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Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race War and Its Legacy

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  192 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A best-selling author investigates the causes of the twentieth century's deadliest race riot and how its legacy has scarred and shaped a community over the past eight decades.

On a warm night in May 1921, thousands of whites, many deputized by the local police, swarmed through the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing scores of blacks, looting, and ultimately burnin
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published February 22nd 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I have read on the subject, and I consider it a more thorough study on the subject, taking in both sides of this race war, that is, the black and the white side, especially those on the white side who denied it even happened. It also gives a history of the beginnings of the riot, months before it happened, and it then tells the stories of all who had been contacted that were alive during this time, as well as talking about the rebuilding (or not) of the black community, a ...more
Nancy Oakes
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really, between a 4 and a 4.5, and a not-to-be-missed, in-depth and currently-relevant account of the events of the 1921 Tulsa riot.

I will come back shortly to my thoughts on this one, but for now I would recommend it to anyone. Not an easy subject to read about by any stretch, but read it anyway.

more soon as soon as life settles down here.
Jeff Crosby
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Coming immediately on the heels of reading Tim Madigan's excellent "The Burning," I wasn't sure I would learn a great deal more about the events of May 31 and June 1, 1921 when an entire section of Tulsa, Oklahoma was burned to the ground in what some call a race riot and others (including Hirsch in this book) a "race war." I was wrong, as a full 40% of this text dwells on the "remembrance" part, vividly and powerfully grappling with issues related to reparations and remembrance in modern-day Ok ...more
Fred Klein
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just found out about this riot this year. I can't believe I never heard of it before, and I wanted to learn more about it.

What comes to my mind is that this was an American pogrom against a black community. It's shocking that this happened, and every American should learn about it.

This is the only book I've read about the riot, so I don't know if this is the best one, but it's the one I chose. Every American should read about the riot. This book is honest in that it essentially admits that muc
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
Of the 5 books on the Tulsa Race Riots I've read, this is possibly the most balanced account... rare for a book on this topic. Hirsch's rendering is chock-full of facts and stories from both sides of the fence. Though there are areas where he tries to play up to the African American community, he still does so far less than authors Tim Madigan and Alfred Brophy. He also cares enough to describe predecessor Scott Ellsworth's 2-year struggle on researching this horrific, tragic event. In short, he ...more
David  Cook
Like many Americans my emotions are running high on many levels. I’m so tired of a minority of white Americans belittling the “Black Lives Movement” overtly or subtly by repeating with righteous indignation “All Lives Matter”. Some claim institutional racism does not exist and that we should all just pull ourselves up from our bootstraps. It is in that vein I provide the following book review of the Greenwood, OK race riot of June 1921. I’m pretty certain that most white Americans may not even k ...more
Laura Jean
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are not that many books on the Tulsa Riot of 1921. This one is very thorough. It presents the birth and early growth of Tulsa as well as the growth of Greenwood and the African American population in Tulsa. It then goes into as much detail as possible of the riot itself. The author used as many sources as they could locate and it is quite thorough. Then the aftermath is discussed. This includes the mandatory internment of the African American population at the fairground facilities as well ...more
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
James Hirsch has written perhaps the definitive study of the 1921 race war in Tulsa, the racial and economic context of the conflict, its long-term consequences, and the empty victory that was the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Reconciliation Act. His work has dramatically altered my own views of the event. Like most Oklahomans (I grew up in northern Okmulgee County, only 22 miles from Greenwood), I knew nothing about these events until the state established the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race ...more
Sara (Freadom Library)
Didn't really read the whole thing haha
Read what I needed for my last paper of the semester
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Riot and Remembrance is a thoroughly researched and comprehensively documented account of the 1921 "race riot" / massacre in Tulsa, Oklahama, by all accounts the most deadly and destructive attack by one racial group (white Tulsans) on another (black Tulsans) in U.S. history.

There's no question that the white community was to blame for the destruction wrought on a 35 square block section of black Tulsa, but despite his exhaustive research, author James Hirsch is unable to definitively determine
William Jackson
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was very late getting a book this year specific to Black History Month. At the last half of February, I grabbed this gem of little known history. Sadly, it didn't surprise me what lay within the pages. Racism galore, jealousy over black people rising up just decades after slavery (and in the midst of Jim Crow), a lovely black neighborhood in the city of Tulsa, OK, providing for its own in a land that cared not for them. Then, the typical: a black male supposedly manhandles a white woman. Black ...more
Todd Mack
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eye opening history

