Tulsa Riots of 1921: History Uncovered

By: Amy Samuels



Students will perform a webquest on the Tulsa Riots of 1921 and other historic tragedies as well as perform comparisons. Critical thinking will allow students to develop a deeper understanding of tragedies and consider approaches to societal problems through discussion and presentation.

Keywords: riots race discrimination Tulsa black wall street


Students will analyze documents concerning the Tulsa Riots in order to develop an understanding of the event's historical influence.
Students will identify and evaluate benefits and obstacles that arose during riots and other historic tragedies through the completion of WebQuests.
Students will be able to successfully navigate various websites by
utilizing search engines and homepages in search of facts.
Students will be able to compile and organize facts concerning riots and other historic tragedies by visiting different websites in order to establish their own ideals concerning the events.
Students will be able to compare the Tulsa Riots to other historic tragedies by browsing websites in instances of further research on the topics.


Use research and inquiry skills to analyze American history using primary and secondary sources. (SS.912.A.1)
Analyze the effects of the changing social, political, and economic conditions of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. (SS.912.A.5)
Demonstrate an understanding of the origins and purposes of government, law, and the American political system. (SS.912.C.1)
Evaluate the roles, rights, and responsibilities of United States citizens and determine methods of active participation in society, government, and the political system. (SS.912.C.2)
Understand how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technology to report information. (SS.912.G.1)


Academic Preparation

The teacher should:
1. input the websites into a computer before starting the lesson for ease of access
2. read and view materials within the attachments: excerpt, map, webquest, and exit pass
3. prepare copies of the WebQuest for students


1. Students will participate in a photo analysis of a picture from the Tulsa Riots of 1921 (see first website attached).
Teacher-directed spiral-questioning will ensue throughout the analysis: What do you see in the picture? Where might this have occurred? Provide evidence to support your idea. What might have caused the scene to look this way? How do you think the person in the picture feels?
2. In order to provide students an understanding of what caused the destruction in the photograph the teacher will read an excerpt (see second attached website) from a related source aloud to the class.
3. Based on the students' newly acquired knowledge of the event, the teacher will then display the original photograph and again ask students similiar questions (Why does the scene look this way? How do you think the man in the photograph feels? What do you think this man will do today, tomorrow?)
4. To familiarize students with the location of the event, the teacher will display a detailed map (see third attached website) and point out the location of Oklahoma in relation to the rest of the United States and then focus in on Tulsa.
5. To complete the WebQuests, teacher will place students in pairs in front of computers or laptops.
6. Each pair of students will receive one WebQuest worksheet to complete (see attached PDF).The WebQuest handout will be read together in the class by both teacher and students for understanding and to address any possible questions.
7. Students will be assigned roles of “recorder of data” and “computer navigator” based on teacher discretion. These roles could be switched mid-way through the activity.
8. After information is found and recorded, the classroom will discuss the validity, organization, and utility of websites and information.
9. Students will be directed to visit the EASE History website. After reviewing the content, students will be instructed to choose one other event to compare to the Tulsa Riots.
10. Using the selected event and the Tulsa Race Riots, students will complete a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the two


Continuous informal assessment will occur through instructor observation of webquest completion and class discussion. Students will also be assessed through the completion of the exit assignment and venn diagram, as well as the list of websites found and recorded by the student.
Possible Spiral Questions:
1. Was the information in which you were searching for on the site easy to find? Why or Why Not?
2. Were the websites organized in a user-friendly manner? Describe in your own words:
3. If you could change or add any content/images to any one of these sites, how would you go about these changes?

Estimated Lesson Duration

3hr 55min


  • Experience Acceleration Support Environment. Retrieved January 2010 Website: http://www.easehistory.org
  • Flicker Photo of Tulsa Riot Victim, Retrieved May 2011
  • Website: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mfspeccoll/3427411245/in/set-72157616477359519/
  • Florida Department of Education. Retrieved November 2007
  • Website: http://www.fldoe.org/bii/curriculum/sss
  • Free Dictionary, Retrieved February, 2010
  • Website: http://www.thefreedictionary.com
  • Montgomery College, Story of Tulsa Riots of 1921
  • Website:http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/Departments/hpolscrv/VdeLaOliva.html
  • National Education Technology for Students. Retrieved November 2007
  • Website: http://cnets.iste.org/students/s_stands.html
  • National Public Radio Online. Retrieved January 2010
  • Website: http://www.npr.org
  • Oklahoma, 1920: map
  • Website: http://etc.usf.edu/maps/pages/1500/1556.pdf
  • Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved February 2010
  • Website: http://www.pbs.org
  • Subliminal Organization. Retrieved January 2010
  • Website: http://www.subliminal.org/tulsa/#av
  • Tulsa-City County Library. African-American Resource Center. Retrieved February 2010
  • Website:http://www.tulsalibrary.org/aarc/timeline/maps.php


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