Black Wall Street

May 30, 2021

First Parish in Needham UU

- Sermon begins at 59:11; Original pastoral prayer written by myself and our racial justice leaders begins at 43:25.


100 years ago, between May 31 and June 1, the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa Oklahoma—what had been known as Black Wall Street for its economic vitality at the time—was violently brutalized by white Tulsa residents. Thirty blocks of black homes and businesses were burned to the ground, 300 people of color were killed, and 800 more were injured. What’s more, this history was covered up by the white media for decades and had not begun to be reckoned with until the creation of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission in the late 1990s. During this service, we dove into this difficult history, as well as into what we can learn today from Tulsa about accountability, the various overt and covert forms of racism at play, and reparations.