Unspeakable

The history that this book illustrates was covered up for 65 years. It was not until 2020 that researched unearthed the mass unmarked graves from this massacre. This text does an excellent job of telling a painful history in an age appropriate way. This text can be an important resource when discussing generational trauma and wealth. Greenwood was thought of as Black Wall Street where black businesses and community was thriving. What would have happened if this community continued to flourish?
-Dena

Social Justice Activities:

  1. Explore the terms, "generational wealth," and, "generational trauma," as it relates to this event.

  2. Explore Tulsa Public Schools' lesson plans for every grade.

  3. Study the vocabulary words, "riot" and, "massacre." This history was not taught until 2002 and up until recently it was referred to as the, "Tulsa Race Riot." Why did the name change? Why do names matter? How can we think critically about the words that are used to describe historical events?

Relevant Social Justice Standards:

Justice 12. Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination).

Justice 13. Students will analyze the harmful impact of bias and injustice on the world, historically and today.

Justice 14. Students will recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.

Justice 15. Students will identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world.

Reading Strategies:

Cause/Effect: Evaluate might have been had there not been an elevator ride. What was the trajectory of the city of Tulsa before that event. Then evaluate what happened after that event.

Author's Craft:

  • Why does the author choose to say "Once Upon a Time," what mood is she creating with those words?

  • Why does the author include the details that this history was covered up?

Teacher Resources:

Book Details:
  • Non-fiction, All Ages
  • Perspectives: Oklahoma communities
  • Author's stated heritage: African American
  • Subject Integration: History

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain