Ep. 7 BONUS EPISODE: A BLACK WALL STREET LEGEND-THE STORY OF PEG LEG TAYLOR AND THE LEGACY OF TRAUMA
Updated: Jun 11
A medallion given to Lena Eloise Taylor Butler, a descendant of the Tulsa Race Massacre. The State of Oklahoma presented medallions to identified massacre survivors after the issuance of the final report of the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, released on February 28, 2001.
According to A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, “Not all black Tulsans, however, countenanced surrender. In the final burst of fighting off of Standpipe Hill that morning, a deadly firefight erupted at the site of an old clay pit, where several African American defenders were said to have gone to their deaths fighting off the white invaders. Stories also have been passed down over the years regarding the exploits of Peg Leg Taylor, a legendary black defender who is said to have single-handedly fought off more than a dozen white rioters.” It goes on to say that rioters who were posted along the northern face of Sunset Hill are said to have found themselves under attack, at least for some time. Despite the efforts of some such as Taylor, Tulsa’s African American contingent was outgunned and outnumbered. Nevertheless, the story of Peg Leg Taylor has become the stuff of myth and legend. Various accounts about his efforts and what became of him have carried on through the years, including one account that posits that Taylor died defending Standpipe Hill. As it turns out, Peg Leg Taylor did not die in the Tulsa Race Massacre. He escaped and lived about 30 more years or so. He also had a daughter who escaped with him.
In this episode listeners will hear from two sisters, Kim Johnson and Alice Campbell, who live in Seattle, where Peg Leg Taylor’s daughter lived. They say they are direct descendants of Taylor and his daughter, Eloise. One sister has been trying to tell their story for years. Her journey started after receiving a phone call from Dr. Scott Ellsworth, a Tulsa Native, writer historian and University of Michigan Afroamerican and African Studies professor. Listeners will also hear from Ellsworth in this episode. Finally ,the episode also features recordings of the late Bishop Otis G. Clark, who was a Tulsa Race Massacre Survivor and Evangelist and is said to have known Taylor.
Dr. Scott Ellsworth, writer historian and University of Michigan Afroamerican and African Studies professor.
Tulsa Race Riot Commemoration 2001 Otis Clark
“It wasn't good. It doesn't make it right. But it sure gives you an understanding of why you're the way you are. ~Alice Campbell.
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Rough Episode Transcription
hi there. I'm Nia Clark, the creator of the black wall street, 1921 podcast. When I started this podcast, I had every episode mapped out, but as we know. Things don't always go as planned recently, a listener reached out to me to tell me she was the descendant of one of the most notorious black wall street legends.
At the time of the massacre, he had already developed a reputation for himself and was well known by many and ptosis, predominantly African American district of Greenwood, including the ship Otis G Clark, who you're about to hear from now this particular character has since become the subject of folklore.
So I decided to add this episode as a bonus and try to figure out what really happened in his life and do a deep dive into his story as well as that of his descendants. I think there's a lot we can all learn from this story. I hope you enjoy it.
And the morning of the ride, which is the long , but on the morning of the
meal, And they could look across the tracks in the back part of Jackson's funeral home. And at that particular time I was close with mr. Jackson was
And when we learned that that was going to be a truck, I mean, that lawn. And we thought we had everything except.
and we would go
back to bed at night. Uh, photos.
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Divided the front line, the truck you want us to get out of trouble and drone with the funeral home with Jackson when I to get it,
but me and up in the top, bottom, middle
and they shot over
and the bullet
I'm standing. And we
which was full five.
And I passed on by the buckets.
he stated properly talking to Jackson.
I will not up random attack. They shop
And then, um, I would want you to get out of that
and to get out of the trunk
and make them stop. And
folks from the North side down the city and
but I hit him. Maybe stop the car and then taking the dump. So they had a little pistol, they take it, nobody used it and they go on and we stayed in
and arrived at stop. But when we got back to Tufts,
we did receive normal and they wouldn't let us have, at that time, we was in bad shape.
earlier that your stepfather disappeared. He never, you never heard from him. Did you go to the police, find out where he was? The folks, the older folks, I was about 18. And, but, uh, I heard though folks said that we couldn't find him another way and, um, others too, but I know he died. He was alive and he was working.
He did most of the most contract tracking and building work. Um, let me see, Tom, Tom, Brian was his name, but we never heard from him, Tom. Right. And then bill after the ride. Well, that's one of the things that's right. Commission is doing. Try to get an accurate account of a desk, try to locate where they were.
