July Road Notes, Day 23: Heat? What Heat?

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July 27, 2021, Castle Rock, CO- That kind of arrogance would be sure to get me into hot water, with my little family and anyone else who suffer the 100-degree plus days that seem to be in store for nearly the entirety of the Great Plains and South, over the next two weeks.

Elantra’s cooling system certainly worked like a charm today, and work it did-even in Denver, the readings were as high as 102,in late afternoon. The main function of the day was to get as far along as possible. Not before, however, I had a small breakfast at Yorkshire Inn, listening as a teacher of Authentic Bible Studies was explaining why it is important to know the original words of Scripture-to which I say “Amen!”. So much of the division we see in organized religion has stemmed from the personal interpretation of words, and differing from the personal interpretation of words, by others. Baha’u’llah says that every word, in Scripture, has “one and seventy meanings.” The teacher, this morning, gave his students the example of a passage where, in Old Hebrew, it is mentioned that certain people used a “wheeled vehicle”. This passage has been interpreted, by some modern scholars, to mean that certain people used a car!

My remaining stops in Nebraska were at Coffee Cabin, in Lexington, where I needed to sit and tend to a business matter; North Platte, for gas; and Big Springs, where Sam Bass and his gang robbed a Union Pacific train, in 1877, whilst on a foray from Texas. This little village, the last stop, westbound, in Nebraska, before I-76 presents itself as a road to Colorado, has a fine Service Area, with Max’s Diner as an especially fun surprise. The food is excellent, and healthful. There is banter aplenty, between staff members, and it’s obvious the servers and cooks are enjoying themselves.

Denver emerged out of the haze, in time for its rush hour slog. My method of going around it is to exit the freeway at University Avenue, turn on any given side street that is southbound, go east on Evans Avenue, then follow either Yale Avenue or Parker Avenue southbound to I-225, thus getting past the slowdown. From there, the feeder connects to I-25 itself.

Thus, I found the way to Castle Rock, home of Red Rocks Amphitheater. That it also falls along a direct route between Boulder and Colorado Springs is a plus. That the direct route is a toll road, is a minus. Overall, though, the day was a plus-as is being among a very pleasant group of travelers, vacationers and hospitality workers, at Castle Rock’s fairly new Day’s Inn.

Just about everything here is new, at least since I was last in Denver, in 2013. The tiny Castle Rock of that era has grown exponentially. Life sure has a way of keeping us on our toes.

July Road Notes, Day 22: Too Slight a Twist, and then…Sizzle

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July 26, 2021, York, NE- The auto heating and cooling technician took a hard look under Elantra’s hood, then a hard glance at me, and went to work on the grizzled grey one, having set aside a few other projects, that I might go on towards home, by day’s end. It turned out to be a simple matter.

The day started tamely enough, with continental breakfast at the Super 8, Fairmont, MN and a serene drive through the prairie of western Minnesota, to Sioux Falls, with the INTENT of taking in the Queen City’s signature Falls Park, and heading on to Nebraska. Wouldn’t you know, though, that in checking the water level of Elantra’s radiator, I managed to not put it on as tightly as I thought?

The piper came calling, as I drove out of Falls Park, towards I-229. The radiator’s warning signal came dinging (not silently, like the “Check Engine” light, but earnestly. I managed to turn the blower off and found an auto body shop parking lot, let the receptionist know why I was there, and called AAA. An hour later, I had added water to the radiator, determined there were no leaks and Elantra was loaded onto the tow bed. Four hours after that, the good folks at Twelfth Street Auto Care, on the west side of Sioux Falls,had squeezed Elantra into their already impossible schedule, determined that SOMEONE had not tightened the radiator cap properly, and that there were no other problems with the grizz. Properly chagrined, I thanked all concerned, profusely, and headed out.

Now, back to Falls Park. It was discovered by early settlers, in the 1850s, though the Yankton Sioux people had long celebrated the beauty and bounty of the cascades along the Big Sioux River. https://www.siouxfalls.org/parks/parks/locations/falls-park

Here are some scenes of my meanderings that followed a fine picnic lunch.

Foreground, Falls Park, Sioux Falls
A view of the lower Falls, from an observation deck
Local volunteers clean up algae and debris
The upper Falls
Ruins of the Queen Bee Flour Mill, destroyed by fire, in 1956.
The bed of Big Sioux River

It is not the Big Sioux at its fullest flow, which suited the many families who came to visit, just fine. Falls Park is a marvelous place for whiling away hot summer days-at it is expected to hit 102, in Sioux Falls, on Wednesday.

