Citizens of Tulsa

Rising from the Ashes | Hannibal B. Johnson

February 06, 2020 Will Retherford Season 3 Episode 1
Citizens of Tulsa
Rising from the Ashes | Hannibal B. Johnson
Show Notes Transcript

In the first episode of 2020, Alex Aguilar and Will Retherford sit down with Hannibal B. Johnson to discuss the Tulsa Race Massacre, the effects of this tragedy in present time, and how we move forward in the city of Tulsa.

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Speaker 1:

Yeah ,

Speaker 2:

citizens of Tulsa. Welcome back. We took a year off to figure out life and to figure out what we wanted this podcast and this show to be. And we're really excited to launch a brand new show for you this year, 2020 season three, we have some new stuff in the queue. We have a new host, Alex Aguilar, who is a social worker, and a great addition to the team. Who's doing amazing stuff for Tulsa and we are launching in black history month, highlight black history and Tulsa. Today. We have handled

Speaker 3:

Johnson, author historian, attorney, and consultant. He's a graduate of Harvard law school and also got a double major in economics and society from the university of Arkansas. His focus is on diversity and inclusion, cultural competence issues, and nonprofit governance, Hannibal chairs, education committee for 1921, Tulsa race massacre, Centennial commission. He serves on the federal 400 years of African American history commission. He's also former president of leadership, Tulsa, the metropolitan Tulsa urban league, and the Northeast Oklahoma black lawyers association.

Speaker 2:

That's a mouthful, but yes, he knows his shit. He knows what he's talking about and is going to be sharing with us today. History of the Tulsa race, massacre the effects on it today and where we go from here into the future. And there's no one, I know more bald , but to talk about this then Hannibal Johnson. So please enjoy the episode.

Speaker 1:

All right , Hannibal, will you go ahead and just tell us, you know , how you got to Tulsa, why you're here? What, what keeps you in Tulsa? Tell us a little bit more about your , your journey here. So I came to Tulsa from Cambridge, Massachusetts from Harvard law school. I took a job with a law firm here in Tulsa because I wanted to be in the region. My hometown is Fort Smith, Arkansas. And so the choices in the region would be Tulsa, Dallas, Kansas city, little rock. Um, and since I'd clerked here, Connor and winter's law firm in a summer had a good experience. I decided to come back here and work for that, for that law firm. What keeps you here? Interestingly enough, the history is part of what keeps me here. Now, one of the things that happened when I initially got here is that I was asked to write a guest editorial column for the black newspaper, the Oklahoma Eagle. And at one point I was asked to write about the Greenwood district, which I knew very little about, and that led me to a deeper exploration of the history of the community. It led to black wall street, which was my first book that came out in 1998. And since then, I've written a number of other books about the Greenville community and generally about the black experience in Oklahoma. Um , yeah, very cool.

Speaker 3:

Well, so this is our first time covering , um , the Tulsa race massacre. You want it to highlight it for black history month. That was very important. Um, just for our listeners who maybe have no knowledge of it, or very little knowledge, would you mind actually, in with your expertise, give a brief synopsis of the event on May 31st in 1921.

Speaker 1:

