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The Tulsa Race Massacre


accommodations: Something that makes things easier or provides convenience for a person or group.

agricultural depression: In the 1920s, prices for agricultural products fell drastically and the rural part of the United States fell into an economic depression many years before the Great Depression affected the country.

allegation: A claim that someone broke a law.

bias: A strong feeling or opinion, positive or negative, without any information to justify it.

boll weevils: A kind of beetle that devastated the cotton crop of the South for many years.

compliant: Obeying without challenge.

consensual: Agreement from everyone involved.

controversy: An argument or point of disagreement.

densely: Crowded.

deputize: To give someone the power to enforce the law.

discrimination: A thought that a group is better or worse than other groups and acting on that belief.

displaced: Being forced away from home without a place to go.

dominant: The most important or powerful.

economic development: Increasing the amount of businesses and work.

editorial: A news story that features the opinion of the writer.

entrepreneurs: A person that starts and runs a business.

eugenics: The belief that selective breeding for desirable traits will improve the human race. In the United States, this belief was intimately tied with race and class as indicators of desirable traits.

exemption: Not being required to do what others have to do; being excused from an obligation.

frontier: The place beyond the settlement of one’s group.

green cards: The cards given to Greenwood’s African Americans showing their employment, which allowed them to move around in Tulsa after the massacre.

Greenwood District: The successful African American district in Tulsa.

homestead: A grant of public land to individuals willing to settle and farm the land for five years.

hospitality industry: Workers whose main job is looking after the well-being of others.

immunity: Free from.

infestation: An unusually high number of, usually, insects that then cause damage.

infrastructure: All of the things needed to do something; in the oil industry, pipelines, seismic equipment, trucks, storage facilities, refineries are necessary to acquire and sell the product. These are examples of infrastructure.

institutional power: The power that comes from being a decision-maker in government or a large organization.

internment camps: Places to detain people considered dangerous, especially during war.

Jim Crow laws: Laws that promoted segregation and racist practices.

loot: Massive stealing from homes and businesses, especially during periods of unrest.

luxurious: Extremely comfortable.

lynching: The killing of a person by a group without a legal trial.

martial law: Government by the military.

massacre: Deliberately and violently killing a large number of people.

minstrel show: Comedy shows based on mocking African Americans.

narrative: A version of a story.

prejudice: Preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Professor’s Row: The neighborhood on Standpipe Hill in which the wealthiest Greenwood residents lived; many of these residents held prestigious professional positions or were wealthy entrepreneurs.

progress: Advancing and getting better.

relief: Food, clothing, shelter or money given to a person facing a specific difficulty.

removal of the Five Tribes: The forced relocation of the Five Tribes—Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), and Seminole—from the Southeast to Indian Territory.

riot: A violent public disturbance that law enforcement cannot control.

rooming house: A large house where individuals can rent a room.

second Ku Klux Klan: Terrorist organization in the 1910s and 1920s that targeted African Americans and minority groups, immigrants, and people that violated laws enforcing morality.

secularism: A move away from focusing on religion.

self-sustaining: Keeps itself going, doesn’t require outside assistance.

Senate Bill One: The first law passed by the Oklahoma state legislature. It required systems of segregation be put in place.

sexual assault: Any sexual contact that involves force or occurs without consent.

shanties: A shelter constructed from used materials.

sharecropping: A system of agriculture in which a landowner rents land to landless farmers. The payment is a percentage of the crop. In the American south, this system resulted in poverty and oppression that lasted generations.

sparse: Not crowded.

subside: Reduce from the peak.

superiority: The highest or best.

tenets: Basic beliefs in which all agree.

terror: Violence used to frighten others from doing something.

urbanization: Moving from rural areas to the city.

vagrancy: Being without a means of support. In the American South, many places had vagrancy laws that required African Americans keep a job or face incarceration.

vouch: To use one’s personal reputation to affirm something is true.