Racial tension builds in downtown Tulsa

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Updated: 5/01/2013 9:07 am Published: 4/30/2013 9:33 pm

Signs in the Brady District point toward development, but some say there’s a story behind them.

There are plans for the future, and pieces of past some refuse to forget.

“Do right by our people,” said James Johnson.

Plenty of newness can be spotted in the historic Brady District. It’s just blocks from the Greenwood District, but as far as Johnson is concerned, it’s a world away.

“I don’t think we’re going to have any piece until god is at the conference table,” said Johnson.

His grandmother survived the 1921 Race Riots, but many people she knew were killed on Greenwood. He said Tate Brady had a lot to do with it.

“He was a racist, he was a grand wizard of the klan,” said Johnson.

Johnson and Kristi Williams say they’re working with more than 50 people around Tulsa.

“We want it renamed,” said Johnson.

They’re planning a protest. They say they’ll march through the Brady District with signs, beating African drums, encouraging people to boycott businesses.

“I won’t spend one copper penny in that district until they change that name,” said Johnson.

FOX23 spoke with several business owners in the Brady District, off camera, no one agreed to speak on camera, but all of them said they didn’t see a point in protesting.

“The problem is, nobody wants to talk about it,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he’s not pitting black against white, but rather right, versus wrong.

“That’s all they have to do: just do right,” said Johnson.

The group plans to protest within the next two weeks.

According to previous FOX23 reports, Brady’s family denied his involvement in the KKK.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

arr1on - 6/7/2013 6:35 PM
0 Votes
The decision should be based on a city-wide vote, since it is important to ALL Tulsans. If there isn't enough interest by the citizens of Tulsa to put it on the ballot, it simply isn't important enough, period.

Steve In Tulsa - 5/21/2013 11:17 AM
0 Votes
Change the name then. I am not married to the Brady name. Call it Tulsa's Bricktown. Call it the Greenwood district. Some people will never be happy. Blacks want to punish me just for being white. And I marched in the 60s for Civil Rights and have never had a racist bone in my body. It is time to get over these racist divisions. Let's call it the Apache district because the street runs through there.

shepory - 5/16/2013 5:56 PM
0 Votes
This seams so idiotic to me. just people trying to get their 15 sec. of fame. If we are going to rename "The Brady District" lets just go ahead and rename the "White City" neighborhood that was started after the '20s race riot.

karlschneider - 5/16/2013 2:39 PM
0 Votes
Which god does this whining idiot want to be at a conference? There are several hundred to choose from...

CowBot9000 - 5/16/2013 6:42 AM
1 Vote
Don't these community activists have real jobs and families? At least they could have the sense to be worried about actual problems in Tulsa's black community; i.e. forming neighborhood watches in North Tulsa, teaching kids in their community to read, teaching young black men to be fathers. There are reasons for a lack of development and progress in North Tulsa and it isn't the nomenclature of a district in downtown Tulsa.

RAIN3Y - 5/14/2013 6:33 PM
0 Votes
well now, if black people sold black people then it's alright for the white people to enslave them and their children for over 300 years, simply because the white man said it was so. Tell that to the children who are sold as sex slaves, we are sure they will appreciate that insight...

RAIN3Y - 5/14/2013 6:22 PM
0 Votes
we see from the comments that the kkk is alive and well in t-town. brady and the be-no hall must be soooo proud.

EhlerDave - 5/10/2013 1:16 PM
1 Vote
The Brady family said he was not in the klan, but Gramma said he was, well that settles it. Lets not dwell on something that happened in 1921. We have plenty of problems that could be worked on right now. History is just that, history, good or bad, it is what it is, changing names will not effect anything.

OneBadBetty - 5/7/2013 6:06 PM
1 Vote
My question is, why form the uproar now when the area is building momentum? Why didn't anyone bring this up in 2008 when there were just a handful of bars out there? The Brady Theater has been an important concert venue for years, why hasn't anyone spoken up before? From a marketing standpoint it is suicide to change the name of an area that is just now developing, gaining recognition, and attracting businesses. Obviously, the people complaining about the name understand about marketing because they chose the time when all eyes are on the Brady District. What better way to show that we have overcome these past atrocities than by having black and white (and brown; I'm Latin!) enjoying the area together and having successful businesses there? I stand on the bricks of the Brady together with brothers and sisters of all creeds and colors and enjoy the camraderie the entire city is feeling from the flourishing of it's center. In spite of or even because of our hitory, it is possible, it is sweet, it is the future, and it is an example to communities around the country; all of which unfortunatly have survived similar social strife. Let's clebrate the ones that overcome it.

redmachine97 - 5/7/2013 4:16 AM
1 Vote
AND the people who are the most pissed never spent antyime or money in the restaurants ,or clubs there.
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