Before I do that, I think it's important to help the listeners understand the Greenwood community generally, because if you don't understand what the Greenville community was in a more general sense, and you can't appreciate the damage that was brought by the massacre in 1921. So the Greenville community dubbed black wall street was an incredible entrepreneurial economic community , uh , that existed right alongside rigid Jim Crow, segregation. And that's what made it remarkable. It was an insular black community that found success because the greater market was closed off to black people. So that's why the Greenville community was successful. And there were a number of factors that that led to what's now called the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. Um, those factors include just the general racial climate that exists in the United States in the early part of the 20th century, historians and sociologists called it the Nadir of rice relicense in America because of the proliferation of these events that were called race riots . There were largely invasions of black communities throughout the United States. And because of lynching, lynching as a form of domestic terrorism, whereby a victim is , is targeted. And that person is brutalized often murdered. The , the intent of which really though is to send a message to the group, to which that person belongs about their relative place in society and their relative value. So we know that just two years prior to what happened in Tulsa in 1921 in 1919, there were more than two dozen major events called rice riots in the United States in places like New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Omaha, Longview, Texas, Elaine, Arkansas, Washington, DC, on and on and on there too . What happened in Tulsa? Interesting question, because we don't know definitively that the scale of what happened in Tulsa, at least in terms of the number of people who were killed, we know financially , uh , in today's dollars, the damage to the Greenwood district, then tell us the 1921 range , well above $25 million, we know that some 1,250 people lost their homes. Um , in terms of structures being destroyed, we know that families spent days, weeks, and months living in 10 cities set up by the red cross. We know that black people were interned, like people of Japanese ancestry were interned or world war II . So we know it was horrific and it's considered by most people, the largest of these acts of civil unrest, so-called race riots in our history. So, so what happened in Tulsa is in part , um, the continuation of a larger narrative about race in America that said there were some particular factors here in Tulsa that led to , uh , this, this horrific outbreak. One was something that I call land lust, the black community in Tulsa, historically the Greenwood district was about 35 square block area. And it abuts downtown Tulsa know butts , white Tulsa separated only by the fresco tracks. That line was desired by the railroads. It was desired by other industrialists. So land loss was clearly a factor in addition to the general race and racial climate nationally, the clan was growing , um, here in Tulsa and in Oklahoma during the 1920s peaking in the late 1920s. Um , and in Tulsa, the other factor quite frankly, was the media and it wasn't all media as much as it was one particular media outlet, the Tulsa Tribune, a daily afternoon newspaper, very popular, published a series of inflammatory articles and editorials that really fan the flames of racial discord in the white community. And so Tulsa was what I consider to be a veritable tinderbox during the run up to the massacre, which was May 31st and June 1st, 1921, all that was needed was a catalyst, a match to be thrown on the smoldering embers and that curiously involved, two teenagers, Dick Roland and Sarah Page , Dick Roman was a black 19 year old dropout from Booker T Washington high school who Sean choose made a fair amount of money because there were a lot of wealthy oil barons who needed that service. Sarah paid 17 year old white girl who operated an elevator in downtown building a Monday, May 31st, 1921. Dick roll needs to use the restroom facilities are segregated. He goes over to the Drexel building. He knows a restroom available there for him. He boards the elevator Sarah Page is operating. Something happens. We don't know exactly what that caused the elevator to jerk or to lurch Dick Roland bumped into Sarah Page. Sarah Page screamed. The elevator came back down to the lobby. Dick Roland ran from the elevator Sarah Page alighted from the elevator and was met by our clerk from Ren Berg's locally owned store. That used to be very popular here. He comforted her. She was distraught. Where is this? I'm like geographically angry. What do you do? We know exactly like where this happened? The Drexel billings is not ingrained with downtown, which made the incident all the more prominent, right? And so the exchange between Sarah Page and the Ren Berg's clerk was recorded and arguably distorted by the Tulsa Tribune. So the Tulsa Trivian published the story the next day, it was an afternoon newspaper. So it published on May 31st in the afternoon that described the encounter in the elevator between Sarah Page and Dick Roland . Now Sarah Page would ultimately recant the story that was published by the Tribune . The Tribune published the story in a very overt attempt to make Sarah Page look more virtuous than she actually was. The corollary effect of which was to make Dick Roland look more villainous than he actually was because the article they published was entitled NAB Negro for attacking girl in an elevator. And in the article, they essentially said that this teenage black boy attempted to rape this respectable white girl in broad daylight, in a public building in our fair city of Tulsa implicitly, it said , and what are we going to do about? Right. So ultimately Dick Rowland was arrested. Sheriff McCullough took him to the jail top floor of the courthouse. Large white mob began to gather on the lawn of the courthouse. Um, groups of black men marched down to the courthouse to protect Dick Roland . They thought he was going to be lynched because that was a rumor that was circulating about town. Ultimately several dozen black men were confronted by the larger white mob, which numbered ultimately in the thousands. Uh , there was words exchanged between the large white group and the small black group, a gun that one of the black men held was taken from him by a white man and discharged in the process. And things went haywire from that point. And the actual violence lasted roughly 16 hours, but the damage wrought by that violence was tremendous. If you look at photographs of the Greenwood district, if you look at some of the panoramic photographs , uh , it's a really a scorched earth kind of scene. Yeah , it's so interesting. Cause I , um, I was talking to someone who grew up in Tulsa, went to school in broken arrow. And , um , we were actually watching the Watchmen, this , the new show that came out. And , um, I had learned about the race massacre coming here for school. Um, but he had only like peripherally learned about the race massacre . And when he watched the episode, it's very graphic. I mean, it's like, it looks like a war scene and he was like, there's no way that's actually what happened. I was like, no, like you need to do your own research and look into this is actually what legitimately happened. I think people for whatever reason, whether it's education or , um, not wanting to, you know, touch the subject, I think there's this idea that it wasn't as horrific as it actually was. And that's why people need to get a handle on the kind of racial violence that existed in the United States generally. Yeah . But because what happened in Tulsa is not unique. It is , it is different only in magnitude. The character of the events that are occurred is wholly consistent with what was going on generally in the United States. During that period, we know that I mentioned lynchings and one method of lynching is hanging. That was, but that's the only one method. But at these, these hangings, for example, these were carnival type atmospheres. People would bring their little children to witness this. People would actually fight over scraps of clothing worn by the, by the victim because they wanted to be able to prove to their friends and relatives that they witnessed the lynching. So this was a horrific period in the United States history around race relations. And I think you can only, you can only really sink to those kinds of depths in terms of race relations. If you totally dehumanize the other, if you otherize the other, that's the only way that you can perpetrate that kind of cruelty and violence on another human being. Yeah. I'm so glad you provided that. Um, the broader context. Cause I think , um, you know, today when we see horrific things happen based off of racism, like, you know, violence and racism , um, I think sometimes there's a confusion that, you know, it feels like these things happen in a vacuum, but they don't, they never do. And I think your description really speaks to, you know , what happened in 1921 was not happening in a vacuum. It had a much broader context associated associated with it. The other important point to make is that we only add insult to injury when we pretend like our history did not happen. Yes . And in other words, so part, part of the story here is what many people would call a conspiracy of silence that , that this event happened. Then it was largely erased from our collective memory, not included in curricula and therefore people today are ignorant of the past and they're ignorant of that past. They can't understand then why they're a great distrust in the black community for the police department, right? If you understood that the police department actually deputized some of the people that destroyed the Greenwood community, then you can understand why there are issues of trust between the black community and the police .

