Toni Morrison Society to Place Two Benches to Commemorate Centennial of
Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921


The Toni Morrison Society, in collaboration with the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, is pleased to announce the placement of the 28th and 29th Benche by the Road in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, April 17th 2021. The Benches will commemorate the resistance and resilience of Tulsa’s African American community at two different sites. The first Bench will be placed at the intersection of Greenwood and Archer Streets, also known as the Gateway to Black Wall Street, where many of Tulsa’s Black citizens attempted to stand-down the invading lynch mob and fought valiantly to protect their businesses and homes. Although severely outnumbered, these guardians of justice met the terrorists head-on and banded together to combat the evil and destruction that was to overtake the city. The second Bench will be placed to celebrate the legacy of the Mabel Little Heritage House, which serves as a reminder of both the determination of the Mackey family who built the house and resided there, and also of the lifelong advocacy of Mabel Little, a Tulsa Massacre survivor and community leader who lived until the age of 104. Sam and Lucy Mackey first built the original house in 1920, only to see it destroyed during the Massacre. In 1926, the Mackeys rebuilt their house on the same site, and today it is the only house still standing in the Greenwood neighborhood that was built in the 1920s. Renamed the “Mable Little Heritage House” in 1986, the site serves as a museum dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Massacre and to the resilience of Tulsa’s African American community.

The Toni Morrison Society is honored to commemorate each of these two sites with a Bench by the Road. The Benches will be placed on April 17th as part of a year-long series of events sponsored by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. The Centennial Commemoration will be held May 26th and the John Hope Franklin National Symposium will be held May 26th-29th. Please see the entire schedule of events here: https://www.tulsa2021.org/calendar