Are Coronavirus COVID Yeah, I need you because I'll go Hello everyone. Thanks for sticking around. I know a lot of folks have had to get on a plane and go back home. And some of us are staying a little bit later this afternoon and into tomorrow a couple of us. I am Carlos Moreno. I'm the co captain of code for Tulsa.
I am Judy Williams. I'm the project manager for the green whip mapping project with code for Tulsa. And I've been part of the brigade for a few months. So kind of new to this. Thank you.
And so just as a reminder we are still operating under the CFA code of conduct. Be super nice to each other. And yes, we will be talking about the Greenwood mapping project. It was one of the Code for America impact sprints. And so we'll be talking a little bit today about why we chose this particular project and what we've learned during the impact sprint, especially connecting with the community on this project. So for those of you who are not familiar the Greenwood neighborhood which is to the north and slightly east of the downtown area of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a largely black neighborhood was founded in 1905 by a black woman named Emma girly, and her husband o-w Girly was a thriving black community. One of more than 50 in what was then Indian Territory before Oklahoma became a state in 1907. This photograph is an aerial photo back in the very very, very early days of aerial photography this particular massacre that occurred in 1921 was a complete and total destruction of the Greenwood neighborhood. 40 blocks destroyed 12 156 homes burned 300 people killed 6000 people displaced by two branches of the National Guard. The governor declared martial law this is a pretty, pretty significant event. It is the largest is the largest episode of racial violence in US history.
And it was the first aerial bombing of the city. You'll see one of the airplanes that was used here in a little bit. The reason that green was was attacked was an attempted land grab as you can see on this map from 1915 the northern part of this neighborhood was Greenwood started at the confluence of four railroads being on one railroad was incredibly significant. If you're a city, you would do very, very good business. And you'd be a very vibrant city to be at the confluence of four railroad lines was almost unprecedented in in the nation. That's how much economic power and influence this place had. Not just in Tulsa, not just in Oklahoma but nationally. And it was the desire for the white community at the eastern part of the downtown area to take over this land and own the land where the confluence of these four railroad lines were so that they could build a central train depot and a commercial district and industrial district in this area. That was largely made up of residences, and small independent businesses. This is one of the planes that was used to bomb the neighborhood. This is a surplus World War One Curtis J and one. After World War One the army sold off all of their military equipment. And so these planes that were used, were largely sold off to private pilots, airplane mechanics for training purposes, pilots for testflight purposes and things like that. It was also used for oil executives to quickly get them from their offices in Tulsa to out into the rural areas to inspect the oil fields and oversee oil digging and things like that. These planes took eight hours to get flight ready. There were eight client planes that flew over Greenwood. That means it took 64 hours, man hours to get these planes ready to fly and if you look at the timeline of this massacre, there's court case files and there's a lot of historical records and evidence that this massacre was a planned event and that the city of Tulsa County the National Guard, were all involved in the planning and the implementation of the attack on Greenwood. You can see in this photograph, but the fires that are starting in this neighborhood are not starting on the ground floor. They're starting from the roofs of the buildings which is photographic evidence of the aerial bombing of his neighborhood. Like I said earlier, two branches of National Guard which were dispatched to Tulsa, Oklahoma, their role. Their mission assignment was to evacuate the neighborhood and March, residents have Greenwood into three detention areas. One was a ballpark owned by the county and one was the fairgrounds that was also owned by the county and the one on the very on your right. was then called conventional Hall. A gentleman on the poster is taped Brady who owned the building. He was also one of the leaders like Ku Klux Klan at the time. And one of the architects of this attack on one of the most prominent businesses in this area was the Williams Dreamland theater. You may have seen scenes that depicted the destruction of this theater in the first episode of the first season of the watchmen on HBO, the destruction of the Williams Dream Theater and the Tulsa massacre was also depicted in an episode of Lovecraft country. And so it was in 2019 when the shows were under development that the city really woke up to this event, and the nation really woke up to this event and its history. Even those in Oklahoma and those in Tulsa, there were a lot of people who were who had a lot of questions and speculation about whether this event really happened. And whether there's just depiction in a
in a historically fiction show how historically accurate those depictions were. And and did this event really happened and why did it happen? Those conversations were were of course happening in the decades prior. And there was a report by the state that was issued in 2001. But But really, this got local and national attention starting in 2019, and of course leading up to 2021, which was the centennial of this event what people want a lot of people don't know is what the rebuilding of this neighborhood looked like. What you're seeing in this photograph is the rebuilt, Williams Dreamland theater, and not a whole lot of people even in Tulsa, know that not only was this theater rebuilt, but the entire community of Greenwood was rebuilt. you'd be forgiven
