The Destruction of Black Wall Street (Part 1)

By H. J. Harris, author of “Solving The Race Issue In America.”


The present initiative by Republican legislatures across the nation to restrict the teaching of race issues – particularly black American history – is a blatant attempt to rewrite history.

This attempt to rewrite history is an initiative by certain Americans to avoid responsibility for pain, suffering, and damage done to black Americans through slavery and government authorized segregation, discrimination, and systemic racism.

The fact that this assault on the true history of race in America is a coordinated effort by Republican controlled state legislatures is extremely troubling. This thinly veiled attempt to rewrite history is a slap in the face of truth, justice, and equality.

A deeper understanding of the motives of these state legislatures is revealed in the below excerpt from pages 73 – 76 of “Solving The Race Issue In America” by H. J. Harris. (

Many white Americans in power have always wanted to return to the old days of slavery, where black Americans were a second-class powerless race, relegated to serve and obey white people.

As the good minister (in 1898) implied, in America it is always about maintaining the white mans’ domination over all black people.

               The coup of 1898 in Wilmington North Carolina was the opening gambit of a racist game that would again put black Americans under the rule and complete domination of white Americans.

Each time black Americans made significant progress toward realizing the American dream for themselves, certain white Americans did all in their power to undermine and destroy that progress and kill their dreams.

                                          Black Wall Street

In 1921 white men destroyed a thriving black American community in Tulsa Oklahoma known as Black Wall Street.

 At the turn of the century, African (black) Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma built the most successful Black Community and Business District in the history of the United States…. Black Wall Street. At this particular time in history, racial hatred, lynchings, Jim Crow Laws, segregation and discrimination were at an all-time high. A unique community of ambitious and fearless blacks built a thriving business district in a 36-square block section of North Tulsa Oklahoma.

This small town was originally called “Greenwood” and “Little Africa,” but soon earned the nickname, Black Wall Street by the New York Financial District.

The community was comprised of successful black doctors, lawyers, scientists, schoolteachers, oilmen, business owners and entrepreneurs. There were hotels, churches, a hospital, schools, a bus line, private cab companies, general stores, feed and grain stores, a bowling alley, real estate offices, hair salons, restaurants, nights clubs, two movie theaters (one a 700-seater), over six hundred booming businesses.

There were at least ten black millionaires in Black Wall Street. Six had private airplanes in 1921. Recent research indicates a Paper trail where blacks were financing businesses on New York’s Wall Street

Several successful entrepreneurs in Black Wall Street were in the oil business with Third World Countries during this time. The black dollar recycled and circulated throughout the black community. Many white businessmen from South Tulsa would come over to Black Wall Street to borrow money from wealthy blacks. At that time, black Americans could not deposit their money in white banks.  Essentially, they were cash rich, but power poor.

On May 31, 1921, the worst Race War in United States history erupted in the streets of Tulsa Oklahoma. After hours of bloody fighting, Black Wall Street was bombed from the air and burned to the ground. All black Americans were rounded up and taken to Internment (concentration-type) Camps. Possibly, thousands of black men, women, and children were slaughtered. Dead bodies were dumped in the Arkansas River. Others were buried in mass graves around Tulsa. The actual death count is unknown, and to this day, remains a mystery.”

The causes and impact of the destruction of Black Wall Street must be studied and understood so that this type of violence and destruction can never happen again.

It is important that all Americans – black and white – be a part of the upcoming Centennial Anniversary of the Destruction of Black Wall Street.

There are many major initiatives to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Destruction of Black Wall Street.  Among these are the Centennial Tulsa Pilgrimage 2021 and the four-day Commemoration & Celebration sponsored by the WORLD CONFERENCE OF MAYORS, INC. and the HISTORIC BLACK TOWNS AND SETTLEMENTS ALLIANCE. More information about this historic conference is available at:

Denial of systemic racism and attempting to rewrite the history of race in America will not resolve the issue. It will only perpetuate the issue of systemic racism through ignorance and mistrust.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

Black Americans do not want to re-live the pain, suffering and injustices of the past. White Americans who believe in the golden rule should not want a new generation of black Americans to experience this pain, suffering and injustice.

America is better than this.

© 2021 LifeSkill Institute, Inc., PO Box 302, Wilmington, NC 28402

Learn more about Dr. H. J. Harris’ book “Solving The Race Issue In America” and contact Dr. Harris at: 

Email: [email protected]    Phone: 800-570-4009About the author: Dr. Herbert H. J. Harris personally experienced the Civil Rights era of the 1950’s and 1960’s. He attended the 1963 March on Washington and heard Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Monument. Harris has been a keen observer, recorder, and participant at pivotal moments of the racial evolution of America.