Washington (D.C.) -- Small business -- 20th century
Shaw (Washington, D.C.)
Washington (D.C.) -- African Americans
The collection includes approximately 250,000 photonegatives, photoprints, color transparencies from the photographic business founded by Addison Scurlock in Washington, DC. Collection also includes business records and ephemera.
Scope and Contents:
Photographs includes portraits of famous African-American luminaries such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and many other artists, intellectuals, educators, entertainers, etc., as well as documentation of Washington, DC, including both the African-American community and national political life, and important photographs of Howard University; also commercial photography, including color materials.
Color separation materials include sets of black-and-white color-separation negatives, sets of matrices for the Kodak Dye Transfer process (full-color Dye Transfer prints are storied in a different series).
Business records: The photography studio records and Custom Craft records are in separate series, reflecting the fact that they were operated as separate businesses.
The collection includes all forms of photographs produced by the studio, such as prints in black-and-white and color, black-and-white and color negatives, color transparencies, black-and-white dye-transfer matrices, slides, etc.; as well as business documents, studio session ledgers, appointment books, business and personal correspondence, tax documents, and books, catalogs, and other publications. This material documents not only the photographic output of the business, both commercial and artistic, as well as the personal and business side of the enterprise.
Some photographs in the collection were not created by the Scurlocks. Some black-and-white and color prints seem to derive from assignments in the Capitol School of Photography, and are therefore student work. Also Custom Craft, the professional color processing service provided by the studio, made prints for other photographers, and samples for printing reference, as well as studio decor, have been retained in the collection. Custom Craft worked for such diverse photographers as artist Robert Epstein and well-known Washington photographer Fred Maroon, for example.
The collection numbers several hundred thousand photographic negatives, prints, and transparencies made by the Scurlocks and other staff photographers of the studio in its various Washington locations. The negatives are estimated at approximately 160,000-200,000 in number, and the prints of all sizes and types at nearly 57,000. The vast majority of the photographs are portraits of individuals, family groups, and organizations, as the primary business of the studio was portrait photography. They date primarily from the 1940s to 1990s. There are also a number of images, made for commercial clients, of building interiors and exteriors, and food. A small group of photojournalistic documentation also exists. The subjects also include architectural and industrial views, scenes in and around Washington, including children and street laborers, political events, social events, and 35mm slides of President Kennedy's funeral, 1964. There are also more personal artistic images, including still lifes with plants and flowers, and a few nudes; Robert's wartime service is also documented by his photographs, including European landscape photographs.
In addition to images taken by the Scurlock studio photographers, there are some prints, especially color, of images by other photographers who were clients, such as Fred Maroon, a prominent Washington photojournalist, and Robert Epstein, a teacher at the Corcoran School of Art. A print of one of Maroon's pictures had been displayed in the studio reception room at the time the studio was closed.
A large group of manuscript items, business documents, ephemera, and office and studio supplies constitutes a separate series from the photographs. An important adjunct to the photographs, a set of ledgers recording and identifying portrait sittings, highlights this group.
Nearly all of the photographs and documents stored in the studio and auxiliary storage locations were accepted for acquisition in order to form a complete history of this family business's production and operations over the better part of a century, whereas a selection of photographic apparatus and studio equipment was acquired by the Photographic History Collection: these items have been inventoried and catalogued separately.
The majority of the surviving photographic negatives and proof prints were made in connection with the studio's portrait work for a wide variety of clients. These portraits include images of famous people, such as political figures, entertainers, and noteworthy persons in a variety of fields, including scientists, writers, intellectuals, and academics. The majority of the figures depicted among both the famous and the not so famous are black. The greatest number of studio portraits, most of which are identified and dated, depict a general clientele who visited the studio for portrait sittings. Although the individual images in this vast quantity have limited research value in the usual sense, the aggregate represents a chronology spanning almost ninety years, which may be useful for demographic and genealogical information and as visual evidence of changing styles in clothing, hair, and accessories. It constitutes a panorama of a significant percentage of Washingtonians of the period, especially the black community.
Portraits of famous personages include George Washington Carver, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Duke Ellington, Marian Anderson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sammy Davis, Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Mayor Walter Washington, and Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, Mayor Marion Barry, DC Council members, statesmen such as Ralph Bunche, and many other noteworthy figures. Of particular interest is a signed group portrait of the US. Supreme Court with Chief Justice Berger presiding. There are also large- format portraits of Justice Thurgood Marshall and J. Edgar Hoover.
Group portraits include both formal sittings and the informal documentation of banquets, convocations, and similar events. This material includes groups at Howard University; Dunbar High School; the Post Office Clerks' Banquet; the Bishops' Meeting of the AME Church; a YMCA camp, cira 1947 1949; the 23rd annual conference of the NAACP, 1932, etc.
Several thousand black and white negatives and prints, 1930s-1960s, depict the people, facilities, and events of Howard University, with which the Scurlocks had a long business relationship. There are various portraits, including Howard University Medical School, represented by 850 negatives and 100 prints. A group of law school and medical school images numbers some 800 negatives and 200 prints. In addition, there are class portraits, as well as images of famous guests speaking at Howard convocations, such as President Herbert Hoover.
An important aspect of any portrait studio's output is wedding photography, and the Scurlock studio was no exception. Bridal portraits, group pictures of wedding parties, and the complete documentation of weddings, in both black and white and color, constitute a significant part of the collection. African-American weddings predominate and provide important insights into this aspect of the society.
The studio's work was shown in special public exhibitions over the years, and several of these are included in toto. The most important was an extensive retrospective display of 121 prints of Addison's work, both vintage and posthumous, prepared by Robert for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1976. Others include: (1) a set of 32 black and white images made by Robert at the Ramitelli Air Base, Italy, while he was a major in the US Air Force during World War II; (2) a group of portraits from a Black History Month exhibit at Woodward and Lothrop; and (3) a set of sixteen vintage and modern prints which Robert displayed in an interview on the "Today" television show in the 1980s.
This category includes architectural and industrial photography for commercial clients, food and still life photographs, etc. Much of this material is comparatively recent and was made in large format color, and includes transparencies and enlargements. It is possible that some of the prints represent Custom Craft work for other photographers rather than the camera work of Robert and George Scurlock. Thus far, prints by artist Robert Epstein have been identified as extra prints of his work from orders which he placed with the firm. At least one image by Fred Maroon has been identified.
