My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Black Wall Street is a work of historical fiction which builds its story line along the events leading up to the Tulsa race riot of 1921. Unfortunately for what it merits as a matter of history, it is also a most terrible piece of writing. I am generous in offering it two stars on the basis of a documentary value as its only real redeeming quality is how much it makes you hunger to search out a biographical narrative of the events for yourself.
One of the major literary vices that are contained within the text is the repeated utterance of the term “BLACK WALLSTREET” by the characters written just as it is here in all capital letters. It comes across as purposely trite and cheesy resembling Keenan Ivory Wayans oft imitated “Message!” line from “Don’t Be A Menace…” There is also the matter of language in the text which seems a pale affectation of period speech by someone very obviously writing after said period has passed.
Were the book marketed as a literature for children, I might perhaps be more forgiving, but even as a tool for teaching, there is very little fodder for discussion here. All the tropes and stereotypes are thrown into the stew. All white men are racists with bad teeth, big guns and white sheets. Blacks and Jews try to gather and do business in harmony since they are both oppressed. All black people operate for the success and continuity of “BLACK WALLSTREET”.
I stumbled upon this work in some library giveaway box I am sure. It was not a very enjoyable read and I am quite glad that it is over. There are much better books on the subject available.