When O.W. Gurley, an accomplished landowner and entrepreneur, moved his family from Perry in 1905 to what is now known as Tulsa’s Greenwood District, the possibilities for a true Black-centered, self-sustaining hub that enticed freedom from the shackles of Jim Crow laws and oppression had yet to be realized in America.
Gurley, who once worked under President Grover Cleveland, saw an opportunity in the northeast section of the city and purchased 40 acres.
The vision, an almost audacious one at the time considering the unforgiving circumstances societal Black Americans faced, was to create something constructed by Black people for Black people.
Placing that inspiration in motion, Gurley opened a boarding house in 1906 — the first business in the newly minted Greenwood — with the purpose of attracting African American train