Four EAST students from Jones Elementary School recreated monuments from Black Wall Street and how it was destroyed by the Tulsa Race Massacre.
With Black History Month coming to a close, Jones Elementary School in Springdale, Ark., is wrapping up a project where students learned about one of the darker moments in American history: the Tulsa Race Massacre.
EAST student Grisham Barnes was brainstorming ideas for his next project when he watched a documentary surrounding “Black Wall Street” and the Tulsa Race Massacre. The story inspired him to use 3D printing to memorialize what happened over a century ago.
“I 3D printed a recreation of what happened in the Tulsa Race Massacre and how much it hurt Black Wall Street and the businesses suffered,” Grisham said. “Black Wall Street was essentially like Wall Street in New York, but it was for African-Americans. They had lots of places to shop and use.”
Grisham recruited three fellow students: Abdiel, Kacey, and Toni, to help him on this project. His partners had never heard of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the impact it had before Grisham brought them on board. Still, Toni says he researched the tragic event in order to memorialize it properly.
“I never knew about it, but then Grisham taught us about it,” Toni said. “He told me to watch the documentary he saw, and it made me feel bad about the African-Americans because they were being judged by the color of their skin.”
The four students printed different buildings and carvings of pictures of the Greenwood District using Tinkercad, the Ultimaker 3 3D Printer, and an image converter called 3DP.rocks.
Grisham said during his project pitch, “The problem that I am trying to solve is that lots of people don’t know about important parts of history like the Tulsa Race Massacre. If more people acknowledge this history, then more people will help try to make sure something like this never happens again.”
EAST at Jones Elementary School facilitator Shane Benson says it’s incredible that students as young as his EAST students are taking the initiative to learn about events that aren’t commonly taught in school but are important nonetheless.
“One of the things that Grisham told me is that he wants people to remember history from it,” Shane said. “The cool thing about this project is that not all of them had that background information going into it, but learned not only 3D printing skills but also a monumental moment in history.”
The recreation of Black Wall Street will be featured at EASTcon22 at Jones Elementary’s booth at the Exhibit Hall, so everyone in attendance will be able to check out the project for themselves.