Uh, if we get funding through this Rockefeller grant, uh, that may be exclamations and they may do DNA and all that. And someday may tell you whether they have found this basic step. I know one thing, they never did anything by Bible. Now, again, that's one thing. That's riders looking into this issue of insurance, my grandmother.
Oh, still on that property. Yeah, they built the Joe Hart. Just do it. That name was editing clock again, Rick block, it built Towson big news story on, um, with named Joe Hodges storage. As far as through stewards, that was on my grandmother's property and they give up 300 of the $3,500 for that 3000 the way.
Yeah, $3,500. And we went out on the floor in Boulder and Lilly as a ass from Tom Gentry. Ginger was a real estate guy. Yeah. You got to deal with real estate real estate. And I heard it did very well. He was the one week from, you mentioned that your cousins have a cafe on
that was Bishop Otis Clark, another survivor of the Tulsa race massacre. The audio was from two different video recording. Which as you can probably tell we're recorded decades ago, the first was of Bishop Clark speaking at the Tulsa race, right commemoration of 2001. He was 98 years old at the time. The second was from a sit down interview.
Bishop Clark did with author and historian, Eddie fake Gates. The audio recordings are courtesy of Jay, Kevin Ross, and the Greenwood Tribune.
In partnership with the Tulsa race massacre, Centennial commission. I'm Mia Clark. And this is black wall street, 1921.
Bishop Clark left an impression on many people in the 109 years. He walked this earth. We'll get to that soon, but first a bit about Bishop Clark, Bishop Otis G Clark was born on February 3rd, 1903 in Meriden, Oklahoma, according to the website of his church life enrichment ministries at the time, Oklahoma wasn't even a state.
It was considered Indian territory. Which we talked about in the first episode of this podcast, when Bishop Clark died, he was older than the state of Oklahoma, which became a state in 1907. Mr. Clark was a young man when the Tulsa race massacre occurred in 1921 in his obituary published in the Washington post dated may 26, 2012.
He is quoted as saying, quote, my home was burned down. My bulldog Bob was killed. My stepfather was killed. We never did find him, never had a funeral. He also said, quote, family and friends, missing jobs gone. The city took my grandmother's land and didn't give us nothing in return we suffered. But Tulsa has given us nothing even to this day.
Nothing. During the Tulsa race massacre, Bishop Clark ran for his life. He eventually reached some train tracks where he hopped on a freight car and did not get off until he was in the wonky. According to his obituary in the first speech you heard in the beginning of this podcast, Bishop Clark says he eventually had to come back to Tulsa.
And when he did, he saw the devastation, the massacre had caused, he said he left Greenwood again. And this time headed for California, he would not return to TOSA for many years. A search for Bishop Clark's biological father is what brought him to California, where he eventually settled and worked for several Hollywood stars.
He lived in the home of famous movie star, Joan Crawford, where he worked as a Butler and his wife as a cook, the evangelist new Clark Gable and Charlie Chapman, and was good friends with actors, Stepin, Fetchit. Mr. Clark had a religious conversion while he was serving a sentence in jail for selling bootleg liquor during prohibition, he started preaching in the 1930s and served as an international minister for many decades until his death.
To be clear, this brief overview does not do Bishop Clark's accomplishments and influence justice. His ministry touched the lives of many nevertheless. Mr. Clark was also known for his forgiveness and reconciliation movement while he was outspoken about his experience in the Tulsa race massacre and the destruction it caused.
He also believed that forgiveness was the only way forward despite the tragedy he suffered years prior during the massacre. It was at a book signing back in 2011, the year before at Bishop Clark's death, where a woman named Kim Johnson met Bishop carte. Now Johnson contacted me after hearing this podcast to tell me she and her family are the descendants of a man named Peglegs Taylor and his daughter, Lena LOE, Taylor Butler, both peg leg, and his daughter, Eloise are survivors of the Tulsa race massacre.
When I interviewed Johnson about her family, she described meeting Bishop Clark and hearing him describe her. Great, great grandfather, peg leg Taylor, whose real name was Horace Greeley, Beecher Taylor. She tells me Bishop Clark said he knew Peglegs who Kim says. Was a well known businessman in Greenwood, also known as black wall street before it was burned to the ground.
