E. B. Du Bois, meditating on the failure of Reconstruction, wrote, “The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.” In this talk, Lewis thinks about this movement through the history of Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, more famously known as Black Wall Street. After detailing how Greenwood was the product of post-Reconstruction Black striving in Indian Territory, Lewis assesses how the 1921 race massacre's destruction of Greenwood was reproduced by insidiously violent processes that include urban renewal. Throughout successive waves of dispossession, Greenwood became geographically and narratively glossed as North Tulsa. I show how North Tulsans' responses to these circumstances are organized and driven by community formation, and how, akin to a kind of reconstruction, they are facilitated through a reparative ethic of restoration.
"Black Reconstruction as a Portal" is a year-long Sawyer Seminar at the University of California, Irvine that explores the global salience of visions of Black Reconstruction as a portal between the crisis that marks our current predicament and the freedom dreams of those who have taken to the streets insisting that another world is still possible. This panel is the second in a series of four panels (Jan 18, Jan 25, Feb 8, Feb 15) that will explore the topic "Black Reconstruction Geographies."
-Jan 18: Camilla Hawthorne & Adam Elliott-Cooper (Europe)
-Jan 25: Jovan Lewis (the United States)
-Feb 8: Adam Bledsoe & Priscilla Ferreira (Brazil)
-Feb 15: Stefan Ouma & Wangui Kimari (Africa)
For more information, go to: https://blackreconstructionasaportal.org or follow us on Twitter @readingdubois