Karlos K. Hill

Apr 30, 2021

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

A Photographic History

University of Oklahoma Press 2021

On the evening of May 31, 1921, thousands of white Oklahomans assaulted the Greenwood District of the city of Tulsa. In what would come to be known as the Tulsa Race Massacre, dozens of Black residents were killed and thousands more displaced as armed whites looted their homes and businesses before burning them to the ground.

Karlos K. Hill’s The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: A Photographic History (University of Oklahoma Press, 2021) provides a visual record of the attack upon the community and the destruction it wrought upon the neighborhood, along with pictures of the aftermath and the testimony of the survivors. 

As Hill’s images reveal, Greenwood had established itself as the most prosperous Black community in the United States prior to the massacre. This prosperity was a source of resentment for many whites, and fueled much of the anger reflected in the massacre. Yet Hill’s photos also reveal the resilience of a community, as in the aftermath of the devastation the residents of Greenwood rallied to rebuild much of what had been destroyed, serving as a foundation for further prosperity in the decades that followed.

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