His name went down in history. After some people said he single handedly fought off many members of the mob that were trying to destroy Greenwood and a part of the community called standpipe Hill. After Johnson learned of her family's involvement in the massacre, she set out to try to learn as much as she could about Horace and his daughter, Eloise.
This is what brought her to Bishop Clark's book signing in Seattle, Washington. Here's what she says happened.
When we went to Seattle enrichment book center and looked at four, we die with Bishop oldest cart. I was horrified and I was really. In shock again, for quite some time, it was really difficult to process. And even Otis Clark, he gave us an account of horse Taylor. He said that he was a character. He really liked him.
He had a lot of respect for him, but he said, he also said that he was one of the young, young men who were helping. To load magazines behind either. It was either Mount Zion church or Mount pleasant. And he said he was one of the, uh, one of the young men. Who was helping course and another contingent of veterans load up the magazines in defense of North toast.
He told us that he was there.
when I talked to Kim for the first time she told me she only found out about the experiences of her great, great grandfather. Peglegs Taylor and her great grandmother. Eloise Taylor in the Tulsa race massacre shortly after the death of her great grandmother. It's what she told me next. That really shocked me back in 1999, Kim says she was at her great grandmother's home.
When one day the phone rang. She answered it and said the man calling introduced himself as dr. Stat Ellsworth. Now, if you've been listening to this podcast, you may recall that I interviewed dr. Ellsworth in the previous episode, dr. Ellsworth is a writer, historian, and university of Michigan Afro American and African studies professor.
He's also the author of death in a promised land, the Tulsa race riot of 1921. It really is a small world. I immediately contacted dr. Ellsworth. Here's how he describes that phone call with Kim and his knowledge about Peglegs Taylor.
Dr. Ellsworth. You've been studying the Tulsa race massacre for a long time, but you've also been studying survivors and we know that one of the legendary tales of the Tulsa race massacre. Was of a man named peg leg Taylor, and we'd heard various different stories as it concerns him. What we do know is that he was somehow involved in defending Greenwood with, I guess, a gun, at least holding off some of the mob that were trying to come into Greenwood and perhaps.
Loot or shoot. We don't know much else after that. Can you kind of fill in the blanks about who Peglegs Taylor or as his birth name was Horace Greeley Taylor, who he was absolutely Horace Greeley. Beecher Taylor is also known as peg. Like Taylor was easily, you know, one of the true legendary figures of the Tulsa race mask, you know, he was a real person as long as a sort of the disfigured and folklore.
We know that he was born in 1878 in Indian territory. We don't know a lot about his family. He's living in Tulsa by 1921. Some say that he was a builder or a carpenter others claim that, you know, he had different kinds of odd jobs, but at the time of the massacre is 43 years old. And then once the event starts that build to the riot or the massacre, then Peglegs starts to take on an almost mythical status.
There are people who claim that prior to violence, breaking out at the courthouse where Dick Rowland was held, that peg leg had already broken into a number of wide open. Pawn shops and other stores, the edge of the African American community and was stealing boxes of ammunition. So African-Americans could either break Roland out of jail or to defend their community.
We don't really know whether that's true or not, but the story, and it was one that I heard in the 1970s. From riot survivors who told me they had heard tales from the time of the riot on about how peg leg tailored to help to defend standpipe Hill, which is of course, just a bit North of the main Greenwood district.
And the story went basically that as whites invaded Greenwood, as they begin looting and burning. And destroying stores and shops and office buildings and homes. As they got closer to standby pill, they were suddenly hit by this barrage of fire that just kept going on and on and on and on, and a story that another legendary figure the ride.
And much later day when a guy named Don Ross, Don Ross said that. Peg leg stuck his left foot into the ground on top of stamped by pill. He stuck his right peg into the other and with the machine gun in his hand, he held off whites, hundreds of whites for more than six hours. And this is a story that's been repeated often and often, but there is no question.
There is a kernel of truth there, you know, enough people have talked about. Peg leg fighting off whites and stemming for a while, the tide and the vision of Greenwood from standby pill. That there's no question that it's true. But Pega to me had always been also sort of, kind of a mythical figure. You know, it was hard to sort of try to track him down.
To figure out who he was. We didn't even know his real name, you know, for a long time. And then around nine to around the year, 2000, maybe 1999, I got a chip that Peglegs daughter, Eloise was still alive and living in the Pacific Northwest. And I got a phone number and I gave that number a call. And finally, you also were able to do a little digging after learning about Eloise's descendants and what one of her great granddaughters recalled Eloise telling her about the riot.
