B&N Audiobooks Subscription = SAVINGS. Sign Up Today for a Free Book!
Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

by Brandy Colbert

Narrated by Kristyl Dawn Tift

Unabridged — 5 hours, 25 minutes

Brandy Colbert

Audiobook (Digital)

Free with a B&N Audiobooks Subscription | Cancel Anytime

$21.99
FREE With a B&N Audiobooks Subscription| Cancel Anytime
$0.00

Free with a B&N Audiobooks Subscription | Cancel Anytime

View All Available Formats & Editions
START FREE TRIAL

Already Subscribed? 

Sign in to Your BN.com Account


Listen on the free Barnes & Noble NOOK app

FREE

with a B&N Audiobooks Subscription

Or Pay $21.99

Overview

A searing new work of nonfiction from award-winning author Brandy Colbert about the history and legacy of one of the most deadly and destructive acts of racial violence in American history: the Tulsa Race Massacre. YALSA Honor Award for Excellence in Nonfiction

In the early morning of June 1, 1921, a white mob marched across the train tracks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and into its predominantly Black Greenwood District-a thriving, affluent neighborhood known as America's Black Wall Street. They brought with them firearms, gasoline, and explosives.

In a few short hours, they'd razed thirty-five square blocks to the ground, leaving hundreds dead. The Tulsa Race Massacre is one of the most devastating acts of racial violence in US history. But how did it come to pass? What exactly happened? And why are the events unknown to so many of us today?

These are the questions that award-winning author Brandy Colbert seeks to answer in this unflinching nonfiction account of the Tulsa Race Massacre. In examining the tension that was brought to a boil by many factors-white resentment of Black economic and political advancement, the resurgence of white supremacist groups, the tone and perspective of the media, and more-a portrait is drawn of an event singular in its devastation, but not in its kind. It is part of a legacy of white violence that can be traced from our country's earliest days through Reconstruction, the Civil Rights movement in the mid-twentieth century, and the fight for justice and accountability Black Americans still face today.

The Tulsa Race Massacre has long failed to fit into the story Americans like to tell themselves about the history of their country. This book, ambitious and intimate in turn, explores the ways in which the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre is the story of America-and by showing us who we are, points to a way forward.



Related collections and offers

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 09/20/2021

In compassionate but unflinching prose, Colbert (The Only Black Girls in Town) recounts the events of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the intentional and violent destruction of a thriving Black community in Tulsa, Okla., on Memorial Day 1921. Like countless lynchings of Black men that began when a white woman’s virtue was thought to be in question, the Tulsa Race Massacre was prompted by an encounter between 19-year-old Dick Rowland, a Black resident of the financially successful, predominantly Black Greenwood District, and white female elevator operator Sarah Page. A fateful, still unclear, misunderstanding led to police intervention, then to a “shameful, completely preventable tragedy, like so many incidents in United States history,” reads the book’s foreword. Alternating between survivor quotes, a detailed background of Oklahoma and Black chattel slavery, and a stirring account of the disturbing 1921 events, Colbert displays an impeccable grasp of the history of segregated Black towns and communities, such as Tulsa’s Greenwood District, and the powder keg of hatred and prejudice that would eventually condemn it. Moreover, this telling of an often-excluded story is powerful in its clarity about “the violent, genocidal foundation of this country” and its continuing effects. Ages 14–up. Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (Oct.)

From the Publisher

"Colbert writes confidently about the truth of American history that has been long omitted from textbooks and conversations, and presents a case for acknowledging lingering racist ideas, sentiments, and assumptions and for holding ourselves accountable to overturning the harm that racism has caused. Necessary reading for any student of history or for anyone trying to understand our present." — Booklist (starred review)

"This sophisticated volume makes clear that the destruction of Black property and lives in the Tulsa Race Massacre was not an isolated incident. The clear, readable prose supports a greater understanding both of how and why incidents like the one in Tulsa happened and their exclusion from curriculum and conversations about U.S. history. A compelling recounting that invites and encourages readers to grapple with difficult history." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Alternating between survivor quotes, a detailed background of Oklahoma and Black chattel slavery, and a stirring account of the disturbing 1921 events, Colbert displays an impeccable grasp of the history of segregated Black towns and communities, and the powder keg of hatred and prejudice that would eventually condemn it. Powerful." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"VERDICT: A must-have first purchase for all libraries; this text invites readers to engage with a difficult history that’s essential in our understanding of today’s world."School Library Journal (starred review)

