Why waiters provide poor service to black customers


“They didn’t talk about it.”: How historians helped Tulsa confront the horrors of the past.

In 1921, a white mob attacked Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, killing an estimated 300 people, but the entire area, including the Greenwood district, was destroyed after the Tulsa race massacre in 1921, which was not talked about until recently. it was done. Photo: Universal History Archive / Getty Images There was no monument in town. During the half semester, when he devoted himself to local history, the teacher did not mention it. Scott Ellsworth, a white schoolboy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, wondered what was the darkest secret of the city: “I was 10 and 11 years old, what we called” riots “at the time. I’ve occasionally heard neighbors talking about things. “I started listening to the corpses flowing down the Arkansas River and the story of machine guns on the roofs of the town, but I didn’t really know anything.” One day in 1966, a local Everything changed when the library set up a microfilm reader and Ellsworth and his friends ate in the daily newspaper from 1921. “We weren’t sophisticated enough to put everything together, but at that point we knew that the skeleton of the closet was true.” May 31, 1921 and June 1, 1921. In Tokyo, a white mob attacked Black Wall Street in Tulsa, killing an estimated 300 people, injuring more than 800, and attacking and burning businesses, homes and churches. An airplane dropped an explosive in the area and destroyed it on the ground. It continues to be one of the worst ethnic violence in American history. Talsa is now celebrating the 100th anniversary of the bloodshed in the Greenwood area, featuring Joe Byden, Candlelight Vigil, History Center Unveiling, Talsa Juneteens Festival and other events and performances. I am preparing. But helping the city end its culture of silence and embark on a journey to confront a racist past required years of rigorous research by Ellsworth. While studying history at a university in Portland, Oregon, he decided to make the genocide the subject of his thesis. He returned to Tulsa in the summer of 1975, but found it difficult to break the taboo. “Records have been lost and destroyed,” he said in a phone call from Ann Arbor, a teacher at the University of Michigan. “The clerk was like blowing me in the office, but I couldn’t put it all together. It was almost impossible to find a photo, but I saw one of the greenwoods after the slaughter. But it looked like Nagasaki, Hiroshima, or Frankfurt, and everything was gone. Ellsworth was the forerunner of the phone book that listed the names of all individuals and companies. When I came across the collection, I made a breakthrough: “I noticed a small” c “in parentheses about every tenth name. I realized that this means “colored”. This is a list of all African American people and businesses. “I was trying to figure out what the Greenwood business community was like, so I went to the city’s technician’s office and got a taped” plat “. Then I looked up the directories in these cities and wrote down all the addresses, what I did, and who lived there. Since then, the business community has come alive to me. It wasn’t just statistics. Eventually, Ellsworth found William D Williams, a former African-American teacher who was 16 years old when the slaughter took place. “I drive to his house and sit down and explain who I am. He’s a cool guy to me. I said,” This interview can’t be helped. Where should I end it? I have to think about it, “and politely left. It took years of research by writer and historian Scott Ellsworth to help Tulsa confront a racist and violent past. Photo: Courtesy of Ruth Kirick Publicity, “I remembered my map and spread it out on his kitchen table, and suddenly he just mesmerized and stared at this, from address to address. Move your finger and he’s smiling. ” I created a map of his youth, with a name he hadn’t thought of for 70 years. “Suddenly he looked up and said,’OK, tell me what you want to know.’ I thought it would be an hour interview. We talked for four hours and it was the moment. Thanks to him who was exactly that person and was in the right place at the right time. , I was able to preserve the history of what happened, “Elsworth adds: He was waiting for a journalist, TV crew and professor. He wasn’t waiting for a 21-year-old white kid from the edge of the town, where people came to kill him and his family. I appreciate him for giving me the opportunity to talk to me. Three years later, Ellsworth returned to Tulsa to book his treatise. Williams associated him with other older African-American survivors who spoke for the first time. The author has a deep bond with them. “They have never been interviewed. They didn’t talk about the slaughter in their family. I eventually became their witness. It needs to be me. There wasn’t. It could be you or someone else. It happened to be me. It was one of the best professional moments in my life. “On the contrary, Ellsworth was involved in the genocide by whites. I thought it was almost impossible to admit that (no one was charged with criminal charges). At one point he visited a white police officer who was willing to talk about his career, but when it came to the topic he was silent. “He had a scrapbook of his pictures in uniforms and the like. It’s the pre-digital era, so when I borrowed a 35mm camera to take pictures, I suddenly turned the pages and all the pictures were cluttered. He picked up the book and said, “No, I can’t take pictures.” I’m very excited because I said it. People didn’t want to talk about it at all. It’s like a family of German soldiers. Who wants to talk about this? Survivors when Ellsworth’s Promised Land Death – The First Comprehensive History of the Slaughter – was published in 1982 We had a launch party, but the local white media almost ignored the book. However, the author states: “This was the most stolen book in the county library system in Tulsa for years. They would even steal a copy of the branch. So I only sent a box of books once a year. The secret of Tulsa was revealed and I couldn’t forget it anymore. The 75th anniversary of the 1996 massacre attracted national media attention. A year later, the Tulsa Race Massacre Committee was formed to carry out the long-awaited investigation and claim compensation. Ellsworth began a search for a mass grave of unmarked victims, but was stalled in 2000 due to political controversy. In 2019, at the request of the mayor, this effort was resumed. Thanks to hard work and good luck, twelve fragile pine coffins and bodies were found in what was the city’s most important cemetery at the time of the slaughter last October. “Of course, I was thrilled. This was more than 20 years of research, but given these people, the reality is sad and hopeless. But to be honest, I’m WD Williams and this story. Thinking back to the other survivors who really led me in, and thinking about how happy they were. I really thought about them. ”The mass grave at Oak Lawn Cemetery celebrates its 100th anniversary. It will be excavated. That is another step for Tulsa to face himself. But it does not necessarily bring peace and reconciliation to cities that remain deeply separated along racial boundaries. “The story of the slaughter has been actively suppressed in the white community for 50 years,” Ellsworth recalls. Icon book for the United States and the United Kingdom. “Researchers were life-threatening and work-threatening.” Some people don’t want to talk about this at all. They just want to cover it up. Others are embarrassed about it. Others People are heartbroken. Generations of people who grew up in Tulsa were unaware of it and were now trying to learn about it, which is causing stress. “But half a century In the near future, silence was widespread in the African-American community, he added. “Many survivors suffered from PTSD throughout their lives. Others, such as Holocaust survivors. Did not want to burden his children with these stories, so there were descendants of my age who didn’t know until their 40s that their grandparents had lost their homes and jobs. Did not talk about. “