And you did some digging and you were able to find a death certificate. That was, of course, really Taylor, can you tell me what it said? Yeah. So, you know, after, after I I'd spoken with Kim Johnson, I did a little more digging around and I was sort of flabbergasted to find a death certificate the way that most people told the Peglegs story.
Either he dies as a martyr up on the Hill, or they just that, you know, the story ends before we find out what happened to him. And I became curious about that. It turns out there's another guy. Named Horace Greeley Taylor, who was also born in Oklahoma around the same time and people were mixing them up.
But as it turns out, pink leg lived on to the ripe old age of 73. I'm not sure what he did on all those intervening years, but he ended up dying in 1951 in Phoenix, Arizona. Occupation was a minister
After speaking with dr. Ellsworth, I decided that I needed to interview Kim for this podcast, because if what she told me was true and she, and some of her family members really are descendants of the infamous Peglegs Taylor and his daughter. Eloise. I wanted to try to fill in the blanks of Taylor's life as well as his daughters, because there's so much more, we don't know about them, especially in the years after the Tulsa race massacre.
You're about to hear that interview, which also includes Kim's. Sister, Alice Campbell, who she says was very close with their great grandmother. Eloise. Again, Eloise is Peglegs Taylor's daughter. I know it's a lot, but I'll go slowly and to make things more confusing, you will hear Kim and Alice referred to Lena Eloise Taylor Butler as big mama.
This is their nickname for Eloise and rarely do Kim and Alice refer to peg like Taylor, as such in this interview, they primarily call him by his real name. Which again is Horace Greeley, Beecher Taylor.
So Alice Campbell and Kim Johnson, you are sisters. And you say you are the descendants of Lena Eloise Taylor Butler, who is the daughter of Horace, Greeley Taylor also known back in 1921 before the Tulsa race massacre as Horace Peglegs Taylor, both chorus and Lina, Eloise were survivors of the Tulsa race massacre.
So Kim, you reached out to me on Instagram because you saw a post about this podcast. And I was shocked actually, when you did that. And when I started researching the story behind Horace, it was fascinating. Can you just explain to me what it was like when you got the call from dr. Ellsworth? Where were you?
What was it like? And what was your reaction? Well that day, the phone rang. My mom was sitting in her big chair in the living room. And so I answered the phone and then he asked to speak to Eloise Taylor and I said, well, she's next door? I said, big was next door. So he identified himself and then he wanted to talk to her because she was at that time, one of the five or six survivors of the 1921 Tulsa.
Right. So I got quiet then. Then you said that there was a special, that was going to come on, like within a week's time or something like that. And for us to watch that, because we will get information about the 1921 Tulsa ride, as well as a piece that would be said about the great grandfather, horse piglet Taylor, or great, great grandfather.
And I'm quiet at this point, you know, hearing what he's saying. So I'm listening to what he's saying. Then he asked me if I understood the gravity of what he said, and I couldn't, because I was in shock after that point to hear that big mama was one of the survivors at that point in 1999. Of the 1921 Tulsa.
Right. So Kim you'd heard the story of Peglegs Taylor before. Yes. I just heard that it was a man that had a, a pig Lake and that he lived in Tulsa or something to that extent. Okay. So Alice, you are closer to your great grandmother. And when Kim and we'll talk about that in a minute, but when Ken found out that she got a call from dr.
Scott Ellsworth, and that was back in 1999, about your great grandmother, Alice, you were the one that had a conversation with Eloise. Lena Eloise Taylor Butler also known as big mama in your house. What did she tell you? I talked to my grandma and prior she talked to him. She and I just had a lot of different conversations because I was her caregiver and stuff too.
So I'm just going to tell you the story that she told me just out of the blue one day. So she just told me that one day she was. Just going about her business. And she got that feeling that something was getting ready to happen. She told me that the problem that they had initially, she said they had issues with them, stealing with them, looting with them, vandalizing their property long time before the riots.
She said the issues had gone on for years. Because of jealousy. Now, she said she didn't know exactly what sparked it, but the initial story was that ms. Started at the courthouse. No, it escalated to courthouse. It started like down the street from the courthouse. She said six or so. White men had approach one black man on the street.
Because he was alone and they started to beat him because of something that began. That's the mob mentality. And what happened was instead of black people standing around the owners came out of the shop and they started shooting. Then the mom came, she said that they started, when people came out of the shots, you mean black people came out, it came out to help defend this guy because it was six men or so only him, but she didn't go home.
