Published December 1, 2019 by rochellewisoff

The Greenwood district was a thriving African-American community with luxury shops, restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, jewelry and clothing stores, movie theaters, barbershops and salons, a library, pool halls, nightclubs and offices for doctors, lawyers and dentists. It had its own school system, post office, a savings and loan bank, hospital, and bus and taxi service

This is an unusual prompt today because it’s focused on a specific time and place, and as such is sort of an experiment. We at Pegman encourage you to look into this mostly-forgotten tragedy and write something about it, but as always you can write anything about Tulsa that strikes your fancy.”


Thanks to Josh and Karen for hosting the Pegman Challenge. I couldn’t very well resist a challenge that includes history. My heart goes out to the people of Greenwood. I dream of a day we can appreciate each other’s differences instead of trying to snuff them out. 

The aftermath. 35 city blocks were razed to the ground.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150


I knew nothing of the so-called race riot that took over 300 lives in our district of Greenwood until 1996 when the Today Show ran a story. After seeing it on television, my 80-year-old grandfather agreed to let me interview him for a school report.

            “You must understand,” he squeezed my hand, “my memories are those of a five-year-old.”

            I poised my pen over my notepad. “Go on, Poppy.”

            His faded gaze looked past me. “Four men ran toward the house with guns and lighted torches. Bam! My daddy fell.” A tear streamed down a crevice of Poppy’s leathered cheek.

            “Mama yelled to us kids, ‘get up under the bed.’ Which we did. My sister clapped her hand over my mouth when one of the men tromped on my finger. I can still feel it. They set fire to the curtains. Life as we knew it went up in smoke.”

16 comments on “THE AMERICAN DREAM

  • Excellent take on the prompt, Rochelle. I knew nothing about this until I saw a depiction on HBO’s Watchmen a few weeks ago. In researching it since, I’ve read and listened to several wrenching accounts. That this horror has been forgotten is as big a stain as the massacre itself. No wonder history keeps repeating in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      I knew nothing of it either. Your challenge sent me to You Tube where there are a multitude of videoed interviews with survivors and a few documentaries. You’ll get no argument from me. Definitely a blot on American history. Thank you re my story.




    • Dear Jan,

      Detroit’s no surprise. Of course I knew about that. The massacre in Tulsa has been kept as something of a secret, even by the victims themselves. Apparently the documentaries have been floating around for some time. You Tube is a great source. Thank you for your affirming comments, m’luv.


    • Dear Lynn,

      It was a horrible event that I didn’t know of until Josh posted the challenge. It’s unimaginable that such a travesty could be so well buried. It makes me wonder… At any rate, you leave the loveliest compliments in your comments. Thank you so much.



      Liked by 1 person

      • My pleasure, Rochelle. No, I hadn’t heard of it either. It seems the town and the country – black and white – would rather it was forgotten. At the time, at least. You treat all of your subjects with such empathy, I love to read your work


  • You are so right when you have Poppy weeping at the memory. I have seen exactly that with a man who lost his parents in the German occupation of the Channel Islands in WW2. Time may dull the grief, but it never goes completely.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I was going to participate this week but could not bring myself to. There are so many hate-filled incidents like this. Besides, I knew you would do it way more justice than I ever could. And I couldn’t see myself trying to find a positive spin on the area.

    Shalom and lotsa heartfelt love,


    Liked by 2 people

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