Black Wall Street- The Dreamland
A musical play by Khareem Jamal
Black Wall Street-The Dreamland, is the latest production by Khareem Jamal, one of the creators of Black Heroes In The Hall of Fame.
Set in Tulsa, Oklahoma 1921, it tells the remarkable story of the community of Greenwood, an all-black suburb of Tulsa.
Here the ex-slaves and the sons and daughters of slaves were able to create a successful and affluent community that was the envy of white Tulsa. It was prospering so much that the great African American educator, Booker T Washington, was moved to declare it, “the Negro Wall Street of America, a veritable Monte Carlo.”
Their achievements were all the more remarkable because given where they had come from, nothing was expected of them, they weren’t supposed to be able to achieve what they did. How could blacks be lawyers, bankers, doctors and surgeons? How could they own and run theatres, grocery stores, churches and schools? Those were still the prevailing thoughts of the time, a hangover from the days of slavery that still contaminated society.
The emancipation proclamation and the 13th amendment were barely 58 years past and the opinion most whites held of Black people was that they weren’t far removed from the ape!
The neighbouring white community bristled with resentment at the upwardly mobile residents of Greenwood, Jealousy and resentment was palpable. As a result, what transpired on the night of May 31st, 1921 was almost inevitable, all that was required was a pretext and that was provided by the unfortunate, but innocent encounter between Dick Rowland and Sarah Page.
Writer and director Khareem Jamal, has set the story to the backdrop of jazz influenced music and “Negro spirituals” with the original songs provided by the talents of Lloyd Wade, the result is a wonderfully crafted piece of musical drama that will have your emotions fluctuating between hope and despair, but you leave filled with an optimistic interpretation of the events that few if any have expressed.
Black Wall Street - The Dreamland will be at The Millfield Theatre from October 11-13, tickets can be purchased from the box office on 020 88076680