Tulsa (tŭlˈsə) [key], city (1990 pop. 367,302), seat of Tulsa co., NE Okla., on the Arkansas River east of its junction with the Cimarron; inc. 1898. It became an inland port with the opening (1971) of the McClellan-Kerr Waterway, a 440-mi (708-km) system linking it with the Gulf of Mexico. Tulsa is an important center of the nation's petroleum industry, with refineries and plants that produce petroleum products and related equipment. Although refining functions declined in the late 20th cent., several major oil concerns have their business offices and research laboratories there. The city's many manufactures include air conditioners; asphalt; oil-field, plumbing, and communications equipment; rubber and glass products; metal castings; agricultural chemicals; and power tools. The aerospace industry and banking are also important. An extensive park system and well-planned communities characterize the residential aspect of the city. Tulsa is also a cultural and educational center with a symphony orchestra, opera, and ballet, all of which perform at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center; the Philbrook Museum of Art; and the Gilcrease Museum. The Univ. of Tulsa, Oral Roberts Univ., and campuses of Oklahoma State Univ. and the Univ. of Oklahoma are in the city. Tulsa grew as a cattle-shipping village after the coming of the railroad in 1882 and boomed with the discovery of oil nearby in 1901. In 1921 one of its black districts, Greenwood, was the scene of a notorious race riot by whites.
See J. S. Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race War and Its Legacy (2001).