Thanks to Alex and Josh, I won’t be there. Instead, on towards Nebraska I rolled, through Elk Point and Jefferson, taking care to give a little girl on her bike, a slow and wide berth. (Jefferson is still the type of town that many of us knew, growing up, where such activities were the norm.) Sioux City came next, along with a casino town, to tis south. In both cases, restaurants were shuttered, due to lack of staff ( a temporary, but still nettlesome issue). I finally hit upon an Applebee’s, in Fremont, NE, getting a satisfying meal, despite the laconic and distracted bar tender/server.

Yorkshire Inn, in this I-80 town, became my resting place for the evening. Tomorrow, it’s on to North Platte, Sterling, Denver and as far beyond as I can get by 7 p.m. MDT.

July Road Notes, Day 21: What Matters Most

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July 25, 2021, Fairmont, MN- The passing driver fairly screamed at me, through a closed car window, as I stood on the grassy median of the quiet secondary road, waiting for the traffic light to turn in my favour, as I brought breakfast back to my motel room. I could see his scrunched up face, long after his car had passed by. An old veteran, sitting outside the motel, witnessed the whole thing and muttered something about some people not having enough to do with themselves. Such was the morning in Hudson, Wisconsin, where “morning people” seemed to consist of the energetic truck stop counterman, the cheerful motel owners, said old veteran and yours truly. Everyone else I met was either strung out about something, or just not ready to wake up fully.

Once I got on the road again, it was with a plan to visit the Minnesota State Capitol, in St. Paul, then go to George Floyd Square, in Minneapolis, and connect with a second cousin who lives in the area. I drove to the Capitol area, finding Minnesota has kept pace with its eastern neighbour, in terms of the majesty of its seat of government.

The Minnesota State Capitol, St. Paul
The Quadriga, or Progress of the State

https://www.mnhs.org/capitol/learn/art/8857

The above link describes the gilded copper figures shown above, and called The Quadriga. The four-horse chariot is driven by the male figure, who represents the State. The female figures represent Minnesota’s agriculture and industry. The four horses represent earth, fire, water and wind.

“Winter” garden, east side of Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota State Capitol, viewed from State Veteran’s Memorial
Cathedral of St. Paul

It was upon driving to the majestic Cathedral of St. Paul, some six blocks southeast of the Capitol, that I got a call from my cousin. She and family live on the St. Paul side of the Twin Cities, so my visit with them was moved up. What a delightful group! They met me at an area coffee house and spent about thirty-five minutes, before we all had to move on with our days. I’m ever grateful to be able to connect with far-flung family. D and her mate have each done well in life. Their daughters will follow suit, from all I noted this morning. Teenagers often go through periods of self-doubt (as do the rest of us), and their feelings deserve to be taken seriously, yet I see a very solid drive in both girls. This little unit is going to be just fine.

Gathering at a Caribou Coffee Shop (above and below)

From family reunion of sorts to honouring sacrifice, I drove to George Floyd Square, on Minneapolis’ south side. Parking well away from the square, I spent about an hour in prayer, listening and carefully contemplating the faces and descriptions of each shooting victim whose death is commemorated there. There was only concern and compassion being shown, by both those visiting and those who are tending the site.

The late John Lewis called for “Good trouble”.
Amanda Gorman had it nailed.

George Floyd Square, Minneapolis

Call it untidy, messy, or even inconvenient, if you will. I would say the events that led to this site’s establishment were very untidy, extremely messy and most inconvenient-for the people who have suffered, and, ultimately, for those who brought about their suffering.

Say Their Names Memorial Cemetery, 37th Street, south of Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis

A dedicated crew of volunteers was busy, at this collective memorial for African-American people of colour killed, under questionable or objectionable circumstances, over the past sixty-six years. One of the earliest such victims, Emmett Till, would have turned eighty years of age today. When he was killed, I was four years old, and he was fourteen. I barely remember, the very next day, one of my cousins mentioned that a “coloured boy”, not much older than he, had been killed by “some crazy people” in a place called Mississippi. I didn’t know who coloured people were, nor where Mississippi even was, but I knew it was wrong for one person to kill another. It was also strange to me that a child should have died. Death was for old people, like my paternal grandfather, who had recently passed away-and he was not all that old.

It is still strange, and I still regard such atrocities as crazy. It would be the same, were any group of people to be subjected to such treatment-regardless of age, or of “race”.