for thinking that the bridge I'm trying to pull up here, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this video footage of Greenwood
of its schools, it's churches of its street life. We're all from before this massacre. Because the narrative that we have in the city of Tulsa is that this black community that existed on the north side of Tulsa was destroyed in 1921. And nothing's happened ever since. That's that's the sort of local narrative that we have. But this thing went away 100 years ago and it hasn't come back. And what we see in this video footage that was shot on 16 millimeter film stock. And that's important because 16 millimeter wasn't invented until 1924 So we can date these films and know that this community came back and that there were businesses again, that there was family, love our families again, that there was community again and there was economic activity again, in the years following a 1921 that this neighborhood that actually came back quite quickly. If you look up this film footage, it was shot by Reverend Solomon sir Jones. He depicts a lot of the street life as well and the businesses in the downtown district. In addition to sort of the residential life of the community. And so, we really wanted to understand the history of this neighborhood further, and like good civic technologists. We said, Let's collect some data. And so we did we went around the city. And we looked at all these data sources from the historical society, to the census. To the roof they every collection, Ruth Avery by the way, is the daughter of Cyrus Avery, who was the architect of route 66 that goes from Chicago to LA. We looked at genealogy center, and several cultural centers that had collections of photographs and different maps and things like that. So so we went scouring the city for data and we found things like land deeds. We found things like neighborhood, Platts neighborhood additions, plans for for new sections of this neighborhood to rebuild to be rebuilt. This one is dated 1911. We looked at a lot of this type of data, which gave us a lot of anxiousness. I can't read cursive very well, thankfully. My elementary school teacher wife can read cursive incredibly well. So she helped me look through a lot of this handwritten information and helped us interpret a lot of it. And we we really asked ourselves, okay, we've got all this information. We've got all this data. What can we do with it and I'll turn it over to Judy at this point.
All right. So Carlos, and and safe, but together kind of a mock up of what the map might look like.
And so, thanks to a GK FF grant, we were able to hire a mapping consultant. Oh, sorry. Okay, that's the wrong way. Give me just a minute. Okay. So we were able to like they were able to show us various years like this one is 1905. And we see the zoomin feature there in the upper right hand corner, and you can click on buildings to learn more about them. And do us a search. There's a search feature as well to search for businesses and places throughout the community. We see the next year right here and 1911 and the search bar interred Vernon AME Church historical church that that was present at the time of the massacre and greatly affected by it. And it's kind of like, you know, a time travel map, if you will, and you see the green dot there. Where we can pinpoint a particular areas on the map itself. And Carlos, if you'd like to add to that, let me know. Okay. So how can we compile this and compiled information for this map? Right. It's a lot of data. So yeah, so basically, and, yes. What I was about to read earlier, Jessica Shelton, our mapping consultant provided this for us the shapefile so geographic shape, historic of the historical plats that Carlos is referring to, of Greenwood and our volunteers, Libby Harris and Patrick oranger. Shout out and Libby is present with us in person. Um, started compiling this into like a tabular format and and then that transferred to the GIS layer which we placed into matte box.
So you can see here that kind of a rendering of how it looks so the the white lines here is like present day Greenwood.
And the ideas of course, is to like do an overlay of what Greenwood green that would have looked like historically. Like around 1920 1921 1923. So pre and post massacre all right. So this is the some of the data, the Poke Yes, the Poke data. So that our local library the Tulsa central County Library has a scan of every page of the Polk directory going back to 1920 and the Tulsa Historical Society has digitized the Greenwood information from the city's phone from 1920 to 1923. And you can see there if you go back Carlos kind of matching and cleaning the data addresses are some of you know the least standard form of data. So and then, again, thanks to a big shout out to Libby placing it into kind of a table format for us to clean it up, organize it and and see it in a clearer form there. So yeah, that's just kind of emphasizing what we've more of the technical language of the layers. Layer One labels points layer to the census data. layer three, the enumeration districts or the catastrophic data in the base layer, of course. All right, so the big reveal, as Carlos put it will show you what we have so far in matte box. And yeah, so he's zooming in and we can kind of see the do you see the green dots there?
So that's, these are those green dots are entries from the 1920. Census. These are residential entries. And, yeah, we'll see again, the white lines the present day and then those green dots are the historical residential points from Jessica's research you want to add to that.
