• Black Wall Street

  • The History of the Greenwood District Before the Tulsa Race Riot
  • By: Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by: Stephen Platt
  • Length: 1 hr and 25 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (137 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $6.95

Buy for $6.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

In the wake of the Civil War, African Americans attained freedom from chattel slavery, but continued to suffer discrimination - both legally in the form of Jim Crow laws and de facto in the continued perception among the vast majority of White Americans that African Americans were, at the very least, inferior and, at the most, a constant dangerous presence in their communities, who must be carefully controlled. In this way, Tulsa was no different than most cities in the region in the 1920s.

Overall, Tulsa in 1921 was considered a modern, vibrant city. What had fueled this remarkable growth was oil, specifically the discovery of the Glenn Pool oil field in 1905. Within five years, Tulsa had grown from a rural crossroads town in the former Indian Territory into a boom town with more than 10,000 citizens, and as word spread of the fortunes that could be made in Tulsa, people of all races poured into the city.

By 1920, the greater Tulsa area boasted a population of over 100,000. In turn, Tulsa’s residential neighborhoods were some of the most modern and stylish in the country, and the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce produced postcards and literature boasting of the virtues of life in their modern oil city. However, as a commission report about the Tulsa Riot later pointed out, “What the pamphlets and the picture postcards did not reveal was that, despite of its impressive new architecture and its increasingly urbane affectations, Tulsa was a deeply troubled town." As 1920 turned into 1921, the city would soon face a crossroads that, in the end, would change it forever. Tulsa was, in some ways, not one city, but two.

When they came to Tulsa, many Blacks settled in the Greenwood area and established a thriving commercial, cultural, and residential area. Of course, the segregation was forced on these residents, and while they had fled the worst conditions of the Jim Crow South in other areas, they were not able to escape it completely. But in one way, Tulsa was different for African Americans, as Black citizens of the city shared in the city’s wealth, albeit not as equally as their White neighbors.

The Greenwood district, a 36 square block section of northern Tulsa, was considered the wealthiest African American neighborhood in the country, called the “Black Wall Street” because of the large number of affluent and professional residents. In the 2001 final report of the Oklahoma Commission to study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, historians John Hope Franklin and Scott Ellsworth described the Greenwood area that would be all but destroyed in one of America’s most notorious riots: “In less than twenty-four hours, nearly all of Tulsa’s African American residential district - some forty square blocks in all - had been laid to waste..."

Tragically, the decades following the riot saw the memory of it recede into the background. The Tulsa Tribune did not recognize the riot in its “Fifteen Years Ago Today” or “Twenty-five Years Ago Today” features. In 1971, the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce decided to commemorate the riot, but when they read the materials gathered by Ed Wheeler about the riot, they refused to publish any of it, and the Tulsa papers also refused to run Wheeler’s story. He finally published an article in a Black magazine, Impact Magazine; but most of Tulsa’s White citizens never knew about it.

It would not be until recently that a true accounting of the riot and its damage have been conducted, and as the 100th anniversary of the massacre approaches in 2021, the city of Tulsa is still working to complete the historical record.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Featured Article: Audiobooks and Podcasts About the Tulsa Race Massacre


The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 was one of the most despicable moments in US history, and it remained obscured for decades. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, learning the truth about what happened is more important than ever. The following audiobooks and podcasts aim to give listeners a fuller understanding of the Tulsa Race Massacre while honoring the victims whose stories deserve to be remembered.

What listeners say about Black Wall Street

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    108
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    84
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    90
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Bombs dropped on Black Wall St. wasn't mentioned.

Not one word of the bombs that were dropped on Black Wall Street, murdering over 4,000 black people in one day. Exonerating the true culprit of destruction of black people . The United States government is at the time the only entity possessing the destructive bombs to create this heinous act on a defenseless people. even when the white man tells the truth he lies. This book omits the real truth. To buy this book is a waste of money.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great build up to the events of the Tulsa massacre

This book is a good precursor to the Tulsa massacre and takes us into the events of the attack, but I found it a little light on eye witness reports and it didn't go into the details of what was done in the attack. Mainly stating businesses were burnt and people died. I would also like to know what happened after the attack. Where are those people now?

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Had everything except the failure by the insurance

Everything else was good, but I always wondered which companies refused to help their customers.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Short but informative

This was a short but informative audiobook about the Greenwood area before the Tulsa massacre. I knew none of this, and enjoyed learning about it. This provides an overview and not a lot of detail, and it makes me want to learn more.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Foundational Knowledge for Racial Wealth Gap Fight

Hidden history that must be brought to light. A must read to ignite the fires of economic reform.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I think every black person needs to hear this.

A great short listen that gave a it's a impact full representation of what blacks went through and where they came up out of the rubble to build something phenomenal.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

not worth 1 credit

This book can be summed up as a short description of Black Wall Street and drawing statements about correlation and cause as fact without evidence.

I was really hoping to learn about the history of BWS and understand the events before and after the riot in detail. I feel like I could sum up this book in a single paragraph. I'll be looking for other literature on this topic.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Eye opening, Makes someone do further rese

Further research, Mind boggling. To actually visit these places to feel and see past and present socities

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Never knew

This was a very interesting book, just should have had more detail. It left me wanting to learn much more.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very enlightening and educational!!

I loved it! The story of Black Wall Street is very intriguing and this book really details and outlines the story very eloquently!