When I write about how important systems have been created from the ground up in ways that restrict opportunity for people of color, this is what I mean. Thanks to my friend, Mana Tahaie, for this excellent explanation and history of my home, Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is the first of three installments.
by Contributing Writer Mana Tahaie
Earlier this year, Tulsa Development Authority (TDA) once again came under scrutiny by Tulsans concerned about the displacement of Black North Tulsa residents. In March, City Councilor Vanessa Hall Harper warned residents of District 1 that a proposed amendment of the Greenwood/Unity Heritage Neighborhoods sector plan subjected approximately 2,000 addresses to eminent domain. After significant and sustained opposition, the City put the plans on hold.
At the nexus of many interconnected current issues — Black Wall Street, urban renewal, gentrification, University Center at Tulsa (UCAT) land and others —lies a complex story of Black wealth acquisition and destruction in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma remains the home of the greatest number of all-Black towns in the U.S., with over 30 incorporated communities established in the late 1800s and early 1900s. (It’s important to note that White colonial settlers first stole these lands from the Native…
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