A group of color prints constitutes copies of artworks, primarily in the National Portrait Gallery, for which the Scurlocks worked. Prints in 8" x 10", 11" x 14", 16" x 20" and 20" x 24" sizes are included, and undoubtedly negatives and transparencies corresponding to these subjects will be found.
In addition to the formal studio portraits and pictures documenting formal events, the Scurlocks took candid photographs of the everyday life of their city, as well as extraordinary events of local and national significance, ranging from occasions such as John F. Kennedy's funeral and the 1968 riots to political rallies and demonstrations.
Capitol School of Photography
The collection includes a variety of materials, such as books and ephemera, which document the activities of the Capitol School of Photography, a sideline of the Scurlock business. Some of the photographs apparently represent student work. The most famous student of the school was Jacqueline Bouvier (later Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), although no documentation of her association with the school has been located thus far. There are 45 photographs, circa 1950s, showing the photography lab, men retouching prints, students with cameras, etc.
A few photographs of the Scurlock family are included in the collection in various forms and formats, including enlarged portraits of Addison and Robert. A self portrait of Addison and Mamie Scurlock is included in the Corcoran Gallery of Art exhibition series. Other photographs which represent personal artistic expression, such as a few nude studies and floral and plant still lifes, are included.
Series 6 consists of photographic materials including color transparencies, slides, film, and proofs but occasionally includes notes, forms, and envelopes associated with the orders.
Series 1: Black and White Photographs:
Dates -- 1888-1993
Extent -- 105 boxes
Contents -- Series 1: Black and White Photographs: The materials are almost entirely black and white photographs, but in the subseries of clients, there may also be job envelopes, order materials, and other photographic material types that were included in the overall order. The series is arranged into two subseries, clients and subjects, and both are arranged alphabetically. The subseries clients documents the orders made by clients of the Scurlock Studio and individuals who were or could be identified but may or may not have actually placed an order at the Studio. The majority of the photographs in the clients subseries are formal portrait sittings but there are photographs of events, organizations, and businesses. The subseries subjects are photographs that were grouped into categories because no known client or individual in the image could be identified. The subjects cover a broad array of subjects but the majority of the subjects include unidentified people in formal portrait sittings and groups. In addition, not all photographs in this series were taken by the Scurlock Studio; there are photos by Abdon Daoud Ackad and other studios or photographers that were sent in to make copies. 1.1: Clients Black and white photographs1.2: Subjects Black and white photographs
Series 2: Color Photographs:
Dates -- 1930-1995
Extent -- 113 boxes
Contents -- Series 2: Color Photographs: The series color photographs consists of color photographs and hand-colored photographs, but there are also order envelopes and materials, and other photographic material types that were part of the order. The subseries are arranged as clients, subjects, weddings, and hand-colored photographs. Clients are arranged alphabetically by last name or the first word of an organization's name. Not all individuals, organizations, or businesses necessarily represent a client of the Scurlock Studio; if an individual or organization could be identified, the photograph was placed under the identified person or organization even if ther were not a known client of the Studio. The majority of the photographs are individual portrait sittings but also included are family portraits, businesses, organizations, and informal images. The subjects are arranged alphabetically, and document images of non-humans and humans that could not be connected to a known client. Weddings and hand-colored are arranged in alphabetical order with clients preceeding subjects. The were a large subject of the overall collection and the majority of weddings are color photographs but also included in the subseries are black and white and hand-colored photographs of weddings. The hand-colored photographs largely reflect the same subject matter of the subseries clients and subjects. In addition, not all photographs in this subseries were taken by the Scurlock Studio; there are photos by Abdon Daoud Ackad and other studios or photographers that were sent in to make copies. 2.1: Clients Color photographs2.2: Subjects Color photographs2.3: Weddings2.4: Hand-colored photographs
Series 3: Framed Prints:
Dates -- circa 1979
Extent -- 3 boxes
Contents -- Series 3: Framed Prints: The series framed prints includes three framed color photographs. The framed prints are arranged by the size, from smallest to largest, of the frame. The photographs are of two important political figures: Washington, D. C., Mayor Marion Barry and Senator Edward Brooke.
Series 4: Black-and-White Silver Gelatin Negatives:
Dates -- 1900-1994
Extent -- 320 boxes
Contents -- Series 4: Black-and-White Silver Gelatin Negatives: The material type of the series is black and white silver gelatin negatives. The negatives are arranged into twelve subseries. The materials document the clients and individuals whose photographs were taken by the Scurlock Studio and a wide variety of subject matters. The subjects represented are individual portrait sittings, organizations, events, businesses, commercial ventures of the Studio, and Washington, D. C. 4.1: Black and white negatives 4.2: Black and white negatives in freezers arranged by job number 4.3: Black and white negatives in freezer storage arranged by client 4.4: Black and white negatives in freezer storage arranged by subject 4.5: Black and white negatives in cold storage arranged by job number 4.6: Black and white negatives in cold storage arranged by client 4.7: Negatives in cold storage arranged by client with index cards 4.8: Negatives in cold storage arranged by subject 4.9: Black and white negatives for publication 4.10: Glass Plate Negatives 4.11: Customcraft Negatives 4.12: Banquet Negatives
Series 5: Color Negatives:
Dates -- 1964-1994
Extent -- 72 boxes
Contents -- Series 5: Color Negatives: The series color negatives primarily of color negatives but it also includes order envelopes and materials. The series is arranged into two subseries: clients and subjects. The subseries clients is arranged by job number, and the materials document the orders placed by clients of the Scurlock Studio and identified persons and organizations. The negatives depict individual portrait sittings, groups, and informal poses. The subseries subjects is arranged in alphabetical order, and the materials document negatives that could not be connected to a client of the studio. The negatives represent subjects such as art, buildings, commercial ventures of the Scurlock Studio, and unidentified people. 5.1: Color negatives arranged by client5.2: Color negatives arranged by subject
Series 6: Color Transparencies, Slides, and Other Formats:
Dates -- 1922-1994
Extent -- 40 boxes
