Few people know about the vibrant Black business district that once existed in Tulsa, Oklahoma,
with more than 600 businesses, churches, schools, libraries, theaters, clothing stores, restaurants, and a hospital,
nor have they heard about the massacre that occurred there in 1920.
TULSA, Okla. – The first bombs to ever fall on American soil destroyed Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For two days in May 1920, this vibrant Black business district with theaters, shops, and churches was razed to the ground, and hundreds of people lost their lives.
A backdrop of racism, segregation, and mistrust fueled a simple mishap between a Black boy and a White girl in an elevator, and the violence that erupted left 300 dead, more than 9,000 homeless, and upwards of 600 businesses in this formerly thriving business district destroyed.
In the acclaimed children’s book, A Promise Deferred: The Massacre of Black Wall Street co-written by inclusion expert Dr. Tamecca Rogers and her son Keith Ross, Keith’s Grandme tells him about the events of May 1920. The book starts with some of the colorful characters and business owners who once graced the Greenwood District. Throughout the story, Keith is both horrified by what happened and proud of how Black people created this business district. He is also inspired to learn how they helped one another.
Keith learns the importance of telling the truth, of getting facts right before taking action, that violence is never an option, and that we should accept all people regardless of color. He also decides he wants to become an entrepreneur like the business owners of Black Wall Street.
The events of Black Wall Street had a profound impact on the lives of those who lived in Tulsa and are part of America’s awful racial history, but they can also be a source of inspiration and fuel the ongoing conversation about race, racism, and social justice.
Dr. Rogers comments, “I have lived in Oklahoma most of my life, but I just learned about the massacre of the Greenwood district a few years ago. In order to graduate from high school, we had to pass Oklahoma history, but this tragic event was not mentioned in any of the textbooks, nor had my ten-year-old son heard of it. Together, we were inspired to write about it from a child’s perspective.”
“I had no idea that there were over 600 different businesses within the Greenwood District that were destroyed.
I had no idea that the sheriffs deputized regular citizen to unlawfully arrest and ultimately kill Black people.
I had no idea that the United States National Guard participated in the demise of Black Wall Street…
LOVE THIS BOOK and will be purchasing it for my grown sons.”
– Amazon Reader Review, 5 out of 5 Stars
Dr. Rogers has written several stories with her ten-year-old son, Keith, including Now You’re It: Journaling to Perseverance, which celebrates the achievements of 35 groundbreaking people of color from the past and present. She also wrote Daddy, Can I Decide?, a picture book about allowing every child to determine their own future, and Mommy May I Be Me?, a story that creates awareness of how young minds develop while encouraging parents to be more open-minded and accepting of their children’s sound decisions. She also wrote the children’s book Girls Can Be Anything with her eight-year-old cousin London Love. The book looks at the lives of four little girls on Inauguration Day and their reaction to Kamala Harris’ achievement in becoming the first black woman vice president of the United States. Finally, Cornrows: My Hair, My Roots, is a children’s book that details the cultural and historical significance of cornrows and locks in modern American culture.
Authors: Dr. Tamecca Rogers holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s in business administration, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership. Dr. Rogers served five years as a hospital corpsman in the United States Navy and a combined six years as a high school instructor and college enrollment counselor. She has also held adjunct professor positions at multiple postsecondary institutions. Dr. Rogers has worked at Tulsa Technology Center since 2010 and currently holds the position of the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is the proud mom of Ian, Chazen, and Keith and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her family.
Keith Ross is a fourth grader who loves video games, Beyblades, road trips, modeling, and acting. Keith has his own unique style and dances to his own beat. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his family.
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Black Wall Street by Dr. Tamecca Rogers; Illustrated by Arushan Art; Inspire Publishing LLC; Juvenile Nonfiction; History/Body, Mind, & Spirit; Paperback 978-1-7354301-8-8 $14.73; eBook Kindle $2.99; Availability: Amazon.com