Note: This is the ninth installment of WCBS 880’s Black History Month series. For other articles, click here.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma — a prosperous black-owned business district — was destroyed and some 300 blacks were killed by white mobs in the Tulsa race riot of 1921.

Olivia Hooker, whose father owned a department store, was just 6 years old.

“We don’t call it a riot,” Hooker, who went on to become the first black woman to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard, told WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving. “We call it a disaster.”

The unrest began after a young black man was accused of grabbing the arm of a young white woman. She didn’t press charges, but white Tulsa called it an assault.

“People thought this is the thing we’ve been waiting for to destroy this economy and the dollars being turned over 10 times, instead of coming downtown,” said Hooker, who celebrated her 100th birthday Thursday.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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