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100 years after the Tulsa Massacre, entrepreneurs revive spirit of ‘Black Wall Street’



Dwight Eaton believes his entrepreneurial spirit is part of his DNA, maybe even a genetic mutation.

That genetic imperative may have been what drove his great-grandmother Minnie to move her family from Arkansas to Tulsa in the early 1900s. Lured like many Black families by the discovery of oil and the abundance of land, she opened a grocery store. They set up shop less than a mile away from the Greenwood District, a thriving stretch of Black-owned businesses know nationally as “Black Wall Street.”

His grandfather, Joseph Eaton, whom Dwight remembers as a soft-spoken man who liked to chew on cigars, spent his early teenage years working in a factory and cutting hair on the side.

When a mob of white Tulsans burned Greenwood to the ground, injuring and killing hundreds of their Black neighbors in 1921, Joseph Eaton and many others stayed  in Tulsa to rebuild.