Speaker 3:

So part of your work over the years has been writing about history, documenting stories. I was reading a quote from an old manuscript that was found by Colbert Franklin. He was a survivor of a massacre. He writes, I could see planes circling in mid air . They grew in number and homed, darted and dipped low. I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office, building down East Archer. I saw the old midway hotel on fire burning from its top and then another and another. And another building began to burn from their top. Just a very imaginative, like way of describing the situation. I can't even imagine. Um , it makes me wonder how many more stories are out there or how many more pieces of evidence and information have been lost, stolen, or even destroyed even like you were saying, silence, the truth. Can you speak to this as you've kind of been in this world of writing about the stories and the history,

Speaker 1:

it's a lot of information out there, but if you want information to be transferred across generations and it needs to be an in curricula, that's been , that's been the problem. It's not that there's an absence of information generally, because for example, Mary Elizabeth Jones parish who worked for the YMCA and was a black woman here , uh, during the massacre wrote a book in , I think it was , it came out in 1923, it's called events at the Tulsa disaster. But, but she interviewed people contemporaneously. She described the events contemporaneously in a very vivid way. So that information has always been , been around. Um, and, and today, of course, not only would we have that, we have my books, we have other books. We have the report of the Oklahoma commission to study the 1921 Tulsa , uh , to study the Tulsa race riot of 1921. I think this was officially called, but that report came out in 2001. It's a really comprehensive report. We have the relatively newly discovered BC Franklin manuscript that you just read from a , so there's a lot of information, but the information needs to be collated and presented in various curricula, France in a systematic way. So that's , so it's a translates and transfers across generations. That's really the way to embed the history in our community. And that's something that we, as individuals can make happen. You know, we all have school board representatives, we all have legislators, we all have influence.

