Inquiry-driven lesson plans and resources on the tulsa race massacre
To honor the Tulsa Race Massacre victims and their descendents we are pleased to share our lesson plans and resources. Thank you to the Greenwood Cultural Center for reviewing our curricular materials.
How Should We Remember the Tulsa Race Massacre?
How should we acknowledge the horrors of our past when we tell our history?
The goal of this unit is for students to explore how instruction of the Tulsa Race Massacre and Red Summer should be documented in history books. In doing so, students will first analyze cases of racial terror in the Post World War I era to identify causes, using the Tulsa Race Massacre as an example. Then, they look at the impact of historical trauma and the importance of discussing these events in collectively overcoming trauma. Students will then look at contemporary textbook accounts of Red Summer and the Tulsa Race Massacre to advise a textbook company on what they believe should, and should not, be included.
Has the City of Tulsa Made Amends for the Massacre?
Has the city of Tulsa made amends for the Tulsa Race Massacre? If yes, in what ways? If not, what do we need to do moving forward?
The goal of this unit is for students to consider when harm has been inflicted and the steps necessary to make amends. In the case of the Tulsa Race Massacre, students will first consider 1) the community prior to the massacre; 2) the costs inflicted by the massacre on the victims and their descendants; 3) the steps made towards reparative justice- in other cases and within Tulsa; and 4) whether amends have been made. If the amends have not been made, students will identify the steps they believe need to be taken, and by whom.
Is there Legal Standing for Reparations?
To what extent do the victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the descendants of victims have legal standing to receive reparations?
This unit centers on the question of whether the surviving victims of the Tulsa Race massacre, as well as the descendants of victims, have legal standing to receive reparations. This lesson gives students understanding of the extent of the damage from the Tulsa Race Massacre, the barriers that obstructed justice within the statute of limitations, and the resilience of Greenwood. This lesson explores methods in which reparations have been received in the past and why previous attempts for Tulsa Race Massacre victims to receive reparations failed. Students will analyze and evaluate primary and secondary sources to use as evidence to simulate providing legal counsel to plaintiffs of the Tulsa Race Massacre reparations case to determine whether or not they have legal standing to receive reparations.
Black Self-Defense Influencing the Tulsa Race Massacre
How did the increasing threat of mob justice and African American’s embracing self-defense, influence the Tulsa Race Massacre?
This unit explores how lynchings of Black people in the Southern and border states became an institutionalized method used to terrorize Black Americans and maintain white supremacy following Reconstruction. Students examine how mob law was used as a means of social control. Then, students will explore how federal, state, and local officials failed to prosecute perpetrators of lynchings and protect Black Americans. This will include an exploration into the failure to pass a federal bill making lynching a federal crime in 1922. Black self-defense against mob justice and lynchings in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s infamous race massacre was part of a wider trend in America. Armed veterans and other African American men rushed to defend Dick Rowland, a man accused of assaulting a white woman in an elevator, to protect him from lynching. This lesson focuses on the history and role of racial violence in the Tulsa Race Massacre, and how Black Tulsans responded.
conditions impacting greenwood today
What conditions have impacted Greenwood’s ability to overcome the financial losses of the Tulsa Race Massacre?
This unit explores the development of the Greenwood community, focusing on the impact of the Tulsa Race Massacre, historical and current conditions. Students will explore 1) the economic prowess of Black Wall Street and Greenwood prior to the massacre; 2) the financial and personal cost of the massacre to the victims and their descendents; 3) the rebuilding of the Greenwood community; and 4) how urban renewal and other factors led to its decline by the 1970s. Students will conclude the unit by looking at Greenwood’s renaissance and what is developing and emerging within the community today.
Who Benefits from the Gentrification of Black Wall Street?
Who benefits from the gentrification of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street?
The focus of this unit is identifying the effects gentrification has on the Black business community of Black Wall Street in Tulsa. Students review the impact of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the obstacles to rebuilding the white community placed on the Greenwood District following the massacre, the impact of redlining and urban renewal, and current development of the area. Then, students decide who is benefitting from the gentrification.
Greenwood Risings - The Resilience and Rebuilding of Greenwood
How did the building and rebuilding of the Greenwood District demonstrate resilience despite racial discrimination and violence?
The goal of this unit is for students to consider how Black Wall Street and the Greenwood District developed into the most prosperous Black community in the United States. Students will learn about the Tulsa Race Massacre and how Greenwood was rebuilt, despite efforts to prohibit the Black community from rebuilding. Students will write about how the actions of members of the Greenwood Community to initially build and then rebuild demonstrated resilience. They will study a 30 year span of Greenwood history from its development before the Tulsa Race Massacre and to its peak.
Greenwood Symbolizing Black Agency and Community
How does the Greenwood District symbolize Black agency and community?
The goal of this unit is for students to explain how hope for greater opportunity and Black agency led to the development of the Greenwood neighborhood and Black Wall Street. They describe the agency of important community members of early Greenwood. Students learn about the Tulsa Race Massacre and how the community rebuilt. They use the Vernon A.M.E. and Mt. Zion churches as examples to explain how the neighborhood was rebuilt with resilience and community.
Up From the Ashes Read-Aloud
Students can describe how Tulsa segregated neighborhoods, and how state laws treated Black Americans differently because of racial discrimination, causing them harm.
Students can describe Black Wall Street, part of the African American Greenwood District, and how the businesses flourished prior to and following the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Students can describe how racism led to the Tulsa Race Massacre and how the Race Massacre impacted the people living in the Greenwood District.
Smithsonian Educator's Day
Our lessons were featured on the Smithsonian Educator's Day.
The webinar below provides an overview of the lessons and how they are formatted.
Lesson plans from Yale National Initiative
- The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot and Its Legacy: Experiencing Place as Text by Dr. Shanedra Nowell
- Revisiting Race and Riot: Exploring Tulsa’s Conflicts in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Image by Krista Waldron
Tulsa Public Schools Video library
- Chapter 1: Tulsa Race Massacre
- Chapter 2: Vernon AME Church
- Chapter 3: The History of Black Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Chapter 4: Historical Racial Trauma in Tulsa 100 Years Later
- Chapter 5: Apology and Reparative Justice
- Chapter 6: Resilience and Renaissance of Greenwood
- Chapter 7: Teaching the Tulsa Race Massacre within Fine Arts I
- Chapter 8: Teaching the Tulsa Race Massacre within Fine Arts II
- Chapter 9: Teaching the Tulsa Race Massacre within English Courses
- Chapter 10: Oklahoma History Center
Click the links below to find information, lessons, and resources from our partners