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Geography and the Environment Colloquium Series: Jovan Scott Lewis


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Violent Utopia: Tulsa in Massacre’s Wake

Abstract: In 1921 a racist mob razed the Greenwood District in Tulsa, OK, considered one of the most commercially successful Black communities in American history. Black Tulsans who can recall this past where self-determination filled Black lives with dignity and autonomy seek a form of restoration. Through memorials, community meetings, and urgent efforts to revitalize Black commerce in response to a rapidly gentrifying Greenwood, Violent Utopia traces the everyday formations of how Black Tulsans pursue the restoration of this legacy. In thinking through the 1921 massacre, its afterlives, and the original notions and efforts of Black freedom that preceded them, what becomes evident is that Greenwood's past serves as both an inspiration and a haunting specter looming over the community as they endeavor to live up to Greenwood's history. For additional information, please contact Natalie Koch at

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