Speaker 4:

Right, right. Yeah. And I just want to take a moment to say to our listeners that , um, you know, we wanted to focus on , uh, the Tulsa race massacre in talking with you Hannibal , but I also want to make the point of like, and you said it earlier, there is so much information out there at this point , um, that I really think that it is incumbent upon us as Tolsons to educate ourselves and to really, to really look into our history and to understand its implications and , uh, handle . I wanted to kind of ask you, you, you spoke a little bit to , you know , uh, police relations , um, that's like one impact, but can you speak a little bit more to currently today how , um , this history impacts us and, you know, either, you know , negatively or, you know, in terms of, you know, positively resilience, how we've risen from the ashes in some ways, can you kind of speak to modern day applications ?

Speaker 1:

Biggest implication in terms of race relations is the Gulf of distrust that I described earlier. And it's not just with the , with the police department, it's sort of with white authority figures and the black community because the black community was totally let down in 1921. And, and that has been largely swept under the carpet until relatively recently. So you can see where there , there will be a lot of trust issues. On the other hand, if you look at the history , uh , you can look at it from what I would call an appreciative inquiry perspective. What, what was, what is good and right. And saluatory about what happened in the past. And one thing is, is the resilience. It's a character of the people in the black community who even against these great odds, they determined that they would stay and that they would rebuild and that Greenwood would come back bigger than it was prior. So the Greenwood community actually peaks in the forties, not in 1921 in terms of number of business enterprises and so forth. So that's something that we can celebrate. The other thing I think we should take from that. And I'm personally working on as chair of the education committee for the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, Centennial commission is this notion of the black wall street mindset, which I say is a, can do spirit. It's an entrepreneurial character that is not geographically more to the Greenwood district. So we can look at these pioneers, these trailblazers and say, wow, if they were able to be successful in business in this horrific era, in terms of race relations, then why can't I with certainly far fewer barriers, not, not no barriers, but far fewer barriers be successful in whatever business enterprise I want to pursue. And furthermore, I have access to open markets if they didn't have access to that's the black wall street mindset that I think we can, we can really, really relate .

Speaker 4:

Let's go into , uh , our lightning round. So on a much lighter note, let's get to know you a little bit better. Um, I'm gonna ask you a speed round us and would you rather questions and you answer however you want. Okay. First question. Would you rather always be 10 minutes late or always be 20 minutes early? Would you rather be forced to dance every time you heard music or be first to sing along to any song you heard

Speaker 5:

die ?

Speaker 4:

Would you rather live without the internet or live without AC and heating?

Speaker 5:

That's a tough one . Um, I'd have to go without the internet cause I can't do about ACM heating.

Speaker 4:

Would you rather never be stuck in traffic again or never get another cold?

Speaker 5:

I don't know. Which is worse. Cold. I'll take the traffic

Speaker 4:

travel . You can at least listen to the podcast. Right, exactly. Uh , would you rather be able to be free from junk mail or free from email spam for the rest of your life?

Speaker 5:

Uh, junk mail, spam seas .

Speaker 4:

Yeah . Yeah. I don't know. I have like five emails in there that just will never get touched.

