poetry Kristallnacht in Tulsa
Kristallnacht in Tulsa
By Philip C. Kolin
The destruction of Black Wall Street,
the Greenwood section of Tulsa,
June 1, 1921
40 square blocks of black banks, schools, hospitals,
churches, museums, a theatre named
Dreamland, the capital of Black Wall Street
that had never suffered a crash before
until deputized vandals for over 18 smashing hours
into the night blitzkreiged this black paradise
with torches, firearms, milk bottle bombs, planes spreading
flames. They burned books, buildings, shattered
glass everywhere. Under grieving, fractured stars
black men, broken men, were marched off
to camps, their memories confiscated, segregated,
forbidden to publicize what happened.
There were no windows left in Greenwood
because there was too much to see.
Philip C. Kolin, Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at the Univ. of Southern Mississippi, has published twelve collections of poems, the most recent being Emmett Till in Different States, Delta Tears, and Americorona: Poems about the Pandemic.