The story of Mt. Zion Baptist Church

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Construction of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Tulsa, c. 1948, Pastor J. H. Dotson

Construction of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Tulsa, c. 1948, Pastor J. H. Dotson

Pastor J. H. Dotson during the construction of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. The photos appear to show the remnant of the ruins of the 1921 structure, which had been roofed in 1937 and was being used for worship, being incorporated into the new structure, c. 1948. Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society.

I was looking for something (the National Park Service's "1921 Tulsa Race Riot Reconnaissance Survey," a 2005 publication that identified sites of importance related to the riot, which used to be on the web, but is no longer).

I found something else: Mt. Zion Baptist Church's registration form for the National Register of Historic Places. The application was written in April 2008 by Cathy Ambler, Ph.D., a preservation consultant based in Tulsa.

The application, accompanied by maps and photos, both current and historical, tells the story of Greenwood before, during, and after the riot through the story of Mt. Zion. The church's brand new edifice, dedicated in April 1921, was destroyed on June 1, 1921. The membership met in members homes and, later, in a roofed section of the building's ruins until they raised enough money to pay off the debt from the destroyed building and to build a new structure, which was not complete until 1952.

The document is worth reading for a synopsis of the story of Greenwood from its earliest days, through riot, rebuilding, and urban removal, and as a tribute to the indomitable spirit of the members of Mt. Zion.

MORE:

Here is Mt. Zion Baptist Church's webpage on the history of their building.

Two weeks after the riot, Walter F. White, a reporter for The Nation published an on-the-scene report of the causes, its aftermath, and the corrupt and lawless state of Tulsa in 1921.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 1, 2009 1:54 AM.

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