"Colbert paints a clear picture of how and why this racial massacre occurred and encourages all readers, regardless of age or race, to confront the difficult and often obscured history of racial violence in the United States." — Shelf Awareness (starred review)

"Black Birds in the Sky tells the truth about an event that every American should know about. It’s a horrifying account told with great care." — BookPage

"Colbert extends her range with this excellent nonfiction book, a welcome contribution to the growing literature about this tragedy." — Horn Book Magazine

"This essential story will help you understand our country better--both where we've been and where we need to go." — Steve Sheinkin, author of Bomb and The Port Chicago 50

"This book is a necessary read for EVERYONE." — Frederick Joseph, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Friend

Horn Book Magazine

"Colbert extends her range with this excellent nonfiction book, a welcome contribution to the growing literature about this tragedy."

BookPage

"Black Birds in the Sky tells the truth about an event that every American should know about. It’s a horrifying account told with great care."

Booklist (starred review)

"Colbert writes confidently about the truth of American history that has been long omitted from textbooks and conversations, and presents a case for acknowledging lingering racist ideas, sentiments, and assumptions and for holding ourselves accountable to overturning the harm that racism has caused. Necessary reading for any student of history or for anyone trying to understand our present."

Shelf Awareness (starred review)

"Colbert paints a clear picture of how and why this racial massacre occurred and encourages all readers, regardless of age or race, to confront the difficult and often obscured history of racial violence in the United States."

Steve Sheinkin

"This essential story will help you understand our country better—both where we've been and where we need to go."

Frederick Joseph

"This book is a necessary read for EVERYONE."

School Library Journal

★ 11/01/2021

Gr 7 Up—After generations of erasure and a concerted effort to cover up history, the story of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre is finally being told in a modern historical context. Following the alleged assault of a white woman by a Black man in an elevator, the thriving Black community of Greenwood, Oklahoma (also known as Black Wall Street), was heaved into violence and destruction when a white mob descended on the town to seek revenge. Colbert recounts the event in detail, piecing together accounts from survivors and news stories, though many newspaper articles were not recovered in full. Colbert dives into the events directly preceding the massacre and gives ample context through the founding of Tulsa, mounting racial tensions in the region and elsewhere, the aftermath of Reconstruction, and the forcible removal of the Muscogee (Creek) people from the land. Her foreword frames her own upbringing in a majority white community and flows into the many historical and cultural factors that led up to the 1921 massacre, emphasizing the point that no one act of violence against a Black community can be viewed as an isolated event. Clear straightforward text, photos, and well-organized storytelling makes this an essential read for teens and adults alike. VERDICT A must-have first purchase for all libraries; this text invites readers to engage with a difficult history that's essential in our understanding of today's world.—Allison Staley, Lake Oswego P.L., OR

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2021-07-13
The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 was not only a devastating attack on one community, but part of a history of violence against African Americans.

The attack on the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, that began on May 31, 1921, was triggered in part by a mob of Whites seeking to punish an African American teenager for allegedly assaulting a White woman. However, this exploration shows that the violence that destroyed the thriving community known as Black Wall Street was part of a long history of brutality and displacement. In addition to describing the event itself and the subsequent active suppression of information about it, Colbert provides important context for the founding of Tulsa, as Muscogee (Creek) people who were forcibly removed from their land by the U.S. government settled there in 1833. The end of Reconstruction saw paroxysms of violence and the rise in discriminatory laws against African Americans, and many sought sanctuary in Indian Territory. By weaving together many elements, this sophisticated volume makes clear that the destruction of Black property and lives in the Tulsa Race Massacre was not an isolated incident. Beginning with the author’s personal foreword and continuing throughout the detailed narrative, readers are guided to see the complex, interconnected nature of history. The clear, readable prose supports a greater understanding both of how and why incidents like the one in Tulsa happened and their exclusion from curriculum and conversations about U.S. history.

A compelling recounting that invites and encourages readers to grapple with difficult history. (afterword, bibliography, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940173062178
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/04/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews