One hundred years after the Tulsa Massacre, historian Scott Ellsworth returns to his hometown to tell the untold story of how America's foremost hidden racial tragedy was finally brought to light, and the unlikely cast of characters that made it happen.
... a propulsive present tense ... filled with moments like these — candid and self-aware, undergirded by Ellsworth’s earnest efforts to get at this history, and to get it right ... Part of what makes this book so riveting is Ellsworth’s skillful narration, his impeccable sense for when to reveal a piece of information and when to hold something back ... makes for sobering reading; but it also sheds light, and some of it is hopeful.
... offers a moving and humane portrait of the massacre, drawn from the author’s extensive investigation as well as his experience as a native Tulsan. While Ellsworth traces his own journey researching the massacre since the 1970s, he also places Black Tulsans and their memories at the center of his narrative ... Ellsworth grabs the reader’s attention early in the book with his portrait of the Greenwood district. One can sense the vibrancy and character of the neighborhood, a place that encouraged Black economic power. The utopia-like feeling that emerges in the early chapters, however, slips away as Ellsworth recounts, with great care and sensitivity, the barrage of attacks on the Black community. We hear from victims and witnesses whose voices are often ignored ... By seeking out these difficult answers, Ellsworth makes clear that he is deeply committed to exposing the details of the massacre and its aftermath. He refuses to shy away from the history — no matter how uncomfortable ... sends a powerful message at this 100th anniversary: that reconciliation is possible only when we directly confront the truth of a painful past and take concrete steps to redress it.
... a much-needed book that acts like a mirror. Though documenting a particular place and time, it helps us understand the race-based and sectarian turmoil that is so pervasive today ... Fast-paced but nuanced, it’s an impeccably researched update of Ellsworth’s literary debut.