So um, one of the really cool things about map box is eventually when we do get all this data in, not only can we add on to the geographic layer, but if we had building heights, we could start adding buildings in a 3d format, and still keep it keep all of the stager data, digital and so you can imagine being able to add on top of this yet another layer of information which would be building heights, what did these buildings look like? And almost be able to provide either a VR AR experience or both. So this really gives us a foundation to be able to imagine. Quite near anything we want to do with this. We're looking at literally the Google Maps of 1920. Right
so the ongoing work, sorry, team has the incisive and tedious task of continuing continuing to come through this data and compile you know large chunks of historical sources, cross checking cross referencing the sources for accuracy, and alignment, collaborating and consulting on building out templates for entering the residential and commercial data determining the process for data entry for each year. So what you saw in the rendering on matte boxes from 1920 But you know, how do we want my teen 21 to look like you know, when the massacre took place and the post massacre 2223 and beyond. Continuing community partner collaboration for this, leveraging those partnerships in the community, and figuring out how this work will look in other communities in the future. So I played a larger role in this. So I'll be more at ease and explaining this less technical aspects here of the Greenway mapping project community conversation that took place on October 5. So about a couple of weeks ago, so we partnered with so we need a community input right and feedback on our project. That's an important piece of the civic tech projects. So we partner with the OSU Tulsa, Oklahoma State University Tulsa Center for Public Life to facilitate community dialogue with our neighbors about the mapping project. So you know we did our marketing flyers, etc with our partner tri city collective and got the word out did a Facebook event. And it started with and we met at the Greenwood Cultural Center, which is of course a part of historical Greenwood and Carlos presented kind of similar to what we're doing now about the project. And the facilitators, there are six facilitators and three tables so the attendees were divided among three tables, and two facilitators. were assigned to each table. One facilitators responsibility was to elicit the conversation so we had prepared questions that you know about, you know, what brought you here? What did you think of the presentation, what was your feedback on that? Your values are the value expectations of the project, the accessibility of it, the purpose of the project, so we had carefully crafted and formulated questions to ask the group and the groups and one facilitator engaged, you know, and I listed at the feedback verbally, the other facilitators responsibility was to type the notes in the computer so we can like have that real time feedback. And then those notes were, you know, delivered to us a week or so later. So we can like, read the actual feedback from attendees and participants of this community dialogue. And you can read some of that for yourself. We had people who are from Greenwood, who grew up there and saw the value in this project. You know, descendant of a massacre survivor, we had people who were new to Tulsa that saw the value in this project. You know, someone come into this shows that trajectory, the loss of generational wealth and wanting to track that but love to see this you know, academically and activist driven events, touching on black entrepreneurship and the history and involvement of that. And just the importance of like incorporating this historical storytelling and also definitely getting the importance of getting that community feedback. And these are like direct quotes from the participants. And it was it's been so key and we're gonna analyze and kind of comb through this in the next few weeks. And this will really help us make a determination on on where to proceed with the project and kind of assess where we want to go based on their feedback.
So why do we care? Why did we choose this project? I think it was a very important question to ask ourselves. And I again want to give a big shout out to the core team that worked on this project. Maybe Judy, Patrick Flanger Jessica Shelton. These folks have put in a ton of time and effort. Jessica in particular, has spent the last four years in her spare time, evenings and weekends. Going through line by line through the census data block by block street by street house by house, entering this information into a digital format so that we could create the map that you guys just saw on map box. It's it's been a project that that we've spent a lot of time on and impact Sprint's were just a catalyst to take something that was going at about 10 miles an hour and allowed us to move forward at 90 miles an hour during the time that we were in this impact sprint period. And the project impacted our volunteers as well. So we wanted to include in this presentation some of their words, you know, expressing that this has been a labor of love for them. Expressing that Patrick, for example, has been as a citizen of OSHA, Tulsa, emotionally affected by this information by what he's learned about his own city and wanting to find a way to give back but wasn't sure how. So this gave him an opportunity to give back in some way and to make connections in his own city that he might not have otherwise made. And you know, Libby having worked in the nonprofit sector for such a long time. And, you know, having this bit of experience, that bit of knowledge, that bit of technical expertise. She was really able to bring all those together into this and to fill in a lot of the gaps that we had. We sort of knew where we wanted to go with it. But Libby really sort of was the glue that that right, Jessica's data, Patrick's ideas, her own knowledge, my historical mind and kind of brought those together into a structure that we could, that we could follow and continue. And so, you know, we're in St. Louis, and today I'm talking about Tulsa. But I brought with me a book about the history of St. Louis and if you haven't read