July Road Notes, Day 20: Majestic

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July 24, 2021, Hudson, WI- The clerk sighed as she noted that the bar code on the tag of the book had faded. The bookstore had been physically closed for nearly fifteen months, before the Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, re-opened on July 1. The staff are re-tagging items, as time allows, but I was buying one of the outliers.

I could have sat and talked with my friend, Val, and her husband, Mark, had he returned from his morning exercise, but there was the re-visit to the House of Worship, and crossing the city of Chicago en route, so I left Mishawaka around 9 a.m., crossed into Central Time, and found that, mostly, Chicago had relatively light traffic. In the Windy City, that means the traffic flows at 15 MPH, there are few horns blaring and any complete stops are limited to twenty seconds or less.

I got to Wilmette at 11 a.m., a first! That left time for lunch, in the village center, for which I chose a lovely little brunch establishment called Hot Cakes Cafe. Many stand alone eateries in Wilmette are cash-only, as is Hot Cakes, so I stopped at an ATM first.

The House of Worship and Visitor Center were very popular, as usual, and there was a wedding photo shoot in progress, outside, which is not uncommon. I had to wait a bit for the bookstore to open, as it was still lunchtime when I arrived. Then came the finding, regarding the bar code, which simply led to the clerk punching in the number manually. That would not be a sustainable practice, over time, so the staff will have their work cut out for them, over the next few weeks.

The Temple, or Mashriqu’l-adhkar, as it is properly called, remains as stately as ever, and is increasingly a place of pride for the North Shore of Chicagoland. I have posted many photos of this sublime treasure, in the past, but here are a few from today’s pilgrimage.

Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, South Face
Courtyard, outside Visitor Center, Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette (above and below)

After praying a while, in the temple itself, it was time to head north and west, into and across Wisconsin. The rolling hills and glacial moraines of the “Dairy State” passed easily by, until I came to the state capital, Madison. There are several people, in Wisconsin and across the Midwest, whom I could call on and see if they are up for a visit-and that was the original plan. Then came my medical appointment on July 29, and thus, the week shaved off this jaunt. The Wisconsin State Capitol, though, is majestic in its way. So, when I stopped at a convenient Panera Bread, for dinner, and saw the edifice shimmering in the late afternoon glow, it was time for another walkaround.

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, north view
Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, east view

I walked completely around the structure and its grounds, then determined it was time to head as far west as possible, before calling it a night. As it is a Saturday night in July, I found motels were booked pretty solidly-until I got here, on the Minnesota state line, and at Regency Inn and Suites was the perfect room.

Sunday’s business is to pay my respects to those who were killed in confrontations between police and civilians, over the past several years. In my case, I include both parties-as whoever misuses firepower, to get their own way, is at fault. Law and order are important-and being necessary for a society to function, must be based on equanimity of justice. So, I will go to the George Floyd Global Memorial-not because George lived a saintly life (he didn’t), but because his transgressions did not warrant his death.

I saw majestic sights today- the Chicago skyline, the Baha’i House of Worship and the Wisconsin State Capitol. Can we not strive towards being majestic in character?

July Road Notes, Day 19: Slow Slogs and A Road Mis-taken

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July 23, 2021, Mishawaka- There is something about ending up in a state that was not on the itinerary. One learns, anew, that basic goodness transcends any physical boundary. Another lesson is that, by turning off and restarting one’s phone, the annoying “You’re offline!” message from GPS disappears, and the more sensible Google map (or WAZE) pops up and gets the job done.

I enjoyed a comfortable shower, at Du Bois Manor, then a simple, delightful breakfast at the Hitching Post, one of two dining establishments on Du Bois’ east side. It is comforting to be among locals, at a morning meal in a small city.

The road west, through Ohio, was fairly straightforward, but very slow in places. One Service Area, just west of the Pennsylvania state line, appeared to be a work in progress. There were none of the usual restaurants, and no WiFi. I kept on going, and thankfully did not run into REALLY slow traffic, until just shy of the Indiana state line. We sat, about 200 in number, for almost an hour, though we did inch forward-usually at about the time my GPS tried to kick in, for directions to my friends’ house in Mishawaka.

By the time I reached the Mishawaka exit, the GPS had decided to call it a day. Heading somewhat blindly north, it was not long before I found myself at a corner gas station-in Niles, Michigan. As that little town was not on the itinerary, I got re-oriented southbound, with help from a very detail-oriented local resident. Calling my friends, the rest of the route came through, very clearly. By now, though, I was in downtown South Bend, and was not accepting the “You’re offline!” nonsense- in a Free WiFi zone, no less. So, restart the phone, it was- and a scant two minutes later, I was en route, directly, to Mishawaka.