Speaker 1:

How can we begin to do better? Like what does that look like in real time? I advocated three part process to move us farther along the road to reconciliation. The first is acknowledgement , which that would include things like , um, changing curriculum to better account for the , for the history , um, apology. I actually facilitate the mayor's police and community coalition, which is , um, the mayor police chief and a number of high-ranking police officers and various constituent community representatives. And the police chief chief Jordan, who just retired several years ago decided that he wanted to public apologize for the role of the police department in 1921. And so I met chief Jordan and some other people at Johnathan Franklin reconciliation park. Um, and he issued a really moving public apology for the police departments, dereliction of duty in 1921. So that kind of genuine sense of what needs to happen more as well. And then so acknowledgement apology and atonement atonement is , uh , repairing the damage, making amends . How do you do that? A good example is the Tulsa chamber. The chamber was around in 1921 was a leadership organization involved in business. The chamber recently went through it's minutes from 1921 and discovered that by various acts of omission and commission, it had not been helpful in terms of the situation of the black community after the massacre. So the chamber held a press conference. They donated relevant portions of 1921 minutes to the Greenwood cultural center for historical purposes, chamber CEO, Mike Neil apologized for the Chamber's role back in 1921. And he went a step further toward the third prong, which is a tone when he talked about what the chamber is doing internally and externally to foster diversity equity inclusion. He talked about the initiatives that the chamber currently has ongoing to increase economic opportunity for African Americans in Tulsa. So this notion of acknowledgement apology and a tone that really is central to reconciliation and reconciliation is not a finite point. It's a journey, right ? So , so we'll never get fully to reconciliation, but we can be, we can be in the reconciliatory mode,

Speaker 4:

but would you say, would you say that you feel that our city has done our city government has done what it can in those three steps toward reconciliation and if not, what, what would be , um, additional steps need to be taken? I would say that Tulsa,

Speaker 1:

some of the things that can , um, and I certainly applaud the mayor for being bold enough to , to follow through on the, the 2001 report from the commission in terms of looking further at the notion of possible mass graves, that's, that's really an important step. What we're doing in 1921, Tulsa rice masks with Centennial commission is important as well. Cause we're building what we're calling Greenwood rising, which is a history center. So we'll be able to tell the whole narrative arc of this story. And we envision people coming from all over, not just the United States, but all over the world to about our history and the fact that we are willing to acknowledge our history and leverage it for purposes like cultural tourism, heritage tourism is something that the city of Tulsa to be commended for. The city of Tulsa is helping fund this history center as, as the state of Oklahoma and a lot of private, private donors. I don't know if you are familiar with , um , the legacy museum in Montgomery, Alabama , uh, Brian Stevenson has created a remarkable , um , historical destination point in my memory built around this horrific history that Montgomery has. Is it the one that has the hanging as the , uh , the lynching Memorial, right ? Yeah. Um, it's extraordinarily powerful, but what he's done with these history facilities and Montgomery has become a huge boon to the economy and Montgomery cause people are coming from all over the world to see this cause people increasingly want to, to not only know history, but experience history.

Speaker 4:

It's great to hear you say that. Cause I think sometimes , um, in engaging in these conversations, I hear the sentiment a lot of like, why would, why would we want to draw attention to these horrific things that happen in Oklahoma when it comes to, you know , race or our indigenous communities like, and I it's really good to hear you say that it actually is really beneficial to everybody when we can take a look at this and be honest with ourselves and, you know, find the path forward as often , um, you know, associated with looking back and, and the path to reconciliation I think is , um, it's really great to hear you say that.

Speaker 1:

Okay . Again, it's about, if you really care about what's happening in the present, then you have to be aware of what happened in the past, right? There's no way around that.

Speaker 4:

So , um, tell us a little bit about the , um, the , uh, Centennial museum, your role in it. When will it be opening? Tell us a little bit more about that.

Speaker 1:

So I'm the local curator for this history facility called Greenwood rising. And we are working with a design firm in New York called local projects. They're fantastic. They've done a work all over the world. And the idea is to tell the full story of the Greenwood district in an experiential way. So it's a narrative museum. There'll be some artifacts there, but it's mostly a narrative, a facility we're actually not calling it a museum calling a history history center. But Greenwood rising is a , I think a really provocative title for this because it , I think it brings to mind rising from the ashes that Greenwood is on the AC tendency. Still, even though the events happened in 1921, it says a lot of things in a symbolic way that I think are really important. And we hope that visitors will come there, be informed to be encouraged, to learn about their own communities, history and being engaged in the work of unearthing that hidden history wherever there they may be from.

