April 1st, 2011 // 1:36 pm @ Hannibal B. Johnson
A Tulsa Race Riot Survivor’s Story
A PLAY BY HANNIBAL B. JOHNSON
Featuring acclaimed actress
as “Big Mama”
Big Mama Speaks is based on Hannibal B. Johnson’s book, Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District. A one-act vignette, the play traces the history of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s African-American community, the “Greenwood District,” renowned nationally in the early twentieth century for its preeminent Black entrepreneurs.
The worst race riot in American history destroyed the beloved Greenwood District in 1921. Fires raged. Bullets flew. The stench of death and destruction filled the thick summer air. Greenwood smoldered and lay in ruins. Some 300 people lost their lives. Hundreds more suffered grievous injury. Property damage ran into the millions.
Against all odds, Tulsa’s African-American community overcame. The Greenwood District rose from the ashes. By 1942, it boasted 242 black-owned and black-operated business establishments. Big Mama Speaks speaks to the triumph of the human spirit.