Val and Sparky are always gracious hosts, cordially waiting for my arrival, before dinner became a fait accompli. A summer salad is always welcome, even at a later hour than usual. So, here I am, enjoying the last scheduled visit with friends, as my trip westward will gear towards the Baha’i House of Worship, in Wilmette, newly re-opened, after a year’s pandemic protocol.

There is always a positive lesson, even when it looks as if misfortune chuckles.

July Road Notes, Day 15: Reckonings

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July 19, 2021, Saugus- It was bound to happen-after 1 1/2 long journeys, my sad old tires had to be turned into road filler. I purchased four new replacements. The days when retreads or used tires sufficed are long gone. So are the days when I took a chance, and dealt with blowouts.

Laundry got done today, also. The small local laundromat was different. A single, harried attendant mans a cramped facility, with good machines-but unlike the coin laundries in the west and south, this one had no waiting area for patrons, save a couple of chairs outside. That said, it is an agreeable place, and the attendant has plenty of regulars who offer kind words and help him-and each other.

A maternal aunt-by-marriage passed away, late last week. She was a paragon of elegance, and one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. If I were to follow the example set by Sabina LaSala Kusch, a lot of the now occasional conflict in my life would be expunged. We didn’t see much of Aunt Sabina, growing up, but her demeanor was always pleasant.

There remain the constant appeals for money, from Africa. I know that others have life far tougher than I do, but what if a large number of people were to band together and offer small donations, instead of assuming that one person can take on a project, start to finish, by self? As it is, my own debts are coming due-and I intend to meet these, honourably-even if a few people regard my refusal to keep donating to THEM-as treachery.

Reckonings are tricky. Karma may strike, even when one sees self as justified in one’s actions. I will take whatever consequences come about, but will not put energy into attracting negativity. I only wish for the best for others, even if I cannot provide it by myself.

July Road Notes, Day 13: Happiness Is A Cold-Water Flat

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July 17, 2021, North Smithfield, RI- My visit with Dave Glick brought a different, but equally enjoyable, cast to this stop at the family’s greenhouse. Usually, Dave is busy with the operation, whilst Beth spends time with this visitor and fills me in on the family’s doings. This time, she was out of town and Dave was host. He happily explained the next phase of the operation, which will see centralization of the currently sprawling, and outdated, series of houses. This will bring the thriving enterprise forward, for the next several generations.

The springhouse will remain, and be renovated.

Glick’s Springhouse
One of Glick’s Greenhouses

I left Dave and the crew, around 10:30, and headed, in a zig-zag manner, northward. At one point, along I-78, a semitrailer blew a gasket and sat in the right hand lane, resulting in the rest of us waiting for 45 minutes, as the blocked lane cleared, one vehicle at a time merging with those in the left lane.

I got to D’s Diner, in Wiles-Barre, in time to have Linner, around 3:30 p.m. The two servers were clearly struggling in the warmer than usual dining room. I was most concerned about my waitress, Ann, a slightly built, older woman, but she was plowing through and encouraging her much younger co-worker, who at one point seemed ready to faint. I added my own words of encouragement, bringing a smile to the young woman’s face. I like D’s, but they need to do better, by their workers.

The traffic was lighter than usual, through the Hudson Valley and Connecticut. I was surprised to see a huge amount of traffic, coming the other way, exiting New England for the weekend-or maybe just trying to beat Sunday traffic. I got to what I THOUGHT was my room for the night, Quaker Inn and Conference Center, Uxbridge, MA, around 8:30 p.m. I was immediately told by the “attendant” (who was standing around outside) that the place was closed for renovation, that the hotel booking services were flooding him with guests and that I would have to somehow find another room somewhere else.

It was dark and rainy. I was tired and in no mood to either argue or surf my phone for the Hotels.com number and my confirmation code, so I left him and his two female friends- seeing as he would not let me into the Main House, for a source of light. Remember this place: Quaker Inn and Conference Center, and be forewarned. I will get to the bottom of it, tomorrow when I arrive at my more trustworthy next venue.

Five filled-to-the-brim motels later, I came upon an Econolodge, which had two available rooms. The rub was that the water heater was out, and would not be fixed until Monday. I took one of the rooms; the couple behind me took the other. Cold water is a mere trifle; after all, there were generations of urban dwellers in North America and Europe who made do with cold water flats, in the years before, and during, World War II. People in East Asia still bathe in cold water, during the summer months-and God knows how many people, across the globe, have no running water at all.