She was watching it, go on. She's telling me what she saw. Now what her dad told her. Cause her dad wasn't in the initial fight. He came home to get her out of there. And I'm going to tell you about that too. But she said they started once they started shooting, he hid behind a building. He like, they used to have spaces between the buildings, like a store and then the house would be space.
They didn't bash them together. Like they do. Now. She said she here between a store and a house and they were shooting. She said that people started running, you know, the women started running and other men were running because they were trying to find shelter because more and more white people started coming from everywhere with weapons.
She said, great, all kinds of pitchforks. That's what she described out rates. And it went nuts. These black people didn't just die. They fought back the best they could, but she said they started on that end of town where the blood started fighting. They set those initial shops on farm at the very beginning.
That is unlike anything I've ever heard. I just want to be clear about that. I had always heard that the massacre started at the courthouse where Dick Rowland was being held. You're seeing your great grandmother. Eloise told you that she was in Greenwood the day the massacre began. And so a black man get attacked by a white mob and she saw black store owners come out of their stores to defend that black man and start shooting.
Is that correct?
Okay. And your great grandmother hid between the buildings and watched all this happen. And that was well before the incident at the courthouse in Tulsa, where the mob had formed to try to see stick rolling. Right. The courthouse was down the street. She said the building's on fire. They took everything they could carry.
She was running ahead of the crowd that was running that once they started shooting and the white people started shooting back Lucas, then stuff on fire, black people started running. People knew it was time to get up out of Dodge. I'm telling you, she said that the energy in the air alone, let them know that they had to leave, not just go home after she says they ran past her house or something, you know, but she's her dad met her past the courthouse, some legend or conspiracy theory has it.
That horse died on standpipe Hill defending Greenwood. He fought his way to her. The legend has, she didn't see it, but you heard the legend, the rumors as they migrate, he took some people out in order to get this daughter, because not that he saw her ahead of him, but for some reason she said he knew she was ahead of him and he had to get to her.
Now she didn't tell me what went on at the courthouse because she kept running. Okay. She did say there was a lot of bad things going on at the courthouse, but it wasn't just there. Yeah. It was like, that was the epicenter of it. And they had gotten wind all over the place. So they coming out of the woods on the West side of town on the East side of town.
These people don't even know what's going on downtown is being attacked. You know, all these ins of people die, not just me and baby.
Oh, no, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry.
She was just, you could have heard her. She was there. She was an older woman. She wasn't a grown woman. You know, she was a young woman watching people that she cooked for. Did she care for? She cared for the people. She was a domestic in the town. She worked, even though her dad was rich, she still worked.
And these people were being killed in front of her. If it will be a shot, this woman got old woman got shot and she ran to the woman's house. She said she was trying to get to this woman's house and they killed her. They, you, she said it was like they was shooting. For my grandma, she was terrified of any backfired cars or anything.
So she was 19 at the time after she got past this courthouse, she got past this lady's house. She didn't name no streets or anything like that, but the way she was running the courthouse, she way she was talking to everything was on her left hand side. So we had a map, she was running up the street and everything was on the left hand side.
She said she got just to the end of this woman's house and she was shot. And her daddy grabbed
my sister was telling me that there was a discrepancy bodies. He was after you take
all the people. They would just play. So, but didn't know where to go. All these people, a lot of them starved to death. These people lost everything. They make it sound like it was just an incident. These people lost their law because somebody wanted what they have. She said, they all the ones who made out of town.
She said they had to lay out in the woods on their stomachs face on the ground. She said they couldn't move. They couldn't breathe the peoples out there hunting. Like they were animals. They wanted to kill them all you understand? They didn't want to just solve what happened. They found a reason. They had been waiting on the reason to go in that town.
It was, they started, they hunted the people and then they dropped ball from this guy that turpentine people that was anyway, her dad, they said once. They figured they could find nobody or they found some of the people I'm telling you. She found some of the people that were out there in the woods laying on their stomach
and they just shot him right through the ground where they laid under my kids, women. They didn't care. Old people, people who had breastfed them, they didn't give a damn, they killed him right there on that ground. She said, and nobody, you could scream. You couldn't do nothing. She's at one of finally her daddy told her to get up, you know, come on.
