A Garden more so than a Graveyard

Tulsa isn't just a graveyard for lives lost and broken by an unwarranted massacre in June of 1921. This city (particularly North Tulsa) is also a garden to find unexpected life and love growing folks whole today.

By The Greenwood Art Project

The Honoring Prayer (2020) by Marlon Hall and Brian EllisonThe Greenwood Art Project

Growing Human
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Growing Human

Tulsa is more than a gravesite to bring flowers to. The home of Black Wall Street is a garden growing from broken to beautiful. From the fire grows the fruit of human resilience we can all be nourished by. - Visual Anthropologist Marlon Hall 

The following clip is from an interview Greenwood Art Project Visual Anthropologist in Residence, Marlon F. Hall had with Senator Maxine Horner months before she died February 7, 2021. Although she has passed, she will forever live in the present tense. Like Greenwood her impact is death proof.

THANK YOU GREENWOOD (2020) by Marlon F. HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Greenwood's Trumpet Call to Freedom

Senator Maxine Horner was the first African American women to serve in the Oklahoma State Senate and a founder of the Juneteenth Festival on Greenwood. 

Greenwood Breathing (2020) by Marlon F. HallThe Greenwood Art Project

From the other side of Eternity

It is no coincidence that this Greenwood bred stateswoman sends this message to her community from the other side of eternity to this moment in the community's history. 

Awakening

Senator Horner's "Thank You Greenwood" message comes as a Trumpet call to awaken what some consider dead and lost by fire in the black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

A Revolution Called Life

Senator Horner calls for a revolution of inhales and exhales that come welcome life beyond the pain. A revolution of joy, laughter, dancing, and love that authenticates our living despite the loss.

In the Wake

In the wake of George Floyd's death, at the 100 year mark of the of the 1921 massacre, and on the heels of a Juneteenth celebration she helped to cultivate, Senator Horner calls for breath and life where there was death and destruction.

Greenwood Breathing, Marlon F. Hall, 2020, From the collection of: The Greenwood Art Project
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This is an image of a pop-up T-Shirt sale on Greenwood facing the "Welcome to Greenwood" sign. The gallery of shirts features a shirt that says, "I can't breathe". It is an homage to George Floyd's last words as police officers unlawfully took his life. Breath is a revolutionary act. The revolution of the inhales and the exhales are an affirmation of human possibility and freedom. It is no coincidence this shirt is sold on a street where people lost their lives to hate in the massacre of 1921. 

Tulsa is not just a graveyard for bodies lost and the legacy of Black Wall Street broken. This city is turning the dung of the past into a culture compost that is fertilizing the future. Folks are finding unexpected life growing the people whole. Folks like Greenwood Art Project Artist Bobby Eaton.

Porch Stories (2020) by Marlon F. HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Bobby Eaton's Porch

This house has been in Bobby Eaton's family for many generations. The Eaton home has been a haven and home base for the Eaton's since before the massacre of 1921.

Bobby Eaton's Porch

"My parents left the hospital and brought me directly to this house before they took me home. The how important this house is to us." Like the tree that stands before it, his Eaton estate is deeply rooted in Tulsa history.

Bobby's Porch (2020-09-23) by Marlon F. HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Generations Deep

This is activist, artist, and musician Bobby Eaton. He lives in a home that is three generations deep with Greenwood's heritage. He transformed his grandfather's barbershop next door into a studio with radio programming for the people.

Hidden by Shame and Fear

Fiercely divided by a segregation that echoes the hidden shame and fear of the 1921 massacre,  most indigenous  African Americans live in North Tulsa where Eaton and his family have lived for over 100 years.

Eyes and Vision

Bobby Eaton has a clear and empowered vision for his beloved North Tulsa that he activates with his work in the works as a creative culture shaper and community advocate.

Between Two Worlds (2020) by Marlon F. HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Living Between

Bobby Eaton lives in between his family home and the barbershop turned radio station where he has community based programs that inform, entertain, and enrich the Tulsa one segment after the next. 

For the People (2020-09-23) by Marlon F. HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Channeling

He is a channel for his ancestor's hopes for freedom by living between the liminal spaces of art and activism.

A Sacred Space (2020-09-23) by Marlon F. HallThe Greenwood Art Project

A Reliquary

Bobby Eaton Jr. holds images of his heritage that he preserves to inspire his daily potential. The reliquary he has in his hands represents the family heritage of his father, grandfather, and grandmother. 

Unchained (2020-09-23) by Marlon F. HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Chains

Bobby Eaton Jr. keeps these chains in his studio as an artifact of his freedom. This chain that held enslaved Africans is an artifact and a reminder of the freedom he longs for his work to be in the world. 

Strength and Determination

He holds the chains that once held his ancestor's bondage with strength and determination. "This won't happen again". - Bobby Eaton Jr.

Seen Bobby (2020-09-23) by Marlon F. HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Career Reflection

Bobby Eaton Jr. reflects on his career while looking at a mirror mounted in his studio and framed by his guitars. Playing with artists from Sly Stone to Jonny Mathis, Bobby has a track record of studio musicianship and moving large crowds of concertgoers. 

Fluidity

With the fluidity of a spring, he transitions from music crowd movement to social engagement. He strums the hearts of Tulsa as an artist whose art has become his activism.

Bobby Eaton is the navigator and founder of the North Tulsa Community Festival.

He is a cultural architect of the not just the festival but also the pride and hope of the community through RADIO STATION KBOB 89.9FM. Tulsa's Voice for the Voiceless. Their motto is, "We tell our stories our way."

