Greenwood Gentrification (copy)

Newer buildings are seen next to the historic Greenwood District in Tulsa. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World file

The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce is seeking $1 million in donations, primarily for structural preservation needs throughout the historic Greenwood District.

Freeman Culver, president and chief executive officer at the Greenwood Chamber, launched the fundraiser on the GoFundMe crowdfunding website. All donations are tax-deductible and go to Greenwood Community Development Corp., which is a related entity of the Greenwood Chamber.

“The place just needs to be shown a little love,” Culver said. “This is not just Tulsa history; this is American history. It’s gotten international recognition. We just wanted to have a call to action so the community in Tulsa, America and the entire world can have a chance to help us.”

The fund drive comes ahead of the first of two special events for which Tulsa has been chosen, the International Unity Walk, Culver said.

“They will be the second Saturdays in August 2020 and August 2021,” he said. “It’s about bringing people together and having unity. We want to bring racial harmony to this place and to the world itself.”

Of the total funds being sought, $950,000 is budgeted for desperately needed structural updates to the 10 oldest remnants of Black Wall Street.

These updates include replacement of roofs, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, storefront doors, and damaged windows and flooring, along with masonry repairs and sidewalk and parking lot resurfacing.

Photos of the current disrepair are featured on the GoFundMe fundraising page.

“There are other efforts, like grant writing and contests we’ve entered. This is just one more way we’re trying,” Culver said. “There should be no controversy in the upkeep of the last 10 buildings of Black Wall Street. Let’s keep this so our children and our children’s children will to be able to see this place. The business success that happened here can happen again anywhere in America. We want that story to be told.”

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Andrea Eger 918-581-8470

Twitter: @AndreaEger

Staff Writer

Andrea is a projects reporter, examining key education topics and other local issues. Since joining the Tulsa World in 1999, she has been a three-time winner of Oklahoma’s top award for investigative reporting by an individual. Phone: 918-581-8470

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