Historic Greenwood Tour Sheds Light On Century-Old Memories

Wednesday, May 25th 2022, 6:30 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

A tour of the Greenwood district brought people from Oklahoma, as well as from out of state to Downtown Tulsa.

They're here to learn about the history and changes in the last 100 years.

The bus tour is leading up to a symposium held this week.

Vanessa Adams-Harris told the visitors at the beginning of the tour, Greenwood is more than just one street.

Her goal for the bus tour was to open some eyes about all the places that thrived here 100 years ago.

"For purposes of giving people a good idea of where the community was living under legal segregation under the massacre," said Vanessa Adams-Harris. "The purpose is to reclaim those memories."

She took people north first, to neighborhoods and schools, stopping at the Ellis Walker Woods Memorial Center near OSU-Tulsa.

"It made my heart just leap when I saw this."

The center honors the first principal of Booker T. Washington High School and its alumni.

Barbara Littlejohn recognized one immediately.

"This is Ms. Dorothy DeWitty, she is my principal at Tulsa Public Schools. She was given the honor to open one of the first magnet schools, Walt Whitman."

"She is a dynamic leader, educator, a brilliant mind. I'm so endeared seeing her."

The tour continued past landmarks like Oaklawn Cemetery and Black Wall street to downtown Tulsa where plaques name Black owned businesses that once stood here.

"It's quite a big deal, especially so far as just the history of what has taken place in this city," said Yvonne Thompson.

Yvonne Thompson and Beth Messner traveled from Indiana for the symposium and this tour.

They've been to Tulsa before and hope to learn updates on the race massacre and mass graves investigation.

"Let's learn from the experience, take it back to where we live, and help with reconciliation in our cities," said Adams-Harris.

The John Hope Franklin Center National Symposium continues Thursday and Friday.