Ruins of the Tulsa Race Riot 6-1-21

Created by
Owned by
Ross, J. Kavin, American
On View
Community/Third Floor, 3 051
Museum MapsObjects in this Location
Power of Place
silver and photographic gelatin on photographic paper, with ink on paper
H x W: 3 3/8 x 5 1/2 in. (8.6 x 14 cm)
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.
A sepia-toned photographic postcard depicting the destroyed Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma after the Tulsa Race Massacre. Taken from an elevated position, the image shows blocks of what had been homes and businesses reduced to rubble. In the right foreground several charred metal bedsteads are visible. A line of charred trees runs across the middle of the image. In the top left, across a wide avenue, stand a few empty brick building facades. At the bottom left corner, written into the negative and appearing as white text is [RUINS OF THE / TULSA RACE RIOT / 6-1-21]. The verso is marked [POST CARD] at the top with spaces for [CORRESPONDENCE] and [ADDRESS] and an AZO stamp box in the top right corner.
Place depicted
Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, United States, North and Central America
Media Arts-Photography
gelatin silver prints
photographic postcards
Race relations
Race riots
Tulsa Race Massacre
U.S. History, 1919-1933
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
Public domain
2 image(s)