GREENWOOD AVENUE

A final swipe of the cloth across the shining black leather and Dick Rowland leaned back. Another satisfied customer.

‘Can see your face in them, like a mirror.’

‘Thank you, Dick,’ said Walt, flipping him a shiny cent.

Old Bill slipped into the vacated seat.

‘Just need to visit the restroom.’ Dick said.

‘I’m in no rush,’ said Old Bill, flipping open his newspaper.

Another fine day on Greenwood Avenue. Dick could nip into the Drexel building and and be back in less than five minutes.

He strolled across the street. He marvelled each day at what they had built for themselves, right in the heart of Jim Crow land.

He skipped up to the building, holding the door open for a young, white lady. She gave him a polite smile and he followed her inside.

The commotion distracted Old Bill from the sports pages.

He heard the high-pitched scream: ‘Rape!’

He never did get his shoes shined that day.


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Linking up with the prompt at What Pegman Saw. The task is to write a story in 150 words or less based on the destination that Pegman is visiting. This week’s destination is Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa, U.S.A., infamous for one of the worst race riots in America’s history, when the successful black community was razed to the ground by the local white population. Read more about it here: WIKIPEDIA.

17 responses to “GREENWOOD AVENUE”

  1. Nice work, I really liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I kinda saw it coming, but I grew up when that was common. Of course, that added to the dread. Good job making it such a lovely, happy day. That got smashed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent story, Iain. My wife was upset that I was so specific with this month’s prompt, but I thought it might be an interesting experiment. Thanks for contributing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. If it hadn’t been for the prompt info, I wouldn’t have known the significance of the place. Good to learn a bit of unknown history.

      Like

  4. You tell the tale of the flashpoint for the riots very neatly. Just a small trigger, but the envy of the white community only needed a spark to ignite the deadliest of riots.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Iain,

    And so began one of the most horrific pages of American history and one of the grandest cover-ups of all time. Well told.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rochelle. You will be hard pressed to find anyone in the UK who has ever heard of this, certainly I had never heard about it until Pegman took us there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The shame of it, Iain, is that you’d be hard pressed to find Americans who’d heard of this. I didn’t know about it until yesterday. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I confess, I’d never heard of this terrible event until today. To think of so many people dying and being injured because of one, minor event. But I gues that’s all it took in the 1920s, all it takes now sometimes. Very well written, Iain, and as Eugenia says, you contrast the before and after so well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lynn – like you I had never heard of this before until I wrote this. Another good reason to do these prompts, learning all the time!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such foreboding in the buildup! I especially like the understated way you allude to what happened by way of ‘He never did get his shoes shined that day.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seemed like alluding and understatement were the only way to go with only 150 words to try and tell such a horrific tale. Thank you.

      Like

  8. […] – Iain, Penny, Rochelle and Josh himself – have made such a good fist of relating elements of the […]

    Liked by 1 person

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