From Marlin Lavanhar, a Tulsa Minister and Activist: A Series of Cartoons about the Race Massacre

May 13, 2021

On this edition of ST, we're pleased to speak with Marlin Lavanhar, a Unitarian Universalist minister who's been based at All Souls Church here in Tulsa since 2000. A longtime social justice activist and tireless human rights advocate, Lavanhar recently launched a series of editorial cartoons focused on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre -- and on the urgent need for reparations to be conveyed to those directly affected by this vast, tragic, century-old crime. The series -- titled "Is The World On Fire?" -- will offer 31 cartoons in all, with one illustration being released each day throughout the month of May in The Black Wall Street Times (thereby leading up to the 100th anniversary of the massacre). As Lavanhar noted in a short essay when the series first appeared: "The images seek to challenge, disrupt, engage, and inform the public by bringing to the surface truths and perspectives that are rarely discussed in cross-racial conversations. Issues such as the impact of the massacre on children, and the role of religion in the events and their aftermath, become immediate and accessible in a way that leverages the unique capacities of cartooning as a medium of communication."