Contents -- Series 6: Color Transparencies, Slides, and Other Formats: The series color transparencies, slides, and other formats consists of black and white and color transparencies, color slides, film, proofs, and order materials. The materials are arranged into four subseries: transparencies, slides, film, and proofs. The subseries are arranged by clients, in alphabetical order by last name, and then subjects, in alphabetical order. The materials document the orders placed at the Scurlock Studio by clients and identified individuals and organizations, and materials that could not be identified and are categorized by subjects. The subjects represented in the materials are primarily individual, family, and group portraits, and events and places. Cut but unmounted slides were typically placed in the subseries transparencies but a small number of cut but unmounted slides are included in the slides. The subseries proofs only contains a form of proof used by the Scurlock Studio that has a fugitive image, and other types of proofs printed on low quality paper or are water-marked and have a lasting image were included in the series Black and White Photographs and Color Photographs if the proof was either black and white or color. 6.1: Transparencies6.2: Slides6.3: Film6.4: Proofs
Series 7: Black-and-White Color Separation Negatives and Matrices:
Dates -- 1955-1957
Extent -- 7 boxes
Contents -- Series 7: Black-and-White Color Separation Negatives and Matrices: The materials in the series are black-and-white color separation negatives and a booklet about how to process black-and-white color separation negatives. The materials are arranged into three subseries: clients, subjects, and the booklet. The materials document orders placed at the Scurlock Studio by clients and individuals and organizations that could be identified but not connected to a specific order. The materials also document negatives categorized by subjects because there was no known client or identifiable individual or organization. The subjects represented are individual portrait sittings and groups, and unidentified people. 7.1: Clients Black-and-White Color Separation Negatives 7.2: Subjects Black-and-White Color Separation Negatives Booklet
Series 8: Scurlock Studio Business Records:
Dates -- 1907-1996
Extent -- 66 boxes
Contents -- Series 8: Scurlock Studio Business Records: The series Scurlock Studio Business Records contains paperwork pertaining to the administration of the business, the financial documentation of the business, the reocrds of sales, the advertising signs and promotions of hte business, the files kept on employees, and other materials kept at the Scurlock Studio. The series is arranged into six subseries: administrative file, financial, sales, advertising and marketing, employee and personnel, and office files. Each subseries is arranged differently according to the types of materials predominantly found in the subseries or in chronological order. The subjects represented in the series are mostly related to the financial records of the Scurlock Studio kept and the invoices of sales records. A wide variety of other subjects relating to the the business records of the Scurlock Studio can also be found including: session registers, construction plans, advertisements for specific holidays, and product information sent to the Studio. Some materials found in this series may be marked Scurlock Studio and Custom Craft, the color division of the Scurlock Studio, and were placed with this series because the Scurlock Studio was the primary business. Other materials with an unclear origin of either the Scurlock Studio or Custom Craft were placed in this series. 8.1: Administrative Files8.2: Financial8.3: Sales8.4: Advertising and Marketing8.5: Employee and Personnel8.6: Office Files
Series 9: Custom Craft Business Records:
Dates -- 1951-1994
Extent -- 57 boxes
Contents -- Series 9: Custom Craft Business Records: The series Custom Craft Business Records consists of paper documents relating to the administrative, financial, sales records, employee and personnel, and other files about the affairs of the Custom Craft business's day-to-day operations. The materials are arranged into five subseries: administrative, financial, sales, employee and personnel, and office files. The materials within a subseries are ordered by types of documents that consisted of a large number of materials listed first and materials with few documents following the grouped materials in chronological order. The materials document the day-to-day business of Custom Craft. The subjects represented are documents relating to the administration of the business, journals kept to document finances, the order invoices, the files kept about employees, product information, and materials accumulated in the office. Some documents may list both the Scurlock Studio and Custom Craft and were kept with the business records of Custom Craft if the materials appeared to fit the activities, color photography, of that business. Other documents relating to the business affairs of Custom Craft may be in the series Scurlock Studio Business Records because these documents did not clearly indicate which business the documents belonged to; in these cases, the materials were put in the series Scurlock Studio Business Records because the business was the primary business of the Scurlocks. There business records seem to indicate that there was not always a clear differentiation between the two businesses. 9.1: Administrative9.2: Financial9.3: Sales9.4: Employee and Personnel9.5: Office files
Series 10: Capitol School of Photography:
Dates -- 1948-1954
Extent -- 4 boxes
Contents -- Series 10: Capitol School of Photography: The series Capitol School of Photography consists of paper documents, photographs, and transparencies. The materials are arranged in chronological order and document the administration of the Capitol School of Photography and the students. The subjects represented are administrative documents, student files, photographs by students, photographs of students and the space used for the School, and transparencies of the same subjects.
Series 11: Washington Stock:
Dates -- 1981-1994
Extent -- 2 boxes
Contents -- Series 11: Washington Stock: The series Washington Stock consists of order materials, orders, and published materials. The materials are arranged chronologically and document the orders placed for Washington Stock and how the materials were used and published. The subjects represented are orders, standard forms used by Washington Stock, and published materials.
Series 12: Background Materials and Publications:
Dates -- 1902-1995
Extent -- 18 boxes
Contents -- Series 12: Background Materials and Publications: The series Background Materials and Publications is composed of paper documents, published materials, and materials from exhibitions. The materials are arranged into four subseries: historical and background information, Scurlock images, reference materials, and exhibition materials. The materials document the Scurlocks, published Scurlock images, published materials lacking Scurlock images, exhibitions of Scurlock images, and other exhibitions of related material. The subjects represented are largely materials related to the Scurlocks' photography and personal interests. Images were placed in the subseries Scurlock images if the photograph was credited to the Scurlocks or was a photograph known to have been taken by the Scurlocks; it is possible that uncredited and less well known images taken by the Scurlocks are present in the subseries reference materials. 12.1: Historical and Background Information12.2: Scurlock Images12.3: Reference Materials12.4: Exhibition Materials
The collection is divided into 12 series.
This collection was processed with numerous changes in arrangement and numbering of boxes. Original box numbers have been retained in this finding aid for cross-reference purposes and to assist anyone with a record of photographs according to the original box numbers.
Biographical / Historical:
The Scurlock photographic studio was a fixture in the Shaw area of Washington, D.C. from 1911 to 1994, and encompassed two generations of photographers, Addison N. Scurlock (1883-1964) and his sons George H. (1920- 2005) and Robert S. (1916-1994).
