MSC hosts a documentary viewing of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Oklahoma Race Massacre


Courtesy of N.C. A&T MSC

Jamille Whitlow, TheYard Editor

The Multicultural Student Center continues its celebration of Black History Month by hosting a viewing and discussion of Black Wall Street based on the 1921 Tulsa Oklahoma Race Massacre. 

The Tulsa Race Massacre is an event where a white mob attacked a wealthy Black community, Greenwood, OK,  resulting in  hundreds of deaths and people fleeing from their homes.

Gerald Spates, Director of MSC and LGBTA Resource Center, partnered with Dr. Arwin Smallwood, historian, professor and chair of the Department of History and Political Science at N.C. A&T. 

Since October, the MSC has been planning this documentary viewing for students; Spates expressed the irony of how the documentary relates to the events leading up to the inauguration of President Joe Biden. 

“It was so fitting for me to include our history department. There’s so much rich information that faculty can bring to this program,” said Spates. 

Following the documentary viewing, Spates and Dr. Smallwood will lead a virtual discussion for students to ask questions and talk about the documentary. 

Dr. Smallwood and Spates had a discussion relating to the storming of the Capitol and the Tulsa Race Massacre. 

“As African-Americans, our history has been one of struggle, a struggle against those type organizations, Ku Klux Klan and other types of white nationalist groups,” said Dr. Smallwood. “They wanted to suppress the black vote. And really disenfranchise African-Americans in every other way, economically and politically.”   

After the Tulsa Massacre, many African-Americans fled to urban areas in North Carolina including Durham, Greensboro, Charlotte, and even outside the state. Dr. Smallwood explained how the Tulsa Massacre impacted African-Americans economically and politically, eventually dividing communities because of urban renewal. 

“What happened with most black business districts is urban renewal. When they built interstate highways, they ran the highway through the community,” said Dr. Smallwood. “We see that with U.S. Route 29, where A&T is on the west side of what used to be a holistic community with grocery stores, hotels, and everything you would need for a community to survive.” 

Dr. Smallwood and Spates insisted on students to attend so people can continue to remember history and prevent events from being repeated. 

“We need to insist on a complete history, so that we can learn; but there is so much more between African-Americans being enslaved and freed,” said Spates. “America is a great country but it’s not perfect. Our endurance [African-Americans], we have still allowed ourselves to achieve but so many of us are ignorant of our history, but we need to know.” 

The Black Wall Street documentary viewing will take place via Zoom on February 9th at 4PM. Students interested in attending can RSVP via email [email protected] 

For more information about MSC, students can follow their Instagram and Twitter @mscncataggies.