Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

by Brandy Colbert

Paperback, 2022




Balzer Bray (2022), 224 pages


History. Human Rights. Sociology. Young Adult Nonfiction. HTML: A searing new work of nonfiction from award-winning author Brandy Colbert about the history and legacy of one of the most deadly and destructive acts of racial violence in American history: the Tulsa Race Massacre. Winner, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. In the early morning of June 1, 1921, a white mob marched across the train tracks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and into its predominantly Black Greenwood District�??a thriving, affluent neighborhood known as America's Black Wall Street. They brought with them firearms, gasoline, and explosives. In a few short hours, they'd razed thirty-five square blocks to the ground, leaving hundreds dead. The Tulsa Race Massacre is one of the most devastating acts of racial violence in US history. But how did it come to pass? What exactly happened? And why are the events unknown to so many of us today? These are the questions that award-winning author Brandy Colbert seeks to answer in this unflinching nonfiction account of the Tulsa Race Massacre. In examining the tension that was brought to a boil by many factors�??white resentment of Black economic and political advancement, the resurgence of white supremacist groups, the tone and perspective of the media, and more�??a portrait is drawn of an event singular in its devastation, but not in its kind. It is part of a legacy of white violence that can be traced from our country's earliest days through Reconstruction, the Civil Rights movement in the mid�??twentieth century, and the fight for justice and accountability Black Americans still face today. The Tulsa Race Massacre has long failed to fit into the story Americans like to tell themselves about the history of their country. This book, ambitious and intimate in turn, explores the ways in which the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre is the story of America�??and by showing us who we are, points to a way forward. YALSA Honor Award for Excellence in Nonfictio… (more)


(20 ratings; 4.4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member ewyatt
This readable nonfiction weaves the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 into the larger context of race relations and violence against Black people in America, some state sanctioned. Meticulously researched with ties to the aftermath and question of remembering this event. And connections with
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patterns in history between then and now where the author clearly draws a thread between the 1919 influence and race massacres to contemporary events in the US in 2020-2021.
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LibraryThing member msf59
It is hard to believe that the Tulsa Race Massacre that happened in 1921, was buried in American history for decades and is finally being brought to light, these past few years. Many Tulsa residents had no clue it ever occurred. This well-written, well-researched book looks at the massacre and the
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events leading up to it. It also looks at our current racial divides and how much more work needs to be done. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member jscape2000
A crisp, considered study of racist violence and the use of language to erase racist violence. The most moving passages, for me, centered on untaught history and the use of words like race riots to obscure a pogrom.


Original language


Physical description

224 p.; 8.01 inches


0063056674 / 9780063056671
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