As the state's first ever director of tourism, Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell has a good pulse on when people are coming to visit Oklahoma.
From Pinnell’s perspective, there will be a boom of visitors to Oklahoma this summer because of one main reason: the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
“The race massacre museum that’s going to be open this year, it will probably be the most talked about new museum in the country,” Pinnell said.
Pinnell is referring to the new state-of-the-art history center in Tulsa called “Greenwood Rising,” which opens in the summer of 2021. The museum was built by the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.
Pinnell said he’s looking forward to more people visiting the state to learn about and pay respects to the victims of the Race Massacre.
“It’s a history that must be told, we must learn from it,” he said.
One of the things Pinnell hopes people learn about is the rebuilding of some of the Black-owned businesses after the tragedy 100 years ago.
“In regards to Greenwood, I love to see the Black entrepreneurship, Black-owned businesses being opened back up in that Greenwood district,” he said. “That’s a story that I think gets lost when we talk about that race massacre that happened down there. As far as the entrepreneurship that has been torn down and built back up again, there’s an amazing story there with Black entrepreneurship in the Greenwood district –– Black Wall Street.”
In a state that’s dominated by Native American history and the oil and gas industry, Pinnell says that one topic gets asked about much more than those: Black Wall Street.
“It’s still the most asked question of the Tulsa Historical Society, people want to know about Black Wall Street,” Pinnell said.