Growing up in Detroit, Keith Ewing’s dad would always flip to his go-to song: “You Dropped a Bomb on Me On Me” by a popular Michigan band named the Gap Band.
But Ewing never realized the significance until about two years ago.
Gap stands for Greenwood, Archer and Pine — three historic streets in the Greenwood District. And the song was about the bombs that were dropped on Greenwood in the Tulsa race massacre of 1921.
“Being on Greenwood has been on so serendipitous for me in the sense that it was a band I grew up listening to,” Ewing said. “To know that years later that I would be officing on such a historical place, it was just an honor for me.”
Ewing, a Farmers insurance agent who shifted his business to Greenwood in 2018, moved from Detroit to Tulsa in 2003.
He joined Farmers in December 2014 but was about five miles away, in midtown Tulsa. He was looking for an inexpensive location close to downtown and stumbled upon 116 N. Greenwood Ave.
Prior to moving to Greenwood, Ewing was in Tulsa for about 15 years but never knew anything about the race massacre.
That is until a few months before Ewing moved in and an older man popped in and struck up a conversation.
The man asked Ewing if he knew about the race massacre. When Ewing said he didn’t, the two sat outside and the man told Ewing the story of what happened on Greenwood and the historical background.
“I’m like, ‘Wow, this wasn’t taught in any of the schools in Michigan,’” Ewing said. “I would talk to some of the residents here in Oklahoma, been born and raised here, they never even heard about this.”
Like many across the country, Ewing was unaware of what occurred on the street he works on many, many years ago.
Still, he takes so much pride in the location he’s settled into. He wants to be a part of the movement to fuel Greenwood forward.
“Being on Greenwood really helps me appreciate the sentiment behind it,” Ewing said. “I feel like I’m indebted to Greenwood, to the business owners before me that lost their lives to create a strong, healthy foundation.”