She says, should he move here to hurt her? She said he had hurt her to make her stand up. He had to hurt her. And they won't, they did not ride. They walked, they walked and walked her. She said, heard about 25 people scattered out, walked to a neighboring town. I didn't know Oklahoma real well. I used to ask what was that Muskogee?
And she told me as if another town not too far from the wall. Next to Tulsa. She said it was there that they got help from other black families. And it was there today to say they would never talk about it again. And I didn't meet, I didn't know nothing about this woman until what? 97, 1997. She told me this and it's like, How many years,
and this is what is not talked about a lot, but it seems like the massacre had a really detrimental effect on the mental health of people in the community of Greenwood and survivors of the attack. Those people had PTs.
I'm just saying Amanda wasn't there, but imagine you come out of situations like slavery, they came out of there and came up. They got their own money own base on hospitals. They're not telling you what was in that town. They own school. They own hospitals. Every thing even has their own political system.
So they were already stealing and killing black people as well. But Eloise Taylor and her father peg Taylor, they made it to another town right. Where they stayed and got help. And I think they only stayed got, y'all got one, got clothes, got food and moved on because they, people didn't have no way to keep you, you know, they were barely making it themselves.
So I think they migrated on because they lived in Kansas for a while. They lived in Kansas and she got pregnant because her name was watching the Walters or something too. She married a man. It was Walter Williams. She married a man named Clarence Butler. She didn't become Butler until she married on Eugene.
So they left Greenwood and they never looked back after the massacre. It wasn't nothing to look back to are no dad got to this tale bootleg. Because one of the things that he owned in the town of Greenwood
and that's what he became. So she eventually left Kansas and moved back to Oklahoma this time to Oklahoma city. Did she say whatever happened to her father in Kansas? I guess she never went. Only thing. She even talks about him as well. She talked about how evil and mean he was. But as I grew older and live life, I understand once you or a person gives you everything.
And then I was in the cake, you don't understand the, it all, you understand that they won't, she left him. She never really mentioned that he died. I'm telling you the only thing she talked about him after the Ryan stuff. Because before that she talked about him, like he was a hero. If you could hear the way she called her daddy, he was a King, he was everything.
But her big mama and her father were strange. Once they got where they were going. She said he became abusive, hateful, mean stingy. You know, I didn't know that was the reason for it until later. And now I know why, and I also know why my grandparents acted the way they did because somebody took all their money and they'd have to leave.
So they went from Greenwood to another town in Oklahoma, then Kansas there, Eloise, who would be your great grandmother, had her daughter, Gloria. Who would be your grandmother? How many years did they stay in Kansas?
Thank God. She had Gloria. My grandmother was three, three years and she went back to Oklahoma, Oklahoma city. Cause my grandmother lived in Tulsa, all her life. She lived in that area where Eloise and Gloria estranged? Yes. Yes. My great grandmother, never wanted children. She was one of those women who said she didn't want no kids told me she didn't want no kids and then take it kid.
But she was mother enough to let other people who would care for the kid care for the kid.
So she had two kids.
So to be clear, your great grandmother LOEs who survived the Tulsa race massacre with your great great grandfather, peg Taylor Eloise had one child, Gloria, who she abandoned and then Gloria had two children. A girl who would be your mother, Alison Kim, as well as a boy who would be your uncle and then Gloria abandoned her children.
Is that right? My mom was mother had my mother. She's about 14. When she married my mother's father. He was functional from the beginning. Kim, you said you didn't meet Eloise or a big mama until you were an adult. Yes actually, because she came out here and I didn't meet big mama until I came out here just before I went into the military.
I think I was like 27. Maybe that's when I met mama for the first time. But my grandmother, Gloria, I met her at her funeral. Because I live with my dad for a little while because mom abandoned us and my dad had to come and get me. And I lived in, in California with him for five years. So I went back to Oklahoma when I was 10.
And then that's where the funeral for Gloria was. She, I met her at her funeral. So ever since the massacre, there's just been this cycle of dysfunction and abandonment. Yep. And I believe that with Eloise or big mama, I believe that she took Gloria to nearly who was her grandmother, probably her mom's mom.
And that's where Gloria stayed and was raised in, you know, in Kansas and, you know, big mama and. Horace and whoever else, you know, probably migrated there. And they stayed there because big mama and Gloria were together living in the same home in Oklahoma city in 1940. So. For high of alone, they lived together because granddaddy George was there too.
