Bobby Eaton Sr.

Bobby Eaton Sr. was honored with a surprise event to announce the contribution of historic family pieces to Greenwood Rising.

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission recently honored Bobby "Poppa E" Eaton Sr. with a surprise event at Black Wall Street Liquid Lounge.

Eaton's father, Joseph, ran a grocery store and then a barber shop that existed during the heyday of Black Wall Street. It was a place for the community to gather and share stories, often around a classic Coca-Cola vending machine.

The Commission acquired one of the original barbershop chairs and an antique Coke machine, both of which will be featured in the “Changing Fortunes” area of the Greenwood Rising History Center, opening in 2021.

According to the Black Wall Street Times, Eaton was one of the first of many Tulsans arrested in the 1960s for protesting for integration of a whites-only Tulsa shopping center. He continued to pour his heart into the civil rights movement and inspire others to do the same.

At the Saturday event, community members spoke about the positive impact Eaton has had on their lives.

Eaton sat in the barber chair and listened to their stories and then said, “It tells me I have not lived in vain. I hope that I can continue to do things that I like doing, and that is to give all I have.”

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