Report qualifies riot museum
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Friday, February 10, 2006
1/20/13 at 8:27 AM
A preliminary survey labels the project a candidate for National Park Service affiliation.
A report prepared by the National Park Service says Tulsa's
1921 Race Riot was an event of
"supreme national significance"
that makes the planned John
Hope Franklin Greenwood Reconciliation Museum and Memorial a candidate for Park Service affiliation.
The report, called a reconnaissance survey, is a preliminary step in association with
the Park Service.
"It's a super report. I
couldn't be more pleased," said
Reuben Gant, president of the
Greenwood Chamber of Commerce. Gant is on the memorial's design committee.
Long-term plans call for a
$20 million museum and re
search library on a 3-acre tract
just inside the north edge of
the Inner Dispersal Loop between Detroit and Elgin avenues.
The design committee and
the Park Service envision the
museum encompassing the
subject of race relations in the
United States during the late
18th and early 19th centuries.
The project is named for
John Hope Franklin, a prominent historian who graduated
from Booker T. Washington
High School and whose father,
B.C. Franklin, was a prominent
Work is expected to begin
soon on the first phase of the
project, a memorial park featuring two large sculptures by Ed
Dwight. The committee hopes
to open the park by early fall.
Gant acknowledged local resistance to a memorial to a riot
in which at least three dozen
people were killed, hundreds
were injured and thousands
were left homeless, but he
said: "The way we are headed
is the right direction. This is
not a race riot museum. It's a
museum about race in America.
"A riot is not something people want to celebrate. For Tulsa, it's been a gray cloud hanging over: 'Why bring up the
past? Forget it and move on.'
But it's something that happened, and it should be understood."
Gant said he thinks an at
traction linked to the Park Service would help spur redevelopment in the former black
neighborhood that was virtually
destroyed in the riot. Although
it rebounded after the riot, the
old Greenwood district is now
occupied mostly by vacant lots
and the Oklahoma State University-Tulsa campus.
The Greenwood Community
Development Corp., a nonprofit
affiliate of the Greenwood
Chamber, is proposing a $21
million to $25 million mixed-use development between
Greenwood and Elgin avenues
and north of Archer Street on
land owned by the Tulsa Development Authority.
The proposal includes a
walking tour, an 82-room hotel,
44 middle- to upper-income
apartments and condominiums
and retail and office space.
The site has been empty for
decades, but Gant said he believes that its potential is growing.
Randy Krehbiel 581-8365