The turn of the twentieth century saw a mass exodus of African Americans from the South to northern cities in search of better employment opportunities and fairer racial treatment. Although many considered Washington to be the northern-most southern city, it still offered opportunities for African Americans leaving seasonal agricultural work and racial oppression in the South. In Washington, African Americans found stable employment with the U.S. government. In addition, Howard University offered African Americans teaching opportunities, college education, and professional training as doctors, dentists, nurses, lawyers, and ministers. By 1900 a substantial African-American middle class existed in Washington. Despite the fact that Washington was a historically and legally segregated city (and would remain so into the 1960s), this middle class population continued to grow and prosper.
After graduation from high school, Addison Scurlock moved from Fayetteville, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C., with his family in 1900. With a keen interest in photography, he sought out an apprenticeship at the white-owned Moses Rice Studio on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Rice brothers (Amos and Moses) had been in Washington working as photographers since the 1860s and had one of the more prominent and better studios in the city. There Addison learned portrait and general photography. In 1904, he left Rice and began his photographic career at his parents' home. By 1911, when he opened the Scurlock Studio, he had already captured the likeness of Booker T. Washington (1910; see Appendix B), most likely his most well-known portrait. Scurlock quickly identified his market: a self-sufficient African-American community which included students, graduates, and educators affiliated with Howard University; poets; writers; intellectuals; musicians and entertainers; politicians; socialites; fraternal and religious organizations and their leaders. The Scurlock Studio, located at 900 U Street, N.W., became a fixture in the midst of the thriving African-American business community. As with his white counterparts on Pennsylvania Avenue and F Street, N.W., Addison Scurlock inspired passers-by with window displays of his photographs of national leaders and local personalities.
During the 1930s, Addison Scurlock's two sons Robert and George apprenticed in the studio. In addition to portrait and general photography, the sons learned the techniques of retouching negatives and photographic prints, hand-coloring, hand-tinting, and mat decoration. George concentrated on the commercial side of the business while Robert concentrated on the portrait side. The Scurlocks' work changed with the times. From the early 1900s until Addison's death in 1964, the Scurlock Studio was the official photographer of Howard University. In the 1930s the studio began a press service and prepared newsreels on African American current events for the Lichtman Theater chain, which offered some of the few non-segregated venues in the city. Their press service supplied the African-American press with newsworthy photographs of current events, personalities, and social, political, and religious life. Clients included the Norfolk Journal and Guide, Amsterdam News, Pittsburgh Courier, Cleveland Call and Post and the Washington Tribune and Afro-American. George and Robert ran the Capitol School of Photography from 1948 to 1952. Included among their students were African-American veterans under the G.I. Bill, Ellsworth Davis, who later worked as a Washington Post photographer and Bernie Boston of the Los Angeles Times. Perhaps their best-known student was the young Jacqueline Bouvier.
In 1952 Robert opened Washington's first custom color lab. Capitalizing on his knowledge of color processing, Robert was asked to take color portraits of both noted and ordinary individuals. In addition, the studio offered color views of important Washington landmarks and monuments. By the 1960s, Robert added magazine photography to his list of talents, publishing images in Life, Look, and Ebony. Robert continued photographing Washingtonians at his studio until his death in 1994.
According to George Scurlock, the Scurlock studio never had substantial competition in the African American community. Some Washington residents remember it differently, however. Dr. Theodore Hudson, a retired Howard University professor, recalled two other black photographers: Sam Courtney and a man named Sorrell. He said Courtney photographed events in the African American community...?
The collection represents the most comprehensive record of any long-lived, let alone African-American, photography studio, in a public institution. Other twentieth century studio collections exist, such as Robinson Studio, Grand Rapids; Hughes Company, Baltimore, Md. Among African American studio collections in public institutions are James Van Der Zee (New York City, 1912-80s), P.H. Polk (Tuskegee), and the Hooks Brothers (Memphis, Tenn., 1910-1975). The Scurlock Collection covers a greater time period and provides greater depth of coverage of African-American events and personages.
A number of articles have been written about the Scurlock family. Jane Freundel Levey, editor of Washington History magazine, believes that the family went beyond the artful use of light, shadow, and composition. She wrote, "Perhaps the most distinctive hallmark of the Scurlock photograph is the dignity, the uplifting quality of the demeanor of every person captured by photographs who clearly saw each subject as above the ordinary."
Constance McLaughlin Green, one of the leading historians of Washington, D.C., talks about African-American Washington as "the Secret City," a separate world with institutions of its own that remained virtually unknown to the white majority. Addison Scurlock and his sons captured that world on film and in doing so, documented that world in the course of running his business and perfecting his art. Steven C. Newsome, director of the Maryland Commission on Afro-American History and Culture stated that The Scurlocks' photograph "Gave us connections. They tell stories. They let us remember."
The collection includes photographs of the nationally famous Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Mary McLeod Bethune, Mary Church Terrell, Marian Anderson; the locally or regionally important: P.B.S. Pinchback, Judge Miflin Gibbs, Col. Jim Lewis, Ernest Just, Anna J. Cooper; and actors, artists, vaudevillians, and musicians such as Fredi Washington, Madame Lilian Evanti, Oakley & Oakley, and Duke Ellington.
George Scurlock. Interview conducted by David Haberstich and intern Lora Koehler at Mr. Scurlock's apartment, Aug. 2003.
Theodore Hudson, conversation with David Haberstich in the Archives Center, 2 February 2004.
Jane Freundel Levey, "The Scurlock Studio," Washington History, 1989, p. 44.
Robert S. Scurlock, "An Appreciation of Addison N. Scurlock's Photographic Achievements," The Historic Photographs of Addison N. Scurlock. Washington, D.C.: The Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, 1986 (exhibition catalog).
Materials at Other Organizations:
The Historical Society of Washington, DC holds Scurlock-related materials.
The Charles Sumner School Museumn and Archives holds Scurlock-related materials.
Materials in the National Museum of American History:
Cameras and other photographic apparatus, studio furniture, and miscellaneous ephemera from the Scurlock studio are in the History of Photography Collection (now Division of Work and Industry). An adding machine from the studio is in the Museum's mathematics collection. See accessions 1997.0293 and 2010.0157.
