City to break ground on park, finally
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Saturday, November 08, 2008
1/20/13 at 8:26 AM
Groundbreaking for the long- delayed John Hope Franklin Re- conciliation Park has been set for 10 a.m. Nov. 17.
The park, between Detroit and Elgin avenues just south of Interstate 244, commemorates the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.
It is named for the celebrated scholar and Booker T. Washington High School graduate.
"This park is a milestone in our city's path toward reconciliation," Mayor Kathy Taylor said in a written statement. "We know that we cannot change our history, but we can learn from the mistakes of the past, then work on solutions that translate into a brighter future for our children and grandchildren."
The riot occurred over a 14-hour period on May 31 and June 1, 1921. It arose from the arrest of a young black man for allegedly groping a young white woman in a downtown elevator and the tensions that followed.
Starting at the Tulsa County Courthouse, then at Sixth Street and Boulder Avenue on the site of the current Bank of America building, the riot swept through downtown and ended with the siege and ultimate destruction of most of the city's black neighborhood centered on Greenwood Avenue north of Archer Street.
At least three dozen people are known to have died in the fighting; hundreds were injured, and thousands were left homeless.
Franklin's father, B.C. Franklin, was a lawyer who was new to town at the time.
John Hope Franklin, after graduating from high school, went on to a distinguished career as a historian and writer and is the James B. Duke professor emeritus of history at Duke University.
Efforts to establish a permanent memorial to the riot and the resilience of Tulsa and the Greenwood neighborhood began in 2001 after the completion of a state commission report on the riot.
The John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park will feature two works by sculptor Ed Dwight. Plans ultimately call for a museum and research library.
The 93-year-old Franklin himself is expected to attend the groundbreaking, along with Taylor; John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation board chairman Julius Pegues; former state Sen. Maxine Horner; former state Rep. Don Ross; former Mayor Bill LaFortune; Greenwood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Reuben Gant; and riot survivor Wesley Young.
The project's major donors and sponsors include the state of Oklahoma, the city of Tulsa, the Nadel and Gussman Foundation, the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Foundation, the Sharna and Irv Frank Foundation, the Stacy Schusterman Fund, Barry and Karen Davis, the Hille Foundation, Williams, Oneok, Bank of Oklahoma, American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma, the Cuesta Foundation and the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Randy Krehbiel 581-8365