Picture Books

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

Book – Picture book. By Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Floyd Cooper. 2021. 32 pp.
This children’s book centers the history of the thriving Black community of Greenwood before the 1921 Tulsa Massacre.

Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: African American, Economics, Racism & Racial Identity

Written as a “Once upon a time. . .” story in a picture book format, Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre centers on the history of the thriving Black community of Greenwood before the 1921 Tulsa Massacre.

Children learn about the Black businesses, libraries, schools (“where some say Black children got a better education than whites”), bus system, auto shop, hospital, newspapers, movie theaters, hotel, and post office. Floyd Cooper’s stunning illustrations bring Black Wall Street to life.

Then comes the white terrorists — “unchecked, in some cases deputized, by the police.” Sensitive to young readers without hiding the truth, author Carole Boston Weatherford continues the use of “Once upon a time. . .” to explain the tragedy that was designed by police and city officials “to destroy the nation’s wealthiest Black community.” The book closes with images of Tulsa’s Reconciliation Park. Recommended for grades 3+. [Description from Rethinking Schools.]

ISBN: 9781541581203 | Published by Carolhoda Books

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