The Museum purchased the Scurlock Studio Records from the Estate of Robert S. Scurlock, through Judge Marjorie Lawson in 1997. During the period of negotiation between the museum and Robert Scurlock's heirs, his widow Vivian and brother George, the collection was on loan to the Museum and was housed primarily in a closed exhibition area on the second floor. Staff of the Archives Center took physical possession of the collection long before the transfer to the Museum was final. The studio records and photographs were housed principally in the 18th Street studio and in two rental storage facilities. The primary move of the collection to the Museum occurred in September 1995. An additional pickup occurred on February 12, 1996 (on tags). There was probably one additional pickup from the studio by David Haberstich and Caleb Fey on an unrecorded date.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Series 8: Business Records, Subseries 8.1: Studio Session Registers are restricted. Digital copies available for research. See repository for details.
Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements required to view negatives due to cold storage. Using negatives requires a three hour waiting period. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270.
When the Museum purchased the collection from the Estate of Robert S. Scurlock, it obtained all rights, including copyright. The earliest photographs in the collection are in the public domain because their term of copyright has expired. The Archives Center will control copyright and the use of the collection for reproduction purposes, which will be handled in accordance with its standard reproduction policy guidelines. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Smithsonian Institution
The collection was acquired with assistance from the Eugene Meyer Foundation. Elihu and Susan Rose and the Save America's Treasures program, provided funds to stabilize, organize, store, and create digital surrogates of some of the negatives. Processing and encoding funded by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Nathaniel Mathis Collection of Barbering and Beauty Culture
Mathis, Nathaniel, 1946- (barber, motivational speaker) Search this
5.5 Cubic feet (18 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Washington (D.C.) -- Small business -- 20th century
Nathaniel Mathis is a Washington, D.C., hairstylist, inventor, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. His papers document his business life and community involvement.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the work of a hairstylist, inventor, entrepreneur, and public figure whose career reflects significant changes in the African American community in the later 20th century. It is rich in visual imagery created by and for this community. Business papers, correspondence, publicity, photographs, awards and certificates documenting Mathis's work as a highly regarded barber and hairstylist in Washington, D.C., and as member of the D.C. Board of Barbering and Cosmetology are included. Business papers offer insight into the workings of a small privately-owned business. Numerous publicity items and photographs offer evidence of African American style and fashion in New York and Washington, D.C., from the late 1960s through today. Additional material documents Mathis's activities as a community activist, motivational speaker and distance runner. The collection also includes photographs, oral history interviews, and audio-visual materials.
Series 1, Biographical Information and Activities, 1946-2001, undated
This series includes all biographical statements, Mathis's autobiography, high school and college diplomas (including his GED), and other school and religious papers. Also included are advertising and programs for his various community events and motivational speaking engagements. Mathis participated in and sponsored many athletic, religious, community and children's events, which are documented here. Of note is his autobiography, Portrait of a professional: The Nat the Bush Doctor story as told to Jim Link, published in 1986.
Series 2, Beauty Business Documents and Advertising, 1969-2002, undated
Included in this series are papers related to Mathis's hair salon and clinic, his patent (United States Design Patent No. 237,022) for a Barber's Apron, associated marketing materials, and Bush Doctor advertising. Many of the materials are self-produced; both promotional items for customers and advertisements placed in publications such as phone books and newspapers. Documents for his School of Beauty, which ran from 1980 to 1992, include course material, the salon philosophy and the curriculum. His appointment books show the day-to-day life of the Bush Doctor. Also included are events where he appeared as the Bush Doctor.
Series 3, Publicity, 1963-2002
Clippings from newspapers and magazines, as well as entire magazines and newspapers where Mathis was mentioned on the front page. Several magazine covers and fashion spreads were collected because he was responsible for doing the hair of one or more of the models in the photo shoot. He also appeared at many education, trade, fashion, and hair shows, both as a competitor and as a speaker or panel member. Many of the newspapers showcase his inclusion in the Smithsonian collections in 1999 and from his graduation from Prince George's Community College, Maryland, 2001.
Series 4, Washington, D.C. Barbering and Cosmetology Boards, 1966-1997, undated
Mathis was appointed to the Examiner's Board as the chairperson in 1987 by Mayor Marion Barry of Washington, D.C., and to the Barbering and Cosmetology Board in 1994, after delivering a personal statement as to why he should be selected. The Board was significant because it was the first to license hair braiders in the country.
Series 5, Correspondence, 1967-2002, undated
Mathis maintained correspondence from many areas of his life. Topics covered include personal and professional matters, motivational speaking, and applications to appear in hair and trade shows as a competitor and panelist. Correspondents include the International Guest Artist Men's Hairstylist Association, the Red Cross, the Girl Scout Council, Shoptalk Trade publication, children at the Young School, and many beauty supply companies. He also promoted Soft Sheen beauty products and was a spokesperson for them at various events.
Series 6, Awards and Certificates, 1969-2001, undated
Mathis also received many awards, not only for his barbering skills, but for athletic events and for mentoring and providing support to various community organizations. Included are diplomas and certificates of completion for classes that he took related to barbering. He received medals at competitions such as the Coupe de la Paix in Egypt and the Coupe de l'Europe de le Coiffure in Paris, among others.
Series 7, Photographs, 1966-1989, undated
Photographs are comprised of modern color prints and gelatin developing-out paper (modern black and whites). The photographs document both Mathis's public and private life, from family snapshots to publicity photographs for his book and his television appearances. Of note are photographs with celebrities, including Muhammed Ali, Danny Glover, Robin Williams, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, George Foreman, Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, and Don King.
Series 8, Video materials, 1983-2002, undated
Video materials include ½" VHS, DVD and Minidisc formats and document Mathis's motivational speaking, athletic events, and barber training tapes. He made a promotional tape about his life entitled "From Hair to the Throne," which is undated but in DVD format. Much of his motivational speaking took place at high schools and colleges in the Washington, D.C. area. There are also interviews by local television stations. Included are notes about the tapes taken by Fath Davis Ruffins, a curator at the National Museum of American History.
Series 9, Audio Tapes, 1998-2004, undated
Fath Davis Ruffins, a curator at the National Museum of American History, recorded several oral history interviews with Mathis around the time the collection was acquired in 1998. These make up the bulk of the audio tape series and range from 1998 to 2004. Also included are tapes from radio appearances, as well as a motivational business tape which showcases Mathis's vocal talents.
Series 10, Memorabilia, 1992-1998, undated
Included in this collection is the Game of Life (playing pieces, cards, dice) and bags with the Bush Doctor logo on them. Mathis gave gift bags at the 2002 Black History Month convention, which included information about him and his salon, as well as a pick and a hair comb. He also collected political pins and kept many of his name badges and pins from shows and events he attended.
