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Tulsa employee reflects on Greenwood’s history, future

For Phillips 66’s Cathy Pearson-Latimer, the recent opening of Greenwood Rising in Tulsa, Okla., is a sign that the neighborhood she calls home is coming back. 

The historical center honors the victims and survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst acts of racial violence in U.S. history that left roughly 300 Black residents dead, businesses destroyed and much of the city’s Greenwood neighborhood in ashes. Known as Black Wall Street, Greenwood at the time was one of the wealthiest enclaves for Black Americans.  

“I am still learning what happened here,” said Pearson-Latimer, a Freight Auditor for Phillips 66 In Bartlesville who resides in Tulsa. “We are doing things in our community that will bring Greenwood back.” 

Phillips 66 is donating $250,000 to Greenwood Rising to fund educational programming, including field trips for local area public schools and the creation of educational materials. Pearson-Latimer, who was born 35 years after the violence, said the Phillips 66 donation will play an important role in preserving the rich history of Greenwood. 

“If we don’t know the history, we’re lost,” she said. “It’s important that we know the whole story so we can assess where we are right now and figure out where we’re going.”  

Watch the video to learn more of Pearson-Latimer’s story and hear from Greenwood Rising Director Phil Armstrong on the organization’s commitment to carrying on the legacy of Black Wall Street.