John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park is a National Literary Landmark
The Literary Landmarks Association was founded in 1986 by the former Friends of the Library USA (FOLUSA) president Frederick G. Ruffner to encourage the dedication of historic literary sites.
On May 31, 2018, the John Hope Franklin Reconciliaiton Park was dedicated as a Literary Landmark in honor of the late Dr. John Hope Franklin. The ceremony began at the corner of Archer Street and Greenwood Avenue with a memorial walk to the Park, then opened with a welcome from Reuben Gant, Executive Director of the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, and a prayer offered by Reverend Debra Garfinkel. Tulsa City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper and State Representative Regina Goodwin read city and state proclamations.
John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park’s History
Reconciliation Park is the long-awaited result of the 2001 Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. It memorializes the Tulsa Race Riot/Massacre, called the worst civic disturbance in American history. The Park also tells the story of African Americans’ role in building Oklahoma and thus begins the long-delayed rendering of the full account of Oklahoma’s history.
The park features bronze works by the prominent Denver sculptor Ed Dwight. The primary art elements are:
Hope Plaza – The Park entry’s 16-foot granite structure contains three larger-than-life bronze sculptures representing actual pictures from the 1921 riot:
- Hostility – A man fully armed for assault
- Humiliation – A man with his hands raised in surrender
- Hope – Maurice Willows, Director of the Red Cross holding a baby born June 1921.
The Tower of Reconciliation – At the center of the Park, the 26 – foot tall memorial tower depicts the history of the African American struggle from Africa to America – from the migration of enslaved men, women and children with Native Americans on the Trail of Tears, the slave labor experience in the Territories, the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry that won the Battle of Honey Springs – to statehood, the immigration of free African Americans into Oklahoma, and the All-Black towns and Greenwood. It honors Buck Colbert Franklin (prominent attorney and Dr. Franklin’s father) and other early Tulsa African American prominence.
John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park continues the American tradition of erecting memorials based on tragic events by giving voice to the untold story of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot and the important role African Americans played in building Oklahoma.
Docent Led Tours of the Park are Available
John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park is open for docent led tours. The duration of the tours are a minimum of 45 minutes.
Tour information includes:
- 1921 Massacre
- African American migration
- Native American migration
- Greenwood Historic District
- Black Wall Street