it, I really, really highly recommend it. Because it's not just the history of St. Louis. It's the history of this country. The title of the book is The Broken Heart of America. And earlier this weekend, Mo let me know that one of the neighborhoods in St. Louis, when you translate the Native American word, it actually means broken heart. And so, this book was published in 2020. And the author writes St. Louis today has the highest murder rate in the nation. Four times the rate of Chicago, the 13th highest rate in the world. St. Louis has the highest rate of police shootings in the nation, around five per 100,000 There's an 18 year difference in the life expectancy between a child born to a family living in the almost completely black, Jeff vanderley neighborhood in North St. Louis, and a child born to a family living in the majority white suburb of Clayton, which that's less than 10 miles to the west. Indeed significant differences into virtually any marker of social well. Being in the city of St. Louis, rates of adult diabetes, or childhood asthma levels of lead in the bloodstream. Internet access can be charted down to a single line Delamar Avenue, which bisects the city between North and South, between black and white. Just over the city line, St. Louis County boasts three of the 25 wealthiest suburbs in the United States. Town and Country Ledoux and fortinac. What we saw in Tulsa is what we see in St. Louis, and what we see in most major cities in the US
and I wanted to end this presentation as sort of a rallying cry about history being civic tech. But I changed what I had written this morning, because I think Code for America is already on this path. So I wrote this instead. As technology professionals, professionals, as civic minded advocates, our instinct is to jump in with both feet and start fixing things we have learned over the course of 10 years, that move fast and break things. isn't the right way to go about building anything. But probably, least of all technological solutions that impact the lives of families and communities. There's still a lot of room for us to grow and learn how to go about fixing these things. We all know our problems. deeply ingrained, scary, and sometimes overwhelming problems. Violence in all its forms criminal justice issues and police excessive use of force, health and education disparities, a gap between the haves and have nots. It's almost impossible to imagine an increasing divisions in hatred during a time when we should be finding common ground and looking for ways to solve problems together. These challenges don't just exist in St. Louis or Tulsa. They exist in every city in the US. I wrote it on a sticky wall, a sticky note on the wall. But as I say it again here as well. The process of involving brigades, in the resources to explore these problems, combined with impact Sprint's pilot is the most significant cultural change in code for America's history. Tulsa lead to impact Sprint's because we're overachievers what we learned with cord bot, is that we'd created a solution in search of a problem. The community taught us that their biggest challenges are the basic needs of navigating the legal system and advocating for the rights that are provided to them on paper, what they were being with but what they were being denied in the courtroom, especially in cases in North Tulsa where black families were being separated. These guardianship cases have an ugly history that goes back to the discovery of oil on land owned by the Muskogee Creek and Osage nations in the late 1890s This is a deeply ingrained, scary and overwhelming problem. We cried leaving that community listening session. But it was a wake up call. That before we would move forward on this project, we needed the institutional weight of the University of Tulsa College of Law to put a spotlight on these injustices and learn as much as we can about the root of this problem, and how we can partner with other community organizations and advocate for change. This isn't a technology problem. It's a policy problem. We walked in to present the map for Greenwood. We thought we were going to get some interesting little features that we could add add as issues in GitHub, and maybe tweak the timeline or maybe make the search function a little bit better. What we were blown away by is that the community's vision for this project the impact that they saw in the work that we were doing, and their imagination for what this project can be was 100 times more powerful than anything that we could possibly imagine. Anything that we could possibly come up with on our own. I had intended to come to this talk to try and make the case that historical research is civic tech. This weekend. We were provided with a zine about St. Louis history. Going back to the prominence and then removal of the Cahokia Mounds. Thank you Crystal. We learned about Florida's community innovations obituary and about an app that walks the community through history at the level of the individual. So it's already happening. And I don't have to convince you that this is important work. We care because our neighbors care. We care because we've
we've learned from our elders. And as was said yesterday, we are the elders of the next generation. We care because we know technology doesn't solve problems. people solve problems. We're searching through history, because we can't know where we're going. If we don't know where we've been. And what I want to do is give one of our elders Deborah Hunter, some time in this presentation. Oh,
