A large piece of cardboard with the stenciled message “Downtown N——r Town” entwined with a hand-drawn swastika was found Saturday morning outside the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce visitor’s center, across Archer Street from Greenwood Rising and near the northeast corner of Archer Street and Greenwood Avenue.
Greenwood and Archer is considered the heart of Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District, an all-Black neighborhood that flourished through much of the 20th century despite being destroyed in the city’s 1921 race massacre.
Phil Armstrong, interim executive director of the Greenwood Rising history center on the southeast corner of the intersection, said he learned about the sign from a visitor waiting to tour the museum.
“They said, ‘Do you have an artifact across the street?’” Armstrong said.
It wasn’t, but it may be now. Armstrong took the sign into Greenwood Rising to make sure it didn’t disappear.
Armstrong said the sign “is not surprising, not shocking. What people who do these things don’t understand is it only gives us energy. It shows we still have work to do.”
He said he plans to file a police report to make sure the incident is on record. He said video from Greenwood Rising’s exterior security cameras will be examined for clues to the identity of whoever left the sign.
Armstrong said he doesn’t know of any similar acts since a Black Lives Matter street painting was defaced last year.
“I don’t think it’s far-fetched to think this is tied to that or someone with the same mindset,” he said.