It was granddaddy George and Gloria, my mom, who was three at the time. And then it was Eloise and her husband, Clarence, they were living on second street in Oklahoma city in the 1940s, because that was the 1940 census. But. After that, I'm not sure what took place with big mama, because what I knew of big mama was distant.
I knew that I had a great grandmother that lived in Seattle, Washington, and she was the mother of Gloria. That was pretty much what I knew I believe. And I, you know, this is just something that, you know, I wonder about because big mama was a domestic worker. And from what I understood that my mom said was that big mama was a domestic worker.
Horses boarding house. He had a boarding house there in town. Yes. As well as a pool hall, a couple of Jew joints. He had Taylor and sons roofing where they did that little flappy statue or flappy stuff that you nail on. He also had a, a hall. Based on what, uh, Eddie Faye Gates was saying, you know, that had a really big area where you could meet and those kinds of things.
And so I think that she was already getting that exposure through the boarding house because I'm sure prostitution and, and stuff was going on within that boarding house where she was a domestic worker cleaning up cooking and doing, you know, those kinds of things, even when she was in Greenwood. Do you think all of the dysfunction stems from the Tulsa race massacre?
Yes. I think, you know, I'm going to be honest with you. It threw off the cycle all the way up to me, you know? Yeah. Yeah. It's a generational curse. It certainly is. Now that I've done a lot of healing, I've come to understand that it may not make things right. It wasn't right. It doesn't make you good, but it sure gives you an understanding.
Of why you're the way you are. You said, Oh, okay. That's why now I can. Go forward and fix this. I'm not just messed up. You know, something happened to my ancestors, which conditioned the ancestors to follow to condition me. He understand if nothing else, but to keep me safe, warm, and fed it wasn't to hurt me.
But now that I know why, I'm the way I am. I've said about the, a change in that. I appreciate them, but I don't come from poor people. I come from wealthy people, all sides of the family. My mother's father's family was rich too, and had the money taken away. So I'm saying I come from wealth, but both sides of family called father.
I'm just trying to understand the trajectory of your great grandmother's life. So your great grandmother, Lena Eloise, Taylor Butler, back then she was Lena Eloise Taylor, before the massacre. She and your great. Great grandfather, horse, Greeley, Beecher Taylor. They both survived the massacre. They fled Greenwood.
They never looked back after the massacre. They went to a nearby town, they got some aid and then they moved on to Kansas. She lived there for several years. About three, right? Right. She was from Vancouver. She lived there for a couple years then she, okay. So after Kansas, you said she lived in Wichita, Kansas.
So Eloise left Kansas with her daughter, Gloria, who would be your grandmother as well as Eloise's on TT while Eloise left her father behind then Eloise, her daughter, Gloria and ITT went to Oklahoma city. I know that the census does a show. Prove that they lived on second street where she married Clarence Williams because Clarence Williams was an older man.
And he, that was in 1940, but Clarence Williams had said to her that it wasn't good for a young woman to have a child. I guess being married. And so that was the reason from what I understood that she married clergy. So she left Oklahoma city. She went to Vancouver for a couple of years, then settled in Seattle for the rest of her life.
From what I understand it, from what I know, my great grandmother, LOE Butler was a strict business woman. She ran a hoarder house. She had a brothel and neither one of them were. Nine 33, 20,000 Seattle Washington, nine eight one two, two. She had pictures where there was an app that spot anybody that was, everybody came to my mom's house.
My mom's on marijuana. So she died when Britain in 1982, I was in the military. She got three jobs. My grandmother ran, she made beer. She was a licensed practical nurse. But it seems like a lot of people in Greenwood had good things going for them. But after the massacre, it seems like Eloise took a detour.
It's safe to say that she felt on hard times after she left Fremont. They had no clothes, no money, no food, no shelter, no meat, no relatives. Do you understand what thing. It was her and her daddy. What about her mother? She never talks about her mother. Kim. Do you think Lina, Eloise Taylor Butler's life would've been different.
Had it not been for the Tulsa race massacre? I believe so. She shut everything out. Maybe that was a way for her to survive is to close and shut down everything. I mean, Even to the point of her, not really being able to aid her child, because I believe that Gloria was raised largely in Kansas, you know, because her grandmother, Nelly had Gloria.
And so. It's possible that big mama may not have a lot to do with her rearing at that point, you know, for whatever reason. But I believe that that she could have been different.