Collection is arranged into 10 series:
Series 1, Biographical Information and Activities, 1946-2001, undated
Series 2, Beauty Business Documents and Advertising, 1969-2002, undated
Series 3, Publicity, 1963-2002
Series 4, Washington, D.C. Barbering and Cosmetology Boards, 1966-1997, undated
Series 5, Correspondence, 1967-2002, undated
Series 6, Awards and Certificates, 1969-2001, undated
Series 7, Photographs, 1966-1989, undated
Series 8, Video materials, 1983-2002, undated
Series 9, Audio Tapes, 1998-2004, undated
Series 10, Memorabilia, 1992-1998, undated
Biographical / Historical:
"Nat Mathis (b. 1946) is a native Washingtonian. He is a man of many talents and measures his success in many ways: innovative hairstylist, entrepreneur, inventor, community activist, motivational speaker and distance runner. Mathis opened his first barber shop in 1969. He is the winner of many national and international hairstyling awards and competitions and was the first African American to win the International Hair Styling competition in Cairo, Egypt in 1981. Mathis was among the first African American hairstylists to embrace and popularize the Afro and, later, cornrows -- hairstyles which many view as expressions of black empowerment. Mathis himself seldom expresses a political ideology of hair, but by 1970, Nat was known among his many satisfied clients and peers as "the Bush Doctor" for his expertise in Afro style and maintenance. He has styled hair for many celebrities; made numerous television appearances; and has been a stylist for several productions at the Kennedy Center, and for two major motion pictures, including Nixon, for which he re-created period hairstyles. He is active in community affairs, gives motivational speeches throughout the Washington, D.C., area, and is particularly interested in mentoring young people. He currently operates a barber shop adjacent to his home in Capitol Heights, Maryland."
*Biographical information provided by Nat Mathis's Official Website, "A Man of Many Talents." http://www.natmathis.com (accessed 02 August, 2006).
Mr. Mathis donated three of his patented barbering vests (See Accession # 1998.0114) to the Division of Home and Community Life (now Division of Cultural and Community Life).
Collection donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History by Nathaniel Mathis on April 9, 1998. An additional .3 cubic feet was donated to the Archives Center in 2004; 3 audio cassettes, 1 DVD and 2 mini discs added in 2006.
Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
Technical Access: Series 8, Video materials and Series 9, Audiotapes may not be used by researchers unless reference and viewing copies are made available.
Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use. The Archives Center does not own rights to the patent, trademark or any related interest in the artifacts.
The Guide to 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Oral History Collection documents the survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre as well as their journey to acknowledgment, justice, and restitution. This digital collection is an edited version of a larger collection created by Reginald Turner, Executive Director and Founder of The Tulsa Project, Inc. The collection consists of interview videos of individual survivors, their descendants, riot witnesses, historians, community supporters as well as the legal proceedings for U.S. government acknowledgement of the massacre and its subsequent devastation. This collection serves to bear witness to one of the most infamous episodes of American history, allowing those who lived through it to convey their experiences directly in their own words.
Biographical / Historical:
In 1921, one of the most devastating race massacres in American history occurred in Tulsa, Oklahoma. From May 31 to June 1, mobs of white Tulsa residents ransacked, pillaged, bombed, and burned over 1,000 homes, businesses, and churches and murdered scores of African Americans in the Tulsa's Black community of Greenwood. The history of this event was hidden in plain sight for many generations, invariably vanished from or never placed in the history books across the country. Generations of Tulsa's universal community began to learn of this tragic event over the course of the last few decades through the efforts of the survivors and their supporters. The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Oral History Collection alongside the great work of The Tulsa Project, Inc. sheds light on a community of resilience grappling with complex questions of history and memory, justice and law, reparation and reconciliation.
In the decades that followed, just a partial list of cities exhibits the expansive and dizzying geographic and temporal scope of organized white violence that continued with little recourse or reproach well into twentieth century. Such cities include: Colfax, Louisiana (1873); Clinton, Mississippi (1875); Hamburg, South Carolina (1876); Thibodaux, Louisiana (1887); Omaha, Nebraska (1891); Wilmington, NC (1898); Atlanta, Georgia (1906); and East St. Louis, Missouri (1917). In the summer of 1919, the U.S. was rocked by the white supremacist violence and attacks against over thirty Black communities across the country. This period of overwhelming racial violence was dubbed, "Red Summer" and affected major Black communities in Washington, DC; Chicago, Illinois, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; Clarksdale, Mississippi; and Omaha, Nebraska as well as many others. In these cities like Tulsa, mob violence devastated Black communities through the destruction of property and livelihoods.
The Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma is rooted in the history of westward expansion of the United States in early 19th century. Beginning in 1830s, the first African Americans came to the Oklahoma Territory with Native Americans along the Trail of Tears, the U. S government sanctioned removal of American Indians from their native territory across the country. Some of the African American travelers were enslaved while free Blacks traveled through treacherous conditions alongside white travelers. Dubbed the "Oil Capital of the World" and "Magic City," Tulsa experienced booming economic growth and prosperity during the early 1900s. During the era of post-Emancipation until the onset of the 20th century, African Americans were a part of a newer wave of migration that came to Tulsa from all over the country, including other parts of the Oklahoma Territory.
More than 50 all-Black settlements were established in Oklahoma territory during this era, including Tatums, Langston, Rentiesville, Boley, as well as Black communities of larger cities such as Muskogee, Okmulgee, and Tulsa. By 1900, African Americans composed seven percent of the combined Oklahoma and Indian Territories and five percent of Tulsa's population. In 1905, the Tulsa's Greenwood community was sold to African American settlers. Many of Greenwood's founding families were of mixed-race heritage as result of multiracial migration patterns and organic cultural adaptation to Oklahoma's natural resources and environment. The Perrymans, one of Tulsa's founding families, included Muskogee (Creek), African American, and white members.
