Lena and the Burning of Greenwood: A Tulsa Race Massacre Survival Story


Twelve-year-old Lena is aware of racism, but she lives a comfortable life in the segregated but relatively wealthy Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma; but on May 31, 1921 racial tensions explode, and men from downtown Tulsa invade Greenwood, set on killing and destroying the district--and as the violence escalates Lena, her parents, and her older sister search desperately for a safe place to hide from the mob.

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In the early 1920s, the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the wealthiest Black community in the United States. But Tulsa is still a segregated city. "Black Wall Street" and white Tulsa are very much divided. Twelve-year-old Lena knows this, but she feels safe and sheltered from the racism in her successful, flourishing neighborhood. That all changes when Dick Rowland, a young Black man from Greenwood, is accused of assaulting a white woman. Racial tensions boil over. Mobs of white citizens attack Greenwood, terrorizing Black residents and businesses, and forcing many--including Lena and her family--to flee. Now Lena must help her family survive one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history. Readers can learn the real story of the Tulsa Race Massacre from the nonfiction backmatter, including a glossary, discussion questions, writing prompts, and author's note, in this Girls Survive story.

Product Details


ISBN13: 9781666329445

Publisher: Stone Arch Books

Publication Date: Jan-2022

Pages: 112

Lexile Level: 0000

Ages: 08 - 12