 2021, a series of art-centered public engagement events. The series, which takes place May through August, is free and open to the public. Information: https://www.tulsaartistfellowship.org/platform.
Fire in Little Africa in concert
Ahead of the May 28 release of its compilation album on Motown Records/Black Forum, members of the Oklahoma hip-hop collective Fire in Little Africa will perform live in concert May 21 at the Mercury Lounge, 1747 S Boston Ave. Information: https://www.facebook.com/fireinlittleafrica.
Circle Cinema's 'Tulsa Burning' screening
Circle Cinema, 10 S Lewis Ave., will host a special free screening of The History Channel's new documentary “Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre" at 2 p.m. May 22 ahead of the film's television premiere 7 p.m. May 30. The documentary was executive produced by NBA superstar and Oklahoma Hall of Famer Russell Westbrook and directed by Peabody and Emmy winner Stanley Nelson and duPont Award winner Marco Williams. The screening will include a video introduction from the directors, and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission will moderate a panel discussion with community leaders and activists following the two-hour film. Information and tickets: https://www.circlecinema.org.
'Remember + Rise'
'Remember + Rise' will be a nationally televised event to commemorate the centennial with key speakers, musicians and special guests May 31 at ONEOK Field, 201 N Elgin Ave. The event, which will follow COVID-19 safety protocols, will be free, but tickets will be required. Doors will open at noon, with the main program scheduled from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Information: https://www.tulsa2021.org/calendar/remember-and-rise.
Black Wall Street Legacy Festival
The Black Wall Street Legacy Festival is a series of events, dedications and programs, beginning with the race massacre anniversary and culminating with Juneteenth festivities. The festival will host "Watchmen" creator Damon Lindelof and writer Cord Jefferson for a conversation and screening on May 30 and PJ Morton, Grammy-winning musician and Maroon 5 keyboardist, on May 29. The festival is headlined by the last known massacre survivors — 106-year-old Lessie Benningfield “Mother” Randle, 106-year-old Viola “Mother” Fletcher, and 100-year-old Hughes Van Ellis — who will lead a procession and participate in an event honoring their legacy. Information: https://www.blackwallstreetlegacyfest.com.
Tulsa Children’s Museum of Art grand opening and inaugural exhibit
The Tulsa Children's Museum of Art, 700 N Greenwood Ave. on the OSU-Tulsa campus, will celebrate its grand opening at 9 a.m. June 1 with its inaugural exhibit "Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the 1921 Race Massacre: Through the Eyes of Children." Information: https://www.tulsachildrensmuseumofart.org.
'Bitter Root' comics panel
The under-construction Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture and the Greenwood Cultural Center are partnering to host a panel discussion focusing on the award-winning “Bitter Root” comic book series from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 2. Panelists will include the writers, artist and editor of “Bitter Root,” published by Image Comics. The event will be free and open to a limited public audience and will be streamed. Information and registration: https://www.facebook.com/OKPOPTulsa.
Greenwood Rising Dedication
The official dedication of Greenwood Rising: The Black Wall Street History Center is set for 11:30 a.m. June 2. The state-of-the-art history center located at the heart of Tulsa’s Greenwood District will honor the legacy of Black Wall Street before and after the race massacre. Information: https://www.tulsa2021.org.
'Tulsa '21: Black Wall Street'
World Stage Theatre Company presents "Tulsa '21: Black Wall Street," a play that weaves the narrative of the historical account of the massacre with true stories of people who live in Tulsa today. Performances are slated for June 3-13 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center's Liddy Doenges Theatre. Tickets and information: https://www.tulsapac.com/events/2021/tulsa21.
Tim Reid's Greenwood Film Series
World Stage Theatre Company will present actor, director, producer and comedian Tim Reid's Greenwood Film Series June 5 at Circle Cinema. The event will showcase Reid's documentary “Legacy of a People: The Day They Bombed the Promised Land” and his feature film “Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored,” based on the book by Tulsan Clifton Taulbert. It also will include a talkback, spoken word performance and two short films. This event is free and open to the public, but tickets must be secured at https://www.circlecinema.org.