In 1907, Oklahoma was admitted into the United States, and the legislature immediately began implementing restrictive race laws. Many mixed-race families lived in the Oklahoma Territory in the late 1800s. But dividing lines between the races were drawn more sharply after Oklahoma became a state. Oklahoma had one of the strictest sets of Jim Crow laws that divided the country, especially in Tulsa. Black Tulsans formed their community along Greenwood and Archer streets and quickly began to thrive as homes, churches and businesses were built and further developed. The community took shape with the construction and proliferation of African American owned cafes, grocery stores, beauty parlors, movie theaters, and dentist, lawyers, and doctor offices. By close of World War I, 10,000 individuals lived in Tulsa's Greenwood District, considered to be one of the most prosperous African American communities in America at the time. Educator, activist, and statesman Booker T. Washington dubbed the district, "Negro Wall Street." Later coined as "Black Wall Street" in the 1950s as scholarship began developing around the massacre.
After World War I, Black veterans returned to seek a "double victory" by securing freedom and equality at home, striking fear among white supremacists. This fear left white Tulsans blaming the prosperity of "Black Wall Street" for the lack to employment opportunities and other misfortunes among the white community. Tulsa city founder and prominent businessman, W. Tate Brady, despite his support of African American financial independence, was a member of white supremacy terrorist group, the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) as well as an active member in the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. A resolute white supremacist, Brady's mansion's design was inspired by the Virginia home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. He welcomed KKK founder, Nathan Bedford Forrest to that same home in 1915. It was Brady's active membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans that brought the organization's 28th annual convention to the city in 1918. The latter circumstances along with the ongoing racial tensions set the stage for 1921 massacre.
On May 30, 1921, Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old African American shoe shiner was accused of assaulting a 17-year-old white woman, Sarah Page. Rowland went inside the Drexel Building to use the restroom, the only bathroom allowed to African Americans in downtown Tulsa. Page was an elevator operator in the building. It is unclear if Rowland tripped or the elevator stopped suddenly, but he had physical contact with Page. Page screamed assault and a scared Rowland immediately fled. The next morning on May 31, Rowland was arrested and jailed in the city's courthouse. Later that afternoon, the city's most popular newspaper, Tulsa Tribune printed the story, "Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator" that claimed Rowland raped Page. Also printed was an editorial with the title, "To Lynch Negro Tonight," which no doubt influenced the rumors of a possible lynching of Rowland as the evening approached.
A large mob of thousands continued to grow over the course of the night outside the courthouse. African American WWI veterans and other members of the Greenwood community began to set up defenses outside the courthouse in order to protect Rowland. Tensions rose and soon an individual fight broke out and a gun was fired. The now weaponized white mob began to move about Greenwood armed with torches, guns, and other weaponry. Some survivors recall aerial bombs released overhead from small planes. The terror was directed at every visible African American in the vicinity, many fled for their lives while their homes and livelihoods were demolished. Historical research has not rendered an accurate number of lives lost in the massacre; it is believed that over 300 African Americans were murdered. Over 35 blocks of homes and businesses were destroyed with damages estimated to be over 1.5 million dollars.
On June 1st, the Oklahoma National Guard arrived, and martial law was declared. They arrested over 6,000 African Americans including children and illegally held them in detention centers throughout Tulsa. They were only released if a white person named them as an employee. Martial law ended on June 3rd, but African Americans were required to carry "green cards" once released from the detention centers as a mechanism to the police the Black population. The next week, Oklahoma governor James B.A. Robertson ordered an inquiry into the massacre. Only 85 people were indicted, mostly African Americans citizens. Rowland was released from jail and not charged for any crimes. Page recanted her claim as well.
Residents of Greenwood filed over 1400 lawsuits for damaged property. Insurance companies denied all claims based on a "riot clause." 1,000 Black Tulsans were forced to live in tents provided by the Red Cross from 1921-1922 because their homes were demolished. Historians estimate that over 700 families left Tulsa and never returned. However, many stayed and worked to rebuild the Greenwood community but experienced great difficulty as the city government actively tried to prevent African Americans from returning to their homes. Zoning regulations were put into effect that would make Greenwood only a commercial area, making it virtually impossible to live there. B.C. Franklin, businessman and father of historian John Hope Franklin, led the charge and filed a suit against the City of Tulsa before the Oklahoma Supreme Court and won, allowing Greenwood to rebuild.
Dozens of Black-owned businesses were rebuilt in Greenwood within a year of the riot, and hundreds more followed over the next three decades. The Oklahoma Eagle newspaper founded in 1922, replacing the community's former Black newspaper, The Tulsa Star that was destroyed by the riot. The Oklahoma Eagle, founded directly after the massacre, reported on African American community, as well as all facets of the massacre, since white newspapers refused to acknowledge the incident. In 1925, in a display of courage, the National Negro Business League held its 26th annual convention in Greenwood. By the 1950s, Greenwood was a thriving Black community despite racial segregation and inequality. Greenwood's mid-century renaissance was a rare occurrence as employment opportunities and fair treatment outside of the Greenwood remained limited. The Tulsa NAACP chapter, along with other activist groups, was formed to fight inequality and racism in wider Tulsa. Despite advances of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, redlining and urban renewal projects dwindled the former Greenwood improvements leaving the area and its residents impoverished and highly segregated.
After suffering decades of aftereffects from the massacre, Tulsa's African American community demanded justice and reparations from the state of Oklahoma and the U.S. government. In 1997, African American state lawmakers, Representative Don Ross and Senator Maxine Horner, co-sponsored an Oklahoma House Bill to create the Tulsa Race Riot Commission. The Commission was tasked with finding survivors and recording their testimony, gaining accurate accounts of property losses and values, and then make recommendations for reparations. In addition, they worked with forensic anthropologists and archeologists tasked with locating mass graves of massacre victims. In 2001, the committee concluded that each survivor should receive $200,000 and up to $100,000 in property claims. Unfortunately, these recommendations were not passed leaving survivors and descendants with little prospects for restitution.
In 2003, over 200 Tulsa massacre survivors filed a suit against the state of Oklahoma in the case, Alexander, et al., v. Oklahoma, et al. Survivors and their descendants served as plaintiffs and recounted their experiences during and after the massacre. The legal team was led by esteemed lawyer and educator Charles Ogletree and celebrity lawyer Johnnie Cochran. The suit demanded restitution for the damages and injuries done by the state of Oklahoma and the city of Tulsa. The main argument declared violations of the 14th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution including "deprivation of life and liberty [and property] and the privileges and immunities of United States citizenship". In addition, plaintiffs wanted to establish a scholarship fund to ensure future generations learn the history of the massacre for years to come. The judge ruled against the survivors, claiming that the statute of limitations had passed. In 2005, the lawyers tried yet again for justice by bringing the case to the U. S. Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear the appeal. A few survivors were given the opportunity to speak at a briefing in front of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and other leaders on Capitol Hill, the same year with no action taken.
