On Film: Oklahoma's African-American Communities In The Twenties

greenwood street

The Solomon Sir Jones film collection is available online from Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The collection consists of 29 silent black and white films that document  African-American communities in Oklahoma from 1924 to 1928.

Solomon Sir Jones was a Baptist minister, a businessman, and an amateur filmmaker. Jones was born in Tennessee to former slaves and grew up in the South before moving to Oklahoma in 1889. Jones became an influential Baptist minister, building and pastoring fifteen churches. He was head of the Boyd Faction of Negro Baptists in America and was a successful businessman.

Jones filmed Oklahoma residents in their homes, in the businesses that they owned, and during their social, school, and church activities. The films document several Oklahoma communities, including Muskogee, Okmulgee, Tulsa, Wewoka, Bristow and Taft.

Tulsa footage can be found in at least five of the films (film two, film eighteen, film twenty, film twenty-seven, and film twenty- eight) and includes several shots of the Greenwood area.

(Thanks, Paul!)