The day ended quite well.

July Road Notes, Day 11: Alone in A Small Fort

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July 15, 2021, Harrisonburg- Every so often, I encounter a soul who tosses out a corner of the truth, even as the greater arc of history escapes him. Such was my visit to James White’s Fort, in Knoxville, this afternoon.

I bid farewell to my stalwart friends in Crossville, around 10:30 CDT, then headed to northeast Tennessee’s cultural and commercial hub, with the intent of getting Elantra serviced, though nothing is amiss with my trusted steed, at this point. A pair of slowdowns, which were mainly pre-emptive reactions by a few commercial rigs to warnings about “construction”, (there was none in progress), added nearly an hour to the fifty-minute drive. Thus, the decision was made to wait until I get to Saugus, to have the oil & lube done. Friends in Knoxville were also not available to visit, so my stop there consisted of lunch, a walk around the Court District and a visit to the above- mentioned fort.

The Court District includes, among its amenities, a fine little establishment called Yasmin’s Kitchen. It’s a Kosher Moroccan restaurant, and the “plates” are filled with delectable Mediterranean staples, sufficient for two meals. The cheerful young ladies running the place made everyone in the busy lunch crowd feel at home. Yes, that’s what cheerful people tend to do, and it was a much-needed break from the late morning’s road grind. It also saved me from a dinner stop, as plenty was left over, in the falafel plate.

The Knox County Courthouse includes a spacious yard, where a few people were whiling away their lunch hour. Here are a few scenes of the Court District.

Knox County Courthouse
Courthouse Garden
“Beloved Woman of Justice”, by Audrey Flack

The area also has a couple of churches, of architectural note.

First Baptist Church, downtown Knoxville
St. John’s Cathedral, downtown Knoxville

Then, there is this memento of the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair (Knoxville International Energy Exposition).

Knoxville Sunsphere

Whilst looking for a Riverwalk, of sorts, I found the Holston River was fairly surrounded by private enterprise: A well-guarded Marina, a branch of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and an outfitter called Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center. Giving up, at least for now, on the riverbank hike, I spotted James White’s Fort.

The docent was chatty, if flinty-eyed, and gave me a well-practiced primer on early Knoxville. He then sent me off, on the short but jam-packed walk around the compound. It is quite similar, in terms of household goods and furniture, to other historical sites of the late Eighteenth Century, particularly those of the Appalachian frontier. Nonetheless, this is the beginning of Knoxville’s story. https://knoxheritage.org/our-work/neighborhood-tours/historic-downtown-knoxville-walking-tour/james-whites-fort/

James White’s Fort-Courtyard, Main House (left) and kitchen (right)
Outside storage, kitchen area

As an indication of my mildly fatigued state, I was puzzled by this sight. It looked, to my mind’s eye, like the cover of a land mine. I later showed the photo to the docent, whose flinty eyes just got a bit flintier. “That is an upside-down kitchen pot”, though he acknowledged the land mine cover as a possible interpretation.

Dogtrot, so named because it was a place to sit, during the Dog Days of summer.
Main kitchen
Hearth and study, Main House
Sleeping area, Main House
Salt bin, outdoor grill and secondary pantry
Loom, in artifacts building
Mr. White’s tool room (I’ll bet he wished for such relief, as the modern air conditioner shown above!)
Forge and bellows, Blacksmith Shop
Courtyard, James White’s Fort

After my walk-around, the docent asked me a rather simple question: “Since you’re from Massachusetts originally, where was the first per European settlement, in these United States?” My overloaded, foggy brain heard “Massachusetts” and replied, “Plymouth”. AAAIIT! Wrong answer! “Nope, it was Jamestown, 1607”. Turns out, though, we were both wrong, at that point. I remembered, later, about St. Augustine (1565), the real first permanent European settlement in what is now the United States. He then made other comments, that suggested he may be in for some surprises, in the months and years ahead.

No harm, no foul-and on I went on my way- up the road to this Shenandoah

July Road Notes, Day 10: Rainy Day Fun

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July 14, 2021, Crossville- After a sumptuous meal of R’s homemade pizza, and a restful night, the suggestion was made to visit Fall Creek Falls State Park, about 20 miles west of here. As state parks in Tennessee have free admission, and they are invariably filled with natural wonders, I was game.