Speaker 4:

You know , I think earlier you were saying , um, you were talking about black resilience or I guess the black wall street mindset of, you know, really against all odds being able to , um, prosper and , um, do really well. I think sometimes with so much like negative media and it's, I'm a social worker. And so I'm always looking at problems and trying to find solutions. And sometimes it's really easy to get caught in this really like negative cycle of like, man, everything just looks bad. What would you say to our listeners who, you know, want to make a difference and make an impact in their own world and vicinity, however, big or small that is? What would you say that, that looks like

Speaker 1:

it makes sense to focus locally? I can just use myself as an example. So if I look at the national political landscape, but I'm incredibly discouraged. Um , but if I look locally and I look at mayor Bonam for example, and what he's doing with , with mass graves and , um, the fact that he is for the most part, not a partisan player, he realizes there practical things that he can do , um , that, and that most of his work as mayor does not involve it doesn't need to involve partisan politics. That's encouraging. There are little things that we all can do , um, that make a huge difference. I got talked about being an advocate, working with your school board on curriculum issues, working with the legislators on legislators, on , um, eliminating disparities that exist across the board in terms of healthcare, criminal justice, economics, and so forth. You can join . There are a number of organizations , uh , in , in , in Tulsa, specifically fight bias, bigotry and racism get involved with one of those organizations. And if you're, you know, sort of fiercely independent, you're a real loner. One of the first things you can do is just get it , get in touch with yourself, learn about your own history , learn about your community, learn about your own biases. I'm conscious unconscious, and there are a lot, there are tools online. If you, if you're a real loner, go online and take one of the implicit bias tests and figure out where you, where you are on the spectrum and figure out some strategies to make yourself a better person.

Speaker 4:

That's all really great. Will you, will you , um, reiterate again, the three steps for on the path to reconciliation

Speaker 1:

for me, it's acknowledgement apology and atonement . That's great.

Speaker 3:

So where does your work take you now? Um , like what's next on the radio. I was reading that you're going to be doing a collaboration with that Alvin Ailey, American dance theater. Can you tell us about that?

Speaker 1:

So the Alvin Ailey American dance theater in New York city did , uh , they created a ballet called Greenwood really? So it's , it's amazing. So one thing led to another, I ended up riding the playbill because they wanted some historical background on the playbill. I wrote the playbook for them and they're being honored by the Greenwood cultural center with the legacy award and in April. But the next big thing for me, I have a new book coming out called black wall street 100, which is a book that really talks about the steps that have been taken in the last several decades to address this history. Um, so black wall street 100 is the banner title. The subtitle is an American city grapples with its , um , historical racial trauma, which is a really , um, provocative, I think, subtitle. But that whole notion of historical racial trauma is not just a local thing. It's a national thing. It is all over the country who are dealing with that. So hopefully the book will be instructive for people in those other communities. And it's also, I think I'm a resource for journalists who will be doing increasingly stories about Tulsa as we approach the hundredth anniversary of the massacre . That's all really exciting. And thank you so much for

Speaker 2:

your role in really advancing this , um , history, just narrative, this empowerment. Um, I'm really grateful for that. So last question for our interview , uh , we've asked every interviewee answered it as short or long. However you want to , um, what do you feel is the meaning of life? That's easy for me? Cause I use this quote all the time from Nelson Henderson . I think it perfect. He said that the true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you did not expect to sit. Excellent. No need to drop out interview. That's a great quote. That's the best one we've heard so far. That's great. Well , Hannibal , thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. We appreciate you taking the time you're busy first . So absolutely thank you for informing the citizens of Tulsa on history and encouraging us to do better. Make sure to stick around and hear a word from our host on about the new show. And what's upcoming today's episode is brought to you by citizens of sound, a podcasting company that produces this show. And many other shows, citizens of sound offers podcasting services from a wide range from editing and strategy to mixing music, composition, logo creation, episode graphics, and more so if you are needing podcast services or wanting to start a podcast today, go to citizens of sound.com and get started.

