This rare video shows what life was like in totally black cities during the 1920s.
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In the US news UU. And today's events, this rare video shows life in totally black communities in the 1920s during an era of fierce racial tension.
Reverend Solomon Sir Jones was the son of former slaves. He moved to Oklahoma in 1889 and became an influential Baptist minister. Jones was also an amateur filmmaker in the early days of making films.
Over the course of 4 years, he filmed 355 minutes of footage in more than 50 completely black communities throughout Oklahoma. It also documents your trips to other states and abroad. Jones' films capture vibrant black communities that thrive at a time when racist violence and segregation prevailed in many areas across the country.
Oklahoma came to have the largest number of totally black communities in the more than 60 years after the Civil War. In these cities, African Americans started their own businesses, many doctors, lawyers and black families prospered.
Some Oklahoma whites tried to block or slow the growth of totally black cities by imposing "oaths" that limited the hiring of black workers or refused to rent or sell land to a black person. In 1921, the "Black Wall Street" neighborhood of Tulsa was decimated during an incident of white mafia violence. Dozens of black residents were killed and hundreds more were injured in what became known as the Tulsa massacre.
For decades, the incident was barely taught, if it did, in schools. The totally black communities in the state entered a period of decline during the Great Depression.
Today, Jones' images are considered the best documentation of what life was like in the black communities of the time. The films show unique, culturally rich peoples, full of mutually supportive communities despite an often racist society around them.
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