The Black Women Business Owners of Black Wall Street

The neighborhood attacked in the Tulsa Race Massacre was known as a Black intellectual and financial mecca. Women were a little-known part of its success.

Here’s what’s known famously about Greenwood, the early 20th century Black community of Tulsa, and infamously about its destruction: Black businessmen helped build Greenwood into a financial Black mecca that produced an abundance of successful entrepreneurs, some of whom turned into millionaires.

These are the beginning chapters of what would become known as the Tulsa Race Massacre, which took place 100 years ago this week. From May 31 to June 1, 1921, white people — many of them law enforcement — shot up, bombed and burned down the dozens of Black-owned businesses and hundreds of Black homes that made up Greenwood, killing nearly 300 Black residents and injuring and displacing thousands more.

It’s a story told almost exclusively about, and through, men.

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