John and Loula Williams and family |

Black America’s most eminent historian Dr. John Hope Franklin often told his students that the past is prologue to the future. His message was essentially a lesson for all of us to examine our history and connect it to our present day lives. Using his aphorism as the method for my research to write my first novel Fires of Greenwood: The Tulsa Riots of 1921, I found that there are many similarities between the successes of Black Americans in the business world today and the accomplishments of an earlier generation in what became known as Black Wall Street.  Though the White rioters’ envy and terrorism of the Black Mecca in Tulsa claimed 300 Black lives and left 9,000 others homeless, out of the Greenwood area of Tulsa emerged a great legacy of success. Today, businessmen and women walk in the shadow of those early pioneers who, only fifty years after emancipation, built a self-sustaining community.
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