Tulsa's Race Riot Site Provides A Lasting Lesson For Students

A lot of students are getting an unusual lesson this month.Their schools are accepting an invitation to visit the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.While it's not an easy subject.It has an impact on everyone who visits the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park.We took the tour, with a group from Central High School.The visit was the end of a 3 week project, on the riot and the burning of the Greenwood District.It was the darkest time in Tulsa history, with more than 300 lives lost and more than 1200 buildings burned.The memorial provides a lesson, about overcoming the bad things in life.Their teacher, Kimberly McKinley, hopes they will make it a part of their own lives.Whether its dealing with personal problems, or with the entire community."I believe that the city has bounced back but there is so much more that we could do to move forward.I would hope that this generation, this group of kids would lead that push forward."The students say, the message of this place is strong one and it made a real impression on them. Especially how people reacted, after the violence.Senior Terry Whited says the sculptures in the memorial really made an impact."You can't hold grudges just because some people made mistakes.That's how I feel."The staff at the Franklin Reconciliation Center is inviting every school to visit the park and every Tulsan to experience it.Executive Director, Jocelyn Lee Payne, says most people are surprised by what a positive feeling they take away from the park.They're hosting special events on May 29th and 30th.The public is invited to a breakfast at the center on the 29th, and a film on Guthrie Green that evening.