The Nation Must Awake

My Witness to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921

by Mary E. Jones Parrish

Afterword by Anneliese M. Bruner

Introduction by John Hope Franklin and Scott Ellsworth

Cover design or artwork by Ajamu Kojo

Mary Parrish was reading in her home when the Tulsa race massacre began on the evening of May 31, 1921. Parrish’s daughter, Florence Mary, called the young journalist and teacher to the window. “Mother,” she said, “I see men with guns.” The two eventually fled and unwittingly became eyewitnesses to the death of hundreds of Black Oklahomans and the destruction of the Greenwood district, a prosperous, primarily Black area known nationally as Black Wall Street.

The Nation Must Awake is Parrish’s first-person account, compiled along with the recollections of nearly two dozen others, of what is now recognized as the single worst incident of racial violence in U.S. history. Includes an afterword by Anneliese M. Bruner, Parrish’s great-granddaughter, and an introduction by the late historian John Hope Franklin and Scott Ellsworth, author of The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice. Originally published as Events of the Tulsa Disaster, it is being published by Trinity University Press for the first time for a wide audience.

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