Tulsans are commemorating the 1921 Race Massacre nearly 100 years after the hate destroyed the city’s Greenwood district. Now, a 95-year-old tree has become a symbol of Tulsa's roots and hope for a better tomorrow.
The Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, alongside Up With Trees and Plant Seads, dedicated the tree outside of Carver Middle School Saturday as the "Tulsa Race Massacre Memorial Tree."
Oklahomans are looking back on a painful past in an effort to learn in the present and build a better future.
"This tree has been here for almost 100 years, and it's a, a real symbol of, you know, how we can continue to grow despite a really devastating event in our history,” Plant Seads founder Bryan Meador said.
Meador said the atrocities that began on May 31, 1921, remain a stain on American history. He wants to see the once flourishing Black community rebuilt on a foundation of equity.
"Greenwood has had an incredible history,” Meador said. “You know, Black Wall Street was a thriving black community for many, many years right here in Tulsa, and I think some of that energy, some of that resilience and that dynamism is coming to life today.”
Those who attended the ceremony planted their own American Elm seedlings, which served as a reminder of history they can take home with them.
"It's a rebirth, it's a rebirth of Black Wall Street,” Tulsa resident Katina Walker said. “A commemoration, so we're absolutely on board. 110%.”
"We don't know our roots and, if we don't know our roots, we can't grow,” Tulsa resident Curzella Jackson said. “And I want to grow and I want to shine and I want to take that same level to my children.”
Meador said the seedlings represent a promise to keep working toward justice in Tulsa.
"This is not something that's going to, you know, last for a day or week or month, but for many years to come,” Meador said.