I'm going to put my journalism hat on for a moment. Since I am a journalist, there are some things that Kim and Alice said about Horace Greeley beach or Taylor or piglet Taylor and his daughter, Lena Eloise Taylor Butler, who they refer to as big mama, which I haven't been able to verify either because it's been almost a hundred years since the Tulsa race massacre.
Or the people who would have firsthand knowledge about what they said are dead also so much was destroyed during the Tulsa race massacre. For example, I cannot verify that the Tulsa race massacre began around the time of the beating of a black man in black wall street and a fight between white and black residents of Tulsa that ensued after that beating, as Alice said, I cannot verify the real reason Peglegs Taylor's foot was amputated.
I cannot verify that Eloise Taylor Butler or big mama ran a brothel and sold marijuana in addition to being a nurse. And while I do believe that Kim and Alice are descendants of Lena Eloise, Taylor Butler, and her father, Horace, Greeley, Beecher Taylor, or peg lick Taylor. I haven't seen their family tree.
Or DNA evidence suggesting as much. However, I have learned it and seen some pretty convincing evidence. For example, I do know that Kim learned of the experience of Eloise Taylor Butler, who would be her great grandmother after she took the phone call of dr. Stott Ellsworth, who informed her about it over 20 years ago.
As you heard earlier, dr. Ellsworth confirms this with me. Kim also sent me a copy of the death certificate of a Gloria Louise stalker on that death certificate. Gloria's mother is listed as a Louise Taylor. You'll recall that Eloise who escaped the Tulsa race massacre with her father. Peglegs Taylor had a daughter named Gloria, who is Kim and Alice is grandmother.
According to the sisters. I've also seen a medallion that Ken says belonged to Eloise, who again would be her great grandmother. One side reads, Oklahoma medal of distinction, survivor of the Tulsa race riot. The other side reads. 80th anniversary, 1921 to 2001 legislative black caucus. I had never heard of such a medallion.
So I reached out to attorney consultant and author, Hannibal Johnson, who you heard from in episodes five and six. He said, quote, the state of Oklahoma presented medallions to identified massacre survivors after the issuance of the final report of the Oklahoma commission to study the Tulsa race riot of 1921 released on February 28th, 2001.
Nevertheless, if Kim en Alice is account of the lives of Tulsa, race, massacre survivors, Peglegs Taylor and his daughter, Eloise are true. That would be a sobering example of the deep and crippling destructive nature of institutional racism. And the trauma endured by a millions of African-Americans on American soil, a man who not only battled racism and just about every obstacle conceivable to blacks.
In the early 20th century, as well as a disability in the form of an amputated foot, a teenage girl who could have experienced the benefits of prosperity and education and the opportunity afforded to so many black people in Greenwood at the time, which black people elsewhere throughout America, rarely experienced.
And within hours, all of that goes up in flames, changing the trajectory of their lives and seemingly not necessarily for the better. Now, imagine this father and daughter, and multiply their experienced by the thousands of people who lost everything during the Tulsa race, massacre, or worse hundreds killed property and fortunes gone homes, schools, and businesses destroyed livelihoods gone.
And potentially generations of wealth wiped out in less than a day. Not withstanding those who were able to rebuild after the massacre, many did not including peg leg Taylor and his daughter Eloise. The longterm impact of this trauma seems to have reverberated down through the generations of their descendants up until the present day.
And before you go, I want to share some exciting news black wall street. 1921 is now a part of the Agoura podcast network, which is a network of independent podcasts, which cater to curious and discerning listeners. Agoura podcast offer a rich intellectual array of podcasts for listeners of all tastes.
And the topics are as diverse as all of the hosts personalities. However, our pod-casters are unified by the single goal of telling interesting well-researched stories and telling them straight without cut corners. Agendas or spin. One of the podcasts featured on the network is called nit Atlantic conversations about us UK and world politics hosted by Roy field Brown, mid Atlantic looks at politics and current events in Britain and in the U S each show consists of American Ember dish.
Pundants reviewing and commenting on the most important us and British pieces of news that week. Sometimes the show does a deep dive into a particular topic such as the British X speaker of the house. John, Berkow always accessible mid Atlantic lifts the lid on this special relationship between the transatlantic cultural cousins.
So check it out
in the next episode. We'll explore what happened when the burning looting and killing stopped in Greenwood on June 1st. 1921, be sure to check out our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages by searching for black wall street 1921. And make sure you also visit our website black wall street, hyphen 1920 one.com where you can sign up for our newsletter and keep up with all of our episodes.
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