Speaker 1:

I think I'm just like wanting to keep perspective. Like I think Hannibal to this morning did a really good of that, of like

Speaker 4:

providing good back like solid background about the race massacre, but then also putting it into a context of like history and like past and present and future. And I think he, I think he did a really good job of that without kind of like one leaning it or like pigeonholing us into this conversation about the race massacre. Yeah , yeah, yeah,

Speaker 3:

yeah. I didn't, it didn't seem we're recording so we can just jump in. It did

Speaker 6:

it did , it

Speaker 3:

seems super gloom doom. Let's talk about the suffering again. It seems like you said it was like educational. This is what's going on. This is what I'm doing. This is what we're Tulsa's at . It just felt very informative.

Speaker 4:

I hated the question I asked about like , um, everything can seem so bad. What can, you know, like everyday Tolsons do to make a difference or whatever. And it , I thought back on it, I was like, I was like, I'd sound like, like just a white person trying to sound better about like being, trying to be a better person, you know? And really it's just like, we have it so easy. We like, if all it takes is us being convicted, humbling ourselves and educating ourselves like come on is not that hard. You know what I mean?

Speaker 3:

But I feel like that's still the number one question people ask though, is what can I do or how can I make it better ?

Speaker 4:

I don't think it's wrong to ask that question. I think it's, I would say it comes from a selfish place. That's that was my reflection. Is that probably typically, yeah. After, after asking that and I'm here asking it to historian, who's dedicated his life to understanding and living this topic.

Speaker 3:

All of us felt some level of guilt. Whenever we found out about the Tulsa race massacre, especially grew up in Oklahoma, like, Oh, wow. There's I feel guilt for one. Not knowing about it, not trying to know about it, but also just a little bit guilt of like my ancestors and like where I come from. I was like a white person. And so I feel like as someone who's white, who's just hearing about it. Who hasn't been bothered with, you know, that the information until now, then they're like, Oh, well then what am I supposed to do about it? Like that ? I feel like that's where a lot of people were finding themselves in and then it's easy for them to just to be like to go on about their day and act like it happened and then just move on and they go, well, at least I can just be a better person in my everyday life, but where's the line of, we have to make ourselves feel so uncomfortable so that we actually can change the way that we think. And we behave that are harmful to people.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. I guess I , I guess, I think too, whenever you're going to go into a space, so like, you know, you're going to , maybe you're trying to educate yourself. So you're going into a space where you're learning, I think , um, allowing yourself to like rest in your guilt or whatever really makes it about you. So I think before you go into a space and you're like, I'm about to educate myself right now is like not really about how I feel. And I think really hard to prepare yourself to remember that makes it to where you can actually then learn and figure out what it is that is helpful. Or if that's just you backing off and encouraging or whatever the case may be. I think white guilt in general is like this trope. And I think it , you can get stuck in it then you're not helpful.

Speaker 4:

I think it, it, it's really healthy to acknowledge that. And Hannibal said this, the road to restoration is it's a journey, not a destination. Whoa, wow. Put that in a song. Um, and I think that it's really important to recognize that, you know, it is our like white saviorism that leads us to believe that like, Oh, I'm going to like learn this thing. I'm gonna change and do better. I'm going to save the world and I'm going to like, you know, everything's going to be better now. And it's just really healthy to acknowledge that that will never be the case. Like you will always, because you are a white person, you will always fuck up and just acknowledging that. And like that's a really humbling thing to acknowledge. Um, and then just like taking that and learning as much as you can from it and , and moving forward, I think is something I struggle with, is that the wrong question to ask them like as a white person, what can I do to help or change? Like he said, is that very much a white savior mentality type question? If that's not the right question started ,

Speaker 6:

I can imagine that that would have become a very annoying question very quickly. I can imagine. I mean, I don't know

Speaker 4:

if I were him. I would be like , um, the question, why are you asking me that? Yeah . How about, how about y'all white people stop being oppressive? You know, there's a solution, you know, that's what I mean. Cause the truth is racism is a white people's problem. It's not a like folks of color problem. It's not their job to find the solution, you know, or to educate or yeah. Or to answer that question. Exactly. Exactly what amazing guy. Well, I do want to like , just, and I mentioned this in the interview is that, you know, I think that , um, us making our second debut during black history month , uh, it's really important for me. And I guess for us as like a podcast team to highlight why that is and why it's important and the significance of all the different types of people who live in our city and how I feel like so often there is like one type of narrative or one voice or one kind of person that gets elevated above the rest or one story that gets elevated. And , um, I think that, you know, Hannibal's a great person to kind of kick off this journey of highlighting stories that need to be told and um, highlighting voices that need to be heard. And not that we're like again, like white saviors and it's like , not that we're like doing, but I think that , um, I'm just really excited to hear from different perspectives and different vantage points of our city. And um, I think it'll be a really great learning experience for us. I think it's easy to assume a lot about people and to get tunnel vision. When we talk about our city or about like, we, it's easy for us to categorize people. And I think that like what you're getting at is there, there is so much to us in these like narrow , um, you know, lenses. There's so much to the folks in our community that I think black history should be about the historical trauma, but it also should be about the like bright and beautiful future that we can create that we should be creating what we need to strive to create. And , um , I think that as we continue on the podcast, we will have so many opportunities to do that, to , um, to just really kind of like broaden the , uh, idea of what we think people are experiencing the opinion . Yeah.

Speaker 3:

I feel like one of my goals for the podcast is just giving ourselves, but also listeners, just an opportunity to just listen right? To like stop talking and start making noise for once . But listen to other people's stories where they've come from what they're doing, where they're going. Cause I think we don't listen enough.

Speaker 6:

And without having to feel like you have to relate all the time, like I feel like that's something that's really important and you can especially experience that over a podcast where versus being like, Oh me too, I've experienced that too.

Speaker 4:

Again, these stories are so much more nuanced than we initially perceive. And I think that it's important for us to do our homework and to educate ourselves and to just be really diligent. I think that's our duty as citizens as people I think , um , Hannibal's answer to the question. What's the meaning of life was really great, but I'm not going to say her name and try to like repeat, you have to listen to podcast , but , uh , it really spoke to me and I'm excited to hear what other people think the meaning of life is. Yes .

Speaker 6:

My hope for the podcast would be to introduce conversations and topics that I wish someone would have talked to me about a long time ago, or even now as an adult that maybe I'm too scared to ask. So whenever it comes to sexuality, I have tons of questions that I'm like terrified to ask, but want to know or am curious about or feel like it would make me a better ally. And so being able to provide a space like that, where we ask these hard questions in a safe space and in a comfortable space where we can all learn and help educate other people with similar questions and thoughts. So that's kind of what I think would be ,

Speaker 4:

be a big goal for me.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And we're , we're wanting to structure the show to be a little bit more conversational than just kind of interview style back and forth, asking questions, but more allowing conversation to evolve into the topics, to kind of come out of the conversation instead of going into the conversation with the topic. Um, so we're really excited. We have a lot of , uh, guests in the queue , a lot of episodes coming and please feel free to reach out to us and let us know who you want to hear on the podcast.

Speaker 6:

Do you have any like large questions that you're just very curious about and you would like us to bring in an expert to speak about it? You know, that'd be great. Yeah. Or if you have a crazy story, if you have a crazy story, crazy story. Yeah . An empowering story, creative story, any story we're telling, which is really like, everyone's

Speaker 3:

sorry. Alright . So till next time you stay classy. San Diego pizza .

Speaker 2:

Thank you for listening today. This is of Tulsa for more good on our website , citizens of tulsa.com and follow us on social media. Have a good day.