Core Smiling, Marlon Hall, 2021-06-04, From the collection of: The Greenwood Art Project
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The Core, Marlon Hall, 2021-06-04, From the collection of: The Greenwood Art Project
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WELCOME TO THE NORTH TULSA COMMUNITY MUSIC FESTIVAL (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

The North Tulsa Community Festival

The following is a series of images and stories from the North Tulsa Community Music Festival that took place during the Centennial Commemoration in June of 2021. 

Life Growing

One hundred years from a massacre, life is growing from the national and international narrative of death given to this community to sensationalize it's pain. 

Love Growing from a Gravesite

LOVE SEVEN (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Ancestors Proud

“Living in a place with so much history I sometimes can’t even wrap my head around it and at times can be hard to believe so much happened here. It just makes me want to do more to make our ancestors proud.”
 - Toree

LOVEONE (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Love Growing From A Gravesite

"I met this couple while doing field work at the North Tulsa Community Festival." - Marlon Hall, Visual Anthropologist

LOVE SIX (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

New & Ancient

"They were leaving as we were coming and I knew their love was going somewhere new & ancient." - Marlon Hall, Visual Anthropologist

LOVE THREE (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

The End

"They represent the end to which Black Wall Street was able to thrive."  - Marlon Hall, Visual Anthropologist
 

LOVE FIVE (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Economics vs Ecology

"The means may have been cooperative economics but the ends was and is an ecology of love that still grows here."  - Marlon Hall, Visual Anthropologist

The Eyes of Change

SASEN (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Change

His mother named him "SASEN" which is Japanese for transition, move, or change. 

SASEN SEVEN (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Holding Change

She holds him with the utmost care with arms wrapped around his body as a way to embrace the change happening in Tulsa.

SASEN FOUR (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

In his eyes

In his eye you see the future of the city of Tulsa and the world that is watching it grow from pain to possibility.

SASEN ONe (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

As a Mother Gazes

As a mother gazes into the eyes of child whose name is change, so does good will and unyielding resilience look upon the black community of Tulsa that is destined to turn its historic problems into human possibility. 

His Good Side

The Can't Stop Us (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Rise Again

When asked what he would share with the world about Tulsa, he first asked if we had his "good side" then said, " They can't stop us".

Belief on a T-Shirt

This North Tulsa Community Festival member stands wears a shirt that represents his belief about the community he loves. 

The Can't Stop Us (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

A Way of Life


"Black Wall Street will Rise Again" is more than a T-Shirt slogan, it is a way of life for many residents in Tulsa.

What a Hug Holds

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Embrace

These amazing women held each other during the North Tulsa Music Festival with joy. In their embrace they also held the legacy of Black Wall Street with hope and healing.

Laughter (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Hugs and Hearts

The North Tulsa Music Festival welcomed the community back from a time of quarantine with open arms for hugs and open hearts for healing. These friends embody the connection to and for the community of North Tulsa.

Alien Abduction

Alien Abduction (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Alien Abduction

ab·duc·tion
/abˈdəkSH(ə)n/

The action or an instance of forcibly taking someone away against their will.

Black Boldness

In a nation where black people often feel foreign in the experience of being American, "black boldness" can be seen as odd or alien because of the social conditions that work to keep them quiet, timid, or invisible.  

An Abduction of her Limitations

This woman stands proud and bold in the midst of a festival made to be a refuge for her culture and an alien abduction of her limitations.

Caroline Speaks

The Dance of Life Three (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Caroline Speaks Too
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Caroline Speaks

Willful and whimsical is this woman of power and grace who moves the world from North Tulsa. This TED Talk veteran is the truth and wonder that speaks from Greenwood in a person.

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Caroline Inspires

 As a native of North Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ms. Caroline Inspires, often tells people, “my environment was not an excuse to quit but rather it was a reason to keep going!” 

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Divine Dancing

Carline moves and sings as if she is dancing with angels. 

The Dance of Life Too (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Tickled

With each motion she seems more and more tickled by the air that moves about her body. 

Golden-Green

Golden-Green Too (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Connected

" I am connected to a wealth of history."  - North Tulsa Community Festival Attendee

Green and Gold

This North Tulsa Community Music Festival attendee was glowing with the green that is Greenwood and the gold that is the invaluable gift this historic community is to the world.

Heritage

A Wealth of History

Greenwood Art Project Visual Anthropologist in Residence Marlon Hall asks a woman, "What does it mean for you to be a Tulsan?" 

This is her poignant and powerful response.

I am North Tulsa

I am North Tulsa (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Family Picture

This family stood proud in the street as they posed for a family picture. 

I am North Tulsa

When asked what he wanted to say to the world about being a Tulsan the father responded with a declaration of who he was by virtue of where he was from. "I am North Tulsa" - Festival Attendee

Lived all over to find Home

Many North Tulsans work their whole lives to leave Tulsa to make a name for themselves or to become more fully who they are. This man later shared that he has travelled and lived all over the nation only to come back home to find himself where he started.

A Priest's Identity

For this Tulsan affectionately known as, "Priest", identity and place are integral to how he takes ownership of his being. He left to make a name for himself but came back to realize that he is North Tulsa!

A Message to the Ancestors

Message of Gratitude

The mother of the family shares an insightful message of gratitude that reveals the spirit of Greenwood as a people not a place. 

Not Without the Future

Ancient- Future (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Not Without the Future

"Not without my granddaughter" was the response of this distinguished human when we asked if he picture could be taken. 

Adoration (2021-06-04) by Marlon HallThe Greenwood Art Project

Adoration

His adoration of his granddaughter is affirmation of the way Tulsan's honor the future.

A Priest's Message

The Message

This North Tulsa resident, "Priest", shares a clarifying message of wisdom from and to Tulsa that sounds like a message for the world.

Credits: Story

Archival Interviews and Photos  by Marlon F. Hall
Music by Denis Cisneros
Production by Shelly Travis

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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