Greenwood Rising-Case Study

2021 SEGD Exhibition + Experience

SEGD’s 2021 Exhibition + Experience event culminates with a keynote presentation by L’Rai Arthur-Mensa (Local Projects, New York, NY) and Phillip Keith Armstrong (Greenwood Rising, Tulsa, OK). Their presentation celebrates the official opening of the new Greenwood Rising Black Wall Street History Center this month in Tulsa, which tells the story of the Greenwood District and the resiliency of it’s community.

Not many Americans know about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, a tragic episode in America’s history when a group of white residents in Tulsa, Oklahoma, destroyed 35 blocks of the city’s prosperous Black neighborhood of Greenwood. More than 300 people were killed in what was then known as “Black Wall Street.” Subsequently, government officials covered up the incident and tried to erase it from the American consciousness.

But the massacre was not forgotten—and was definitely not forgotten by the residents of Greenwood who were tremendously impacted by the destruction and killings. Today, 100 years later, the Greenwood Race Massacre Centennial Commission shares the story of the Greenwood Race Massacre with the nation through the Greenwood Rising Black Wall Street History Center, its flagship project.

According to the Greenwood Rising website, the new Center “honors the icons of Black Wall Street, memorializes the victims of the massacre and examines the lessons of the past to inspire meaningful, sustainable action in the present.”

The Center, designed by the Tulsa architecture firm of Selser Schaefer Architects, stands at the corner of Greenwood and Archer Streets, the traditional entryway into the neighborhood. Inside, exhibitions tell the story of Greenwood, but also include spaces for visitor participation in dialogue and reconciliation.

L’Rai Arthur-Mensah (Project Director, Local Projects) and Philip Keith Armstrong, (Interim Director, Greenwood Rising Black Wall Street History Center) will give the E+E keynote presentation about the Center. Titled “Humanizing History: Greenwood Rising Case Study,” L’Rai and Phil will walk through the important takeaways learned throughout the design process. Lessons span from how to engage with the community to tell whole truths to lessons in humanizing history to create impactful connections with visitors.

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