When analyzing/interpreting literature, learn to always support your ideas with a specific example from the literature itself as evidence.


*When analyzing/interpreting literature, learn to always support your ideas with a specific example from the literature itself as evidence. Also, you will notice that I ask, with almost each set of questions, if you can make connections from one work of literature to another. This serves not only as a way to show strong analytical skills, but we will eventually write a thematic essay that connects different genres, so it is good practice.

Tulsa 1921

Chapter 1: “May 30, 1921”

  1. On page 6, Mary Parrish, owner of a secretarial school in Greenwood, reminisces: “I came not to Tulsa as many came, lured by the dream of making money and bettering myself in the financial world…but because of the wonderful cooperation I observed among our people, and especially the harmony of spirit and action that existed between the business men and women.”

Krehbiel states that whites found sentiments like Parrish’s “disconcerting” (6). Discuss Mary Parrish’s sentiments and why the white community might find such a “spirit” disconcerting.

Chapter 2: “Tulsa”

  1. This chapter provides a history of Tulsa up to 1921. Krehbiel ends the chapter depicting the region as one steeped in various tensions (social, economic, racial). Research some of the larger historical contexts: For instance, what role did African American soldiers play in the World War 1? What happened when they came home to the U.S.? What was going on nationally and internationally in terms of the labor movement at this time? What was the Red Summer? Describe and make connections.

Chapter 3: “Greenwood”

  1. Krehbiel describes Greenwood as “a town within a town” (25). What does he mean?
  • In this chapter, Krehbiel provides a portrait of the Greenwood community within the framework of legal segregation (Jim Crow). How aware of this history were you before you read it? What surprised you? What didn’t? Describe and offer examples.
  • Why did so many African Americans move to Tulsa? Why would Tulsa, at that time, be so appealing to African Americans?

Chapter 4: “The Story That Set Tulsa Ablaze”

  1. The subtitle of Krehbiel’s book is “Reporting a Massacre.” Analyze the language of the newspaper excerpt on page 33 for objectivity and bias. How does the excerpt affect a possible reader? Show examples. Explain.
  • How culpable is the media in the Tulsa Race Massacre? Discuss.
  • Who, or what, can also be considered culpable in providing fuel for the Tulsa Race Massacre? Explain.

Chapter 5: “Chaos”

  1. On page 44, Krehbiel notes “What black Tulsans thought of as protecting a fellow African American through a display of unity, whites interpreted as an armed uprising.” Discuss this statement; why were white Tulsans fearful of black unity? Does this fear exist today? Discuss.
  • Examine military aspects in this chapter: i.e. WWI veterans and National Guard. How do the specific strategies affect the unfolding of the chaos in these early moments of the Tulsa Race Massacre? Explain.
  • Krehbiel states that “In America, in 1921, any act of African American rebellion was answered with gunpowder and fire. In taking up arms against white authority, they had committed a sin” (50). How do we define authority then and now? How did one become an authority figure then and how does a person become one now? Explain.
  • Who did most of the looting in the white business areas of downtown Tulsa? What do these early actions reveal? Explain.

Chapter 6: “Mob Spirit and Fever Heat”

  1. Krehbiel mentions a “mob spirit.” What is the underlying issue for allowing the mob mentality to persist? Lack of leadership? Lack of resources? Etc. Examine and explain.
  • If the large number of armed white men was alarming (with evidence of looting in the previous chapter by white people), why was the focus still on a “Negro Uprising?” Is this perspective prejudice or justified? Explain.
  • On page 56 Krehbiel states, “It would be said later that most of the white combatants were oilfield workers, many of whom lived in cheap boarding houses and hotels just south of the railroad tracks.” What is Krehbiel asserting in this statement?  Does it matter? Discuss.

Chapter 7: “Retribution”

  1. On p. 74, Krehbiel discusses how African Americans were made to relocate to the Convention Hall for their own protection. When you read the description, what do you think was the intent?
  • Eye-witness accounts indicate that law enforcement officials were actively looting and destroying property . Do you find this surprising? Discuss.
  • How does the Tulsa World describe the results of the invasion of Greenwood and the massacre on p. 81? Do you feel they described the event accurately? Why specifically is WWI mentioned? Explain.
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