Across the Tracks: Remembering Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the Tulsa Race Massacre

Abrams ComicArts. May 2021. 64p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781419755170.
Gr 6 Up–This nonfiction graphic novel shares an important, often overlooked piece of American history—the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. The community of Greenwood, in Tulsa, OK, in the early 1900s, also known as Black Wall Street, flourished even in the height of Jim Crow, with Black-owned businesses and cultural institutions. Wealthy businessman O.W. Gurley purchased land in Tulsa with a vision of creating a vibrant Black community. There he set up a grocery store and housing, as well as a church, a library and a community center. Separated from white communities by train tracks, residents of Greenwood continued to keep their business—and money—within Greenwood. When a Black man was accused of assaulting a white woman, a mob came to Greenwood to lynch him. Fighting ensued, and after a gun went off, the white mob was sanctioned by the sheriff of Tulsa to invade and destroy the town. What followed was a horrific destruction of property and massacre. Bold, full-color art enhances the enlightening text. The information is presented in a clear and accessible way; a preface and time line are included at the beginning, and an essay concludes the book. Back matter includes notes and sources.
VERDICT This short yet powerful, nonfiction graphic novel is an essential purchase for all public and school libraries.

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