Greenwood Hospital That Treated Tulsa Race Massacre Victims To Be Turned Into Hub For Black Entrepreneurs

On May 31 and June 1, 1921, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, mobs of white residents brutally attacked the African American community of Greenwood, colloquially known as ‘Black Wall Street,’ in the deadliest racial massacre in U.S. history. Homes, businesses, and community structures including schools, churches, a hospital, and the library were looted and burned or otherwise destroyed. Exact statistics are unknown, but the violence left around 10,000 people homeless and as many as 300 people dead with many more missing and wounded.;Photo postcards of the Tulsa Race Massacre were widely distributed following the massacre in 1921. Like postcards depicting lynchings, these souvenir cards were powerful declarations of white racial power and control. Decades later, the cards served as evidence for community members working to recover the forgotten history of the riot and secure justice for its victims and their descendants. Artist Unknown. (Photo by Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

As the last known survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre fight for reparations, the city is preparing to turn one of the landmarks at the center of the riots into a hub for Black entrepreneurs.

According to the Black Wall Street Times, the dilapidated Greenwood Moton Hospital—which once treated victims of the massacre—will be restored and remodeled into a business hub that caters directly to the city’s Black business hopefuls. On Aug. 2, the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) held a demolition ceremony to mark the start of the construction of the resource center.

A partnership between Partner Tulsa, the city of Tulsa, TEDC, and Greenwood Entrepreneurship at Moton (GEM) hopes to begin the process of bringing Black-owned businesses back to the community that was once home to the original Black Wall Street. The 9,500-square-foot space will be open to entrepreneurs who have completed a TEDC cohort or have an approved business plan; however, costs will only be waived for the former. It is a full-circle moment for residents of Greenwood who understand the rich history connected to the medical institution.

In 1921, it was the only hospital where Black victims of the race riots could be treated. Many lives were saved behind the institution’s doors on the days following the white domestic terror attack; its presence has been a constant reminder in the decades after. Originally named the Maurice Williams Hospital, the medical facility would be rebuilt and erected in honor of the former president of the Tuskegee Institute, Robert Russa Moton. The city and county have invested $5 million for its latest development to help the project come to life. “It means creating physical spaces where Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs can access the resources and mentorship they need to launch and grow their own businesses, and ensuring these businesses can access capital through targeted loan funds,” said Partner Tulsa Executive Director Kian Kamas.

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