Over the years, Tulsa cultural institutions and organizations were developed to preserve the legacy of the African American community in Greenwood, Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma. The Greenwood Cultural Center and Mabel B. Little House have showcased the heritage of the community since the 1990s. In 2008, lawyer and filmmaker, Reginald Turner founded The Tulsa Project, Inc., a non-profit group committed to raising funds and awareness on behalf of massacre survivors and their descendants. The same year, Turner filmed interviews of massacre survivors that were later compiled in a documentary entitled, "Before They Die!" The interviews took place from 2004 to 2007 and featured survivors' efforts for justice, government hearings, and legal proceedings as well as Tulsa Commission meetings. The film's sales go towards compensating survivors and serve as an educational tool exhibited in schools, churches, and civic organizations around the country. In 2010, the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park opened in Greenwood to help memorialize the massacre survivors and educate the community. In 2018, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum called for the opening another investigation into the location of mass graves. In 2019, the Tulsa Race Massacre was added to the Oklahoma Education department curriculum and taught in classrooms.
As the massacre approaches its 100th anniversary in 2021, there are continuing advances for greater education about the massacre and the restitution of justice for the victims, survivors, and descendants of the one of the darkest times in American history.
1900 -- African Americans composed seven percent of Oklahoma territory and five percent of the Tulsa population.
1905 -- The Greenwood area in Tulsa was sold to African American Settlers.
1907 -- Oklahoma was made a state.
1917-1918 -- World War I veterans returned home seeking freedom and equality. In 1918, Tulsa hosted the 28th Annual Sons of the Confederacy Convention.
1919 -- "Red Summer," Over 30 race riots occurred over the course of 10 months in states across America.
1920 -- The wealth and prosperity of the Greenwood community, nicknamed "Black Wall Street," led to it to becoming one of the most financially prosperous African American communities in America.
1921: Tulsa Race Riot also known Tulsa Race Massacre takes place from May 30th to June 1st, in the Greenwood community of Tulsa. -- May 30: Dick Rowland, an African American shoe shiner is accused of assaulting Sarah Page, a white elevator operator. May 31: Rowland was arrested and brought to the courthouse jail. Afternoon: The Tulsa Tribune printed a story, "Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator" that Rowland raped Page and printed the editorial, "To Lynch Negro Tonight." 4:00 pm: Talk and rumors of lynching Rowland had spread. Police and Fire commissions J.M. Adkison phoned to warn Sheriff Willard McCullough of a possible incident. 7:30: A large white mob, numbering in the hundreds, gathered at the courthouse demanding Rowland be released to them. 9:30 pm: The mob had grown to two thousand. Members of the Greenwood community, many World War I veterans, set up defenses at the courthouse in order to protect Rowland from any impending violence from the mob. 10:00 pm: A fight broke out and a gun was fired. The mob began attacking and shooting all African Americans. June 1 12:00-1:30 am: Gunfire occurred between the white and African American commercial businesses across Fisco yards. 1:00-4:00 am: Over 35 blocks were destroyed, including 1200 homes, and an estimated 300 African Americans were murdered. However, the exact number is unknown. 9:00 am: The Oklahoma National Guard arrived. 11:30 am: Government declared martial law, by this point most of the fighting had already stopped. The final altercation occurred at Noon when the mob fired on African Americans near the Santa Fe railroad tracks. The National guard gathered and arrested nearly all the Greenwood residents, over 6000, detaining them in the Convention Center, sports arenas, and fairgrounds. 6:00 pm: All businesses were ordered to close, and a curfew was put into effect beginning at 7:00. June 3: Martial law ended. African Americans were required to carry "green cards" to leave the detention centers until July. June 8-20: Governor James B. A. Robertson ordered an inquiry of events by a Grand Jury examining the role of the police and sheriff departments. The all-white jury indicted over 85 people, the majority African American, for rioting and illegally carrying weapons. Five city police officers, including the Tulsa Chief of Police, John Gustafson, were also indicted and later fired. June 8-July 30: 1400 lawsuits were filed by African Americans for damaged commercial and/or personal property. The insurance companies invoked a "riot clause" that dismissed almost all the claims. Rowland was released and was not charged for any crime.
1922 -- Mary E. Jones Parrish was hired by the Inter-Racial Commission to write an account of the Race Riot. She was a teacher and journalist living with her daughter in Tulsa at the time of the massacre. Parrish interviewed survivors of the riot, collecting oral histories, photographs and a listing of property loses, publishing her findings in Events of the Tulsa Disaster. This was the first book published about the race riot. A large reconstruction effort began in Greenwood, and 80 businesses opened.
1925 -- National Negro Business League holds national convention in Tulsa, celebrating the rebuilding of Greenwood.
1931 -- Buck Colbert Franklin writes an unpublished memoir of the massacre entitled: The Tulsa Riot and Three of its Victims. It was later published by his son, John Hope Franklin and grandson, John W. Franklin in 1997.
1946 -- The first general history of the riot was published by Loren L. Gill, from the University of Tulsa. Although conducting many oral histories and research, some of his conclusions were later found to be incorrect.
1975 -- The Tulsa Race War of 1921 by Rudia M. Halliburton, Jr. was published. Halliburton was a professor at Northeastern State University and his work featured a collection of photographs, many from his students, of the riot.
1997 -- The Tulsa Race Riot Commission is established to study the riot and recommended reparations for survivors and their descendants. The city didn't comply.
1998 -- The Commission recommends archeological search for mass graves. This was approved in February 1999. A potential mass grave was found in Oaklawn Cemetery.
2003 -- Court case, Alexander, et al., v. Oklahoma, et al, was filed by over 200 survivors of the massacre. The suit was denied because the statute of limitations had passed.
2005 -- The survivors and lawyers attempted to repeal the decision in the Supreme Court, but the Court decided not to accept a case.
2010 -- John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park opened in Greenwood to help memorialize and educate the community about the race massacre.
Acquired as a gift from The Tulsa Project, Inc. (Reginald Turner, J.D.Clement & The Lomax Company).
Ruth Law Collection, Acc. NASM.XXXX.0387, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Collection, Acc. 1992.0023, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.