On June 21st, 1921, the district Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by a mob of whites leaving nearly 3,000 African Americans dead and over 600 successful black owned businesses lost.

After the Civil War many African Americans settled in Oklahoma, because of employment opportunities from the oil fields. Around 1908, the community of Greenwood was established. Greenwood became one of the most prosperous all Black communities in America during the early 1900’s. The town was given the name “Black Wall Street,” because it was home to 600 successful black-owned businesses. It was said to have been the golden door of the black community during this time period, and proved that African Americans had a successful infrastructure. During this era, physicians owned medical schools, there were pawn shops, jewelry stores, 21 churches, 21 restaurants and two movie theaters all owned by blacks. At the time there were two airports in the state of Oklahoma, however, six blacks owned their own planes.
What made Black Wall Street so unusual was its location. At the time, Oklahoma was set aside to be a black and Native American state with over 28 black townships and one-third of its population who traveled in the terrifying “Trail of Tears,” along-side Native American between 1830 to 1842. The citizens of the township proposed that the Native American and black state choose a black governor, a treasurer from Kansas named McDade. However, the Klu Klux Klan announced that if he assumed office, they would  kill him within 48 hours. A lot of blacks owned farmland, and many of ventured into the oil business. The community was so tight and wealthy because they traded dollars hand-to-hand, and because they were dependent upon one another as a result of the Jim Crow laws.
In the documentary “Black Wall Street: A Black Holocaust in America,” survivors share stories of commencement of the tragedy which began the night of May 31, 1921, when a white female elevator operator accused a black man of assault. He was arrested but never charged for the crime which stirred up anger amongst the whites and led to a series of confrontations between white mobs and the African American community of Greenwood. Whites rioted throughout the town, setting fire to homes and churches. One survivor stated that he remembers Whites barging into their home, setting fire to the curtains as he and his sister hid under the bed.  Approximately 4,300 African Americans were left homeless, and the town they once called home was left in ashes. This tragedy was the largest massacre of non-military Americans in the history of this country. Many survivors who were interviewed think that this act of violence was planned because while their town was being burned to the ground, White families stood around the borders of the town and watched the tragedy unfold.
Following the destruction of Greenwood, businesses were rebuilt, churches and schools were  reestablished; however, Greenwood never regained its prominence as the Black Wall Street.