I am Deborah J Hunter. And I'm a poet and writer, social justice advocate. And I work in the mental health field, both sets of grandparents migrated from the South to Tulsa. They came from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, my maternal grandfather was a freedmen, Cherokee freedmen. So my grandfather was a family were slaves of the Cherokee. And so there they are, were listed as freedmen on the Cherokee roll, they probably all came around the same time the migration from the south into into Oklahoma and into the Tulsa area. They all came here to Tulsa. And I was my parents were born here. I was born in Milton hospital. And I we grew I grew up where Lacey Park is now that was very park when I was little, and I grew up in that area. But my my aunt lived on Lansing. So my aunt lived in the family home and their parents home on Lansing and she had a beauty shop in the front room of her house. And she was in the same block as man brothers groceries and Gibbs market and the church I went to grew up in was paradise Baptist church right off of Greenwood on Marshall, little Rex theater, the movies, you know they were dying and the popcorn was a nipple. And so I remember that was you got double features and you didn't have to leave after the movie. is over and I remember that and I remember the the bread shop mostly on Lansing where we could smell the bread baking my aunt's house and I went to Dunbar elementary school. They are on the corner of pine and Madison that's where I started school. My cousins and I my siblings my cousins we would just be in various house and we were up and down the street. You know all the kids in the neighborhood you know across the street at the bread place you know we get the they used to have Penny loaves to get a little loaf of bread for a penny. And I think it was like probably their leftover dough that they make these little loaves and it was like a huge thing to go and get a penny loaf. And so and I can kind of remember pool hall my uncle's play pool. But yeah, I just remember running around the neighborhood climbing trees and you know shooting marbles playing jacks. You know kids don't even know about that stuff anymore. Han Han Jive games, you know that was what I remember sitting on a various porch you know after the massacre happened Tulsa rebuilt and I think they all came back around the same time like 1924 to 26 Somewhere in there. They came back to Tulsa. My mother's family moved to I think it was maybe Laguna and then came back to Tulsa. And my grandmother, they went to Alabama and came back because someone was without east. That was a lot of country you know back then. It's amazing to me that within two years, Greenwood was Greenwood district was rebuilt better than it was before because people were looking at ways to build using bricks and trying to get away from the wood because of what had happened. And so in modernizing some of the the buildings that were restored or redone, the businesses that were rebuilt, and I'm trying to remember who that was when I read that the day after he had I can't remember what kind of shop he had. But he came back and set up a shoe shine. Then like the day after everything was was cleared up. So that kind of resiliency is these. They were descendants me post descendants of slaves. Some of the worst lead had had been enslaved. Some of them would you know children of enslaved people. And so they kind of determination came out of making a life for themselves after slavery.
So I think that that was that's the kind of drive that they had. There were a lot of military men who had served in the war and they come back and we're trying to make lives for themselves and their families. I lived away for a while, you know, I left here and 69 and when I came back in 84 All of this urban renewal stuff had happened. And when I came back and I drove through looking for things, I couldn't even remember where anything was had been. And so it was just eerie feeling. I remember at the library as a case manager there and someone saying did add a third several times, people, African Americans who had come here from somewhere else, and were upset and angry that you know, black folks I just met you know, let that land look look like that and never came back and did anything and I'm like, where did you get that from? No, you know, Greenwood was rebuilt, but that story is not being told. And I don't know why. If you don't talk about the massacre, then you don't talk about what happened afterwards. It's just we were here. We were gone. And then we're here and now we're gone again. And if you don't make a point to talk about those things, I think they just it just doesn't happen. I remember when I came back, I had my children. And I told them you know what happened to that area in that area? But I don't know if other people did that. I think it is is a form of disenfranchisement. But it also takes away from the feeling of pride and entrepreneurship of the community. To not know that, you know, because everybody talks about how Greenwood was before the massacre, and everybody was rich, which is not true. And you know, and I had all of that and so they hear that stuff. And and then they see what is there now, and there's there's anger. But there's also that feeling that they could have a sense of pride and what was what was what was done and that's missing. Younger people don't have that sense of pride in knowing that if they're from Tulsa if their parents are from Tulsa, their grandparents are from Tulsa. Then they rebuilt without the help of the city because the city was fighting against them. Rebuilding. They we they rebuilt the city, the community with pennies and dollars and donate it and friends and family sent money from other places. And they just took donations and rebuilt an entire community. It just makes sense to take care of that of everybody in the city in equal terms. Because it's it's best for everyone concerned. It would just be phenomenal. I mean, you know, we have so many kids who as a poet I was a teaching artists for many years. And so we have so many kids who are so talented, but that talent is wasted because they are not given the the same opportunities. As as Southside kids back.
We of course want to thank our sponsors. We couldn't have done this. Without the help of of course Code for America impact Sprint's we'd also thank the George Kaiser Family Foundation, who provided us an accelerator grant for this project, our community partner, city collective and the Greenwood Cultural Center for hosting us in our community dialogue. One of the things that OSU Center for Public Life for providing facilitation and of course my most heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers who worked on this and who will continue working on this. And did I miss mentioning anyone? Oh, yes, of course. And a huge thank you to Jessica Shelton at m&p advocates before collaborating with us on this. We wouldn't be even a 10th of the way that far along in this project if it wasn't for her collaboration so thanks, Jessica. And thank you