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The Dreamland Theatre was located in the historic Greenwood District of Tulsa in 1921. It was run by John and Loula Williams and at that time, served as one of the few theaters that catered solely to African American audiences providing live musical entertainment, silent films as well as theatrical revues and seated around 750 individuals.

Williams Dreamland Theatre before the Tulsa Race Riots

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Williams Dreamland Theatre aftermath from the Tulsa Race Riots

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Site of the Williams Dreamland Theatre today

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Before the Tulsa Race Riot in June of 1921, the Williams Dreamland Theatre stood as a source of entertainment where the community could gather and enjoy various theatrical performances as well as silent films. As the Riots broke out however, the theatre became a source of congregation where people assembled in order to try to develop a plan of action. In the aftermath of the riots, the theatre was destroyed along with many other businesses and various locations within the Greenwood community. The theatre was later rebuilt and fully operated providing African-American film entertainment until the family was forced to sell it as a result of the Great Depression. While the theatre no longer exists, its legacy as one of the few fully operating movie theatres owned, ran by, and geared towards African Americans in history still remains.

Butler, Kristin. Black Wall Street: Then and Now, PBS. February 1st 2021. Accessed July 12th 2021.

Grubb, Lauren. Dreamland Theatre, Cinema Treasures. Accessed July 12th 2021.

Black Wall Street then and now: See the difference in 100 years, The Oklahoman. May 26th 2021. Accessed July 12th 2021.

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