This painful part of history no matter how much they tried to hide and bury it had to be uncovered and brought to the light. Every atrocity that has been committed in this country, Blacks have always been on the receiving side of these injustices. This atrocity was so devastating that the oppressors didn’t even want to take credit for their actions but rather have this episode erased from history. Hopefully, this example will show people how hate can lead to despicable acts of
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is a disturbing read. My understanding from reading this account is that there was no "balance” between white and black actions in Tulsa in 1921. The facts are that there were murders of the black residents of Greenwood and physical destruction of Greenwood’s black businesses and housing. An overwhelming response by white military and white community destroyed the entire black community because a group of black residents were angry over the possibility of a lynching. There was subsequently ...more
Brooke Williams
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first and only book I've read about the Tulsa race riot. Hirsch presents such a complete backstory and moves through the riots events in such a compelling manner that it brought the events to life. I particularly appreciated his look at how Tulsans and Oklahomans reacted then and now the the events of the riot. Being a native Oklahoman, and approaching the 100th anniversary of the riot in just a couple years, I will be particularly keen to observe attitudes towards the anniversary in ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a painful historical piece.. From the powder keg that was Tulsa at the time, to the incredibly important response by the Red Cross, to the legal ramifications and recovery efforts. 300 American citizens dead in a race riot you've probably never heard of..
Danilo DiPietro
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Tulsa race massacre, a ‘dirty little secret’ (per Crosby Stills & Nash song) that was buried for more than 7 decades, is brilliantly depicted. A must read! ...more
Crystal Karre
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a tough one to read but the story is finally being told and this is a book worth reading.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Although called a riot, it was really more of a battle, and then massacre, as well as the total destruction of a sizable black population in a mid-western town by the neighboring white populace, that few participants later wanted to talk about or remember. Thankfully there will be historians with the interest and skills to uncover uncomfortable stories, and bring them to the light of day. I knew of Tulsa's sordid story, the attempts to hide the events (and there certainly are still many question ...more
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very impressive book in that it deals credibly with a subject - the Tulsa/Greenwood Race Riot - that has frankly been ignored by history. It's clear that the author has done extensive research and has gone out of his way to be even-handed in his treatment of the subject. In so doing, he creates a vivid portrait of one of the most unfortunate and shameful incidents in 20th century American history and I am grateful for his effort.

This being said, it's in this effort to be even-handed th
Theophilus (Theo)
May 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Extremely detailed and informative. Like the Atlanta riot of 1906, the Tulsa riot was perpetrated by whites against the black residents of the city and has been mostly swept under the rug of history by the mainstream media. The author dug up newspaper articles that had been redacted and deleted by the leading Tulsa newspapers and used firsthand accounts to build a narrative of an incident in which black people armed themselves and said there will be no lynching tonight. Of course there is no hap ...more
Scott Wilson
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, oklahoma
This is an amazing book. Hirsch has done a fine job of gathering and sorting the information about the riot (as well as events leading to it) and also covering the aftermath, even into the 21st century. He has worked hard to be fair to those who have opposing viewpoints about certain aspects of the riot (ABB or KKK involvement, aircraft use, number of casualties) and generally does not allow his personal biases to show at all.

This book is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in Oklah
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is another one of those books I wish had to be taught in schools. We Americans don't know enough about all the horrific episodes in our country that have made us what we are today. This is another example. The riot part of the book is really hard to read, gut-wrenching, in fact. The struggle to get Tulsa to recognize its own past was equally interesting. And I was totally fascinated with how different people tried to piece together what exactly happened during the riot--since the official r ...more
Jennifer Morris
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing

This book is well-planned and insightful. It is not only descriptive and informative concerning the matters of the riot itself, but it also takes into consideration the moral and ethical dilemmas in Tulsa (and Oklahoma) from before the riot to modern day. As a Tulsan, I was not aware of the riot until I took a history course at university....and that was after an Oklahoma history course in high school. I'm disappointed that this never came up in my public high school education and I feel that
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Pretty interesting. I've been around Tulsa for over thirty-five years and never really heard of the Tulsa Riots in any significant way. The book was, therefore, eye-opening. That being said, I found the book a little long on the post-Riot repercussions for my taste. Seemingly well-researched, fair and enlightening though.
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A compelling narrative of a too-little known episode of American history. It's one thing to narrate the past, but this book's great contribution is its detailing about how the Tulsa Race War is still felt today.
Mark  Nicholson
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book told a story of history that I was unfamiliar with. I had no idea that so many Blacks lived in Tulsa or that a race war occurred killing so many. It would be nice if a movie was made about this.
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I learned about the Tulsa Race Riot. Since I grew up in Tulsa, I knew the basic story, but this book made the context more clear.
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
An excellent book on a piece of history that should not have been forgotten. It made me look at cities and their history in an entirely different way.
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read it.
Edward Sullivan
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