C and I headed over, around 9:30, and found relatively few people on the trail to Fall Creek, one of two waterfalls in this park of short, but relatively challenging trails. Here are a few scenes of the main trail.

Fall Creek Falls, from overlook
Hard sandstone wall, Fall Creek Trail
Sandstone scramble, Fall Creek Trail
Fall Creek Falls, from the base of the trail
Falls emptying into Fall Creek pool
Millikan Overlook-In this area, Dr. Glenn Millikan, a professor at Vanderbilt University, fell to his death, in 1947.
Suspension Bridge, south of Piney Falls Trail. Of course, when I was on it by myself, I had to bounce on it, just a little.
Piney Falls, south of Fall Creek, is the more robust of the two waterfalls, at least right now.

It rained, off and on, while we were on the main trail, and it was rather slippery in spots. As we were coming back up from Fall Creek, we encountered at least two large groups of hikers coming down the trail. Fortunately, by the time they would have had to come back up, the sun was out again. The trooper of the day was a woman who went down and back up, in her flip flops-very gingerly and carefully. Two children wearing crocs get second and third place. I was shod in regular sneakers, and thus blended into the crowd.

July Road Notes, Day 8: Reconciliation

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July 12, 2021, Memphis- Over the years, I’ve been in places which have shaken my conscience and sense of justice: Wounded Knee, Silver Creek, Bosque Redondo, the Holocaust Museum of Jerusalem, Donjon de Jeanne d’Arc, the Concentration Camp at Berga. This morning’s visit to Greenwood District, on Tulsa’s North Side, had a very similar effect.

I began the morning in the Cathedral District, on the south side of Tulsa’s downtown. It is majestic, in a physical sense, with spires abounding-and not so much competing, as complementing one another. I present a few of these:

First United Methodist Church, Tulsa
Holy Family Cathedral, Tulsa
First Presbyterian Church, Tulsa
No spires, but still impressive: Church of Christ, Scientist, Tulsa

One must eat and drink, so I looked a bit, in the Cathedral District, and found this gem:

Foolish Things Coffee House!

Interior of Foolish Things Coffee House

After giving downtown its due, I headed to the sacred area that drew me to Tulsa, in the first place: Greenwood Historic District.

The signature mural of Greenwood District
Greenwood Cultural Center

The whole point of Greenwood’s emergence, in the early Twentieth Century, was to promote the very self-sufficiency, among Black Americans, that capitalists claimed to want. Yet, Oklahoma Governor Robertson, and his minions, including the commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, were complicit in the plan to put an end to “Black Wall Street”. All they needed was a spark. On May 31, 1921, it was reported that a black shoe shine man had brushed up against a white elevator operator, leading to allegations of attempted rape. Further, the founder of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, seeing a chance to destroy his competition, accused the Mann Brothers, who operated a highly successful grocery store, of fomenting a riot, when a group of black businessmen went to the Courthouse, to seek the shoe shine man’s release. The allegations of D.W. Gurley led to a white mob’s attack on black-owned businesses. These allegations were later shown to be false, and Gurley fled to California. Ironically, the Mann family had come to Greenwood from Sherman, Texas, which later itself endured an assault on black-owned businesses. National Guard General Charles Barrett, as well as the editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Tribune, stoked white anger from behind the scenes. It is not verified, but there is circumstantial evidence that Barrett gave the go-ahead for the use of airplanes, which did fire on blacks who were trying to flee Greenwood.

Scene of Greenwood destruction, June 1, 1921

Dozens of Greenwood residents were killed, and most of the rest were rendered homeless, by the destruction. The bottom line, though, in all this is: Greenwood is coming back. The block which earned the title Black Wall Street is small, but vibrant.

Fountain, on grounds of Greenwood Cultural Center

The Vernon African Methodist Evangelical Church was a key gathering place in Greenwood, and is so again.

Mural, on south wall of Greenwood Open Air gathering space

Wanda J’s Restaurant is also a gathering place for the Greenwood community. It was closed for renovation today, but the sign says it’ll reopen tomorrow.

Mural on berm of overpass, Greenwood District

After walking around Greenwood District, I paused to watch several children who had climbed up the overpass berm, and were now helping each other down, flip-flops and all, under their father’s watchful eyes. When the kids had descended, I noted this mural, of jazz musicians.

Tulsa, and Greenwood, are still here and the city is making amends. Reparations for the families of the victims are actually being discussed. Reconciliation Park, and Street, are set aside, to remind everyone that, when one group prospers, all may prosper.