TCC Students and Faculty Help Develop Virtual Projects for Historic Greenwood

May 25, 2021
The historical Greenwood District and its legacy advance into the digital world as students with Urban Coders and Tulsa Community College unveil two new virtual projects.

Developed over the past year, nearly 200 students at TCC and Tulsa Public Schools worked to create Mapping Greenwood and 1921 Historic Black Wall Street Business Directory.

These projects have been produced in partnership with the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, TCC, and Urban Coders Guild and unveiled at a special event on Monday, May 24 at The Black Wall Street Gallery.

Mapping Greenwood is a web-based mapping experience guiding individuals through the events of the Tulsa Race Massacre, with an added focus on ways in which the Greenwood community continues to rebuild. This project has been developed by TCC service-learning students across multiple classes and semesters and guided by TCC faculty.

“TCC students learned through this project that education is about more than just a job.” said Dr. Kristen Marangoni, service-learning coordinator at TCC. “We are helping students think through the kind of citizen they want to be when they have that job.”

The second project, the 1921 Historic Black Wall Street Business Directory, commemorates the businesses destroyed in the Tulsa Race Massacre by creating websites for each of them. Mikeal Vaughn, executive director of Urban Coders Guild envisioned an online directory of historic Black Wall Street businesses and what might each webpage would look like today if the business still existed.

This project involved 40+ TPS students in Urban Coder’s youth coding and app building program with collaboration from TCC students who researched the historic businesses and TCC graphic design students who created logos for businesses destroyed in 1921.

“This has been a meaningful learning experience for these middle and high school students,” said Vaughn. “The collaboration with TCC is an extension of Urban Coders Guild’s mission to build a more inclusive, more diverse tech community including software developers and the teams of creatives working together to create new tools and resources.”

This collaboration is a direct result of discussions from the 2020 John Hope Franklin National Symposium on how technology can play a role in reconciliation. One of the leaders of that discussion is Tyrance Billingsley, a former TCC student who wants to position the Greenwood District as Black Tech Street.

A current student who worked on the project, Logan Lanphier, said the project was incredibly interesting. "Being able to research and identify the exact building still standing there today, I have a greater appreciation for the people who survived and made Tulsa what it is today.”

Mapping Greenwood is part of a year-long commemoration of the people and places associated with the historic Greenwood District, TCC Remembers: Legacy of Greenwood and Our Shared Racial Healing.