Entrepreneur

Family of Greenwood entrepreneur reunites in Tulsa to commemorate Race Massacre

TULSA, Okla. — People are traveling from all over the country to Tulsa this weekend marking 101 years since the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

They’re remembering that painful history, but also celebrating the resilience of the Greenwood community.

Descendants of R.D. Holloway say it was important for them to come back to where it all began.

“My high school days were the dance club and the glee club,” said Jane Chauteau.

Jane Chauteau lives in California now, but graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa.

Chauteau, her son Cedric Alexander, and his wife were touring the Greenwood Rising History Center Friday morning.

“We’re just here to make history and bring our family back together,” said Cedric Alexander.

Alexander says they’re descendants of R.D. Holloway, a Greenwood entrepreneur who owned 5 shops in the district at the time of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

At 91 years old, Jane Chauteau still remembers her father’s businesses.

“A grocery store first and then an ice cream parlor,” said Chauteau.

Across the street from the museum, two of those shops are memorialized on the wall, Holloway and Ramsey Drug and Holloway’s Grocery.

“I’m very proud to know that I come from a family of entrepreneurs,” said Alexander.

“A family of people that don’t give up and that rebound. It’s just phenomenal to be a part of that rich history.”

Alexander says they’ve brought 46 family members to Tulsa this weekend, back to where their family legacy started.

It’s something Phil Armstrong, interim director of the Greenwood Rising History Center, says is helping spread this vital history across the country.

“People are not pushing away from uncomfortable history,” said Phil Armstrong.

“They’re not pushing away from this horrible act of violence that was fueled by the Ku Klux Klan. They want to learn the history so that we don’t repeat this history.”

In the 9 months the Greenwood Rising History Center has been opened, they’ve seen 41,000 visitors from across the country and world.

As they extend their hours to 9pm this weekend to accommodate even more visitors, Armstrong says the community as a whole will continue to learn and grow from our painful past.

“We have a moral obligation to really learn from this. To come together and see what does the road to reconciliation look like,” said Armstrong.

The Greenwood Rising History Center is hosting several events to commemorate the Race Massacre including a candlelight vigil and community dinner.

The Black Wall Street Legacy Festival is also hosting weekend events to celebrate the legacy of Greenwood, bring people together and push for justice.

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