Tulsa History

"The Outsiders" -- both the well-known coming-of-age novel by S.E. Hinton and the likewise-titled 1983 film by Francis Ford Coppola -- certainly looms large in the cultural history of this community. On today's edition of StudioTulsa, we meet the California-based, Oklahoma-born grade school librarian who, back in 1980, encouraged her students to create a petition asking Coppola to make the film. Yes, this is really how "The Outsiders" got on the path from beloved young-adult book to cult-classic movie. That librarian is Jo Ellen Misakian.

Our guest is Carlos Moreno, a Tulsa-based graphic designer, researcher, and freelance writer who originally hails from California, and who's been living and working in Tulsa since the 1990s. Moreno joins us to discuss his new book, "The Victory of Greenwood." This volume presents a novel and engrossing history of Tulsa's Greenwood community by offering more than 20 different biographical portraits of such key "Black Wall Street" figures as John and Loula Williams, B.C. Franklin, the Rev. Ben H. Hill, Edwin McCabe, George Monroe, and various others.

On this edition of ST, we speak with our friend and former colleague, Steve Clem, who recently retired from Public Radio Tulsa, and Maggie Brown, a curator at the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum. They're the co-authors of "Tulsa Movie Theaters," a book of photographs just now appearing in the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing.

Library of Congress (American National Red Cross Photograph Collection)

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 injured souls, claimed lives, ruined property, and demolished an entire community. Indeed, the damage suffered by the Black citizens of Greenwood took on many forms -- and this suffering went on for decades. Is it possible even to calculate the economic loss that Greenwood endured due to this terrible tragedy, and if so, how could such a tally be arrived at? As the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre approaches, many are wondering about these questions. Our guest is Jason Long, an economic historian at Wheaton College.

On this edition of ST, we are discussing a book that first appeared as a small, privately-printed volume back in 1923 -- it's an extremely important, frequently cited, and quite special book in that it offers a rare, first-hand account of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Written by one Mary Parrish, a journalist and teacher, the book is "The Nation Must Awake: My Witness to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921." In the opening pages of the text, we learn that Parrish was reading in her home in Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood when the massacre began on the evening of May 31, 1921.

We're pleased to speak once again with the University of Michigan-based historian and bestselling author, Scott Ellsworth, whose books include "The Secret Game," "The World Beneath Their Feet," and "Death in a Promised Land," the last-named being his account of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, a pioneering text which first appeared in the 1980s. Originally from Tulsa, Ellsworth has just published an all-important follow-up to "Death in a Promised Land," which he tells us about.

Our guest is Karlos K. Hill, Associate Professor and Chair of the Clara Luper Department of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He joins us to discuss his unsettling and comprehensive new book, "The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: A Photographic History." It's a vast gathering of photographs that were taken before, during, and after the massacre, mostly by white photographers.

Illustration by Marlin Lavanhar (via The Black Wall Street Times)

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.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we listen back our discussion from 1997 with the bestselling author and educator Jewell Parker Rhodes. At that time, we spoke with Rhodes about her then-new novel, "Magic City." This book was among the first works of published fiction to depict the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. A memorable and well-crafted novel of racism, vigilantism, and injustice, "Magic City" is now appearing in a new edition that includes a recently-composed afterword from by author.

Our guests on StudioTulsa are the Tulsa-based artists, community advocates, and avid cyclists Shane Darwent and Kolby Ari. They are the co-presenters of Cycling the Gap, a three-part series of guided, community-minded bike rides here in Tulsa that will take place on May 1st, 8th, and 15th. The ride scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday the 1st) will focus on Sustainability. The following two rides -- happening on the following two Saturdays -- will look at matters of Infrastructure and Black Art & Commerce.

We're pleased to welcome Quraysh Ali Lansana back to StudioTulsa; the writer, poet, educator, and Tulsa Artist Fellow joins us to discuss his newest book. That volume, "Opal's Greenwood Oasis," is a children's book for which he is the co-author. Aimed at elementary-school readers, the book profiles one Opal Brown, who takes her very first "on her own" bike ride throughout her home neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Our guest on ST is Susan Neal, the Executive Director of Gilcrease Museum and the Helmerich Center for American Research here in Tulsa. Gilcrease Museum, as was recently announced, will be closing its doors at the end of its business day on July 4th. The museum's current structure will then be demolished, with construction of a new museum (on the same site) to follow. As Neal explains, construction of the new museum facility will begin in early 2022 and is expected to take 2 or 3 years. (More details are posted here.)

(Note: This interview originally aired last summer.) We're pleased to welcome our friend John Wooley back to StudioTulsa. A longtime Tulsa-based music and pop-culture writer -- and the host, of course, of the popular Swing on This program, heard every Saturday night here on KWGS -- Wooley is the co-author, along with Brett Bingham, of a new book about the historic Cain's Ballroom.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Carolyn Sickles, the Executive Director of Tulsa Artist Fellowship, or TAF, which is an arts-and-community-focused project of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. The TAF recently announced that it has given 22 of its fellows an Arts Integration Award for 2020-2021, which is meant to help these artists further their involvement with (and presence within) the Tulsa community via new works, new series, and so on. The award includes a $25,000 stipend, $10,000 in project resources, and also free living and work spaces.

The poet Dick Gallup, who grew up in Tulsa and came to prominence in the New York City literary scene of the 1960s and '70s alongside his friends and fellow Tulsans Ron Padgett, Joe Brainard, and Ted Berrigan, died last month at his home in San Francisco. He was 79. Gallup was a part of the so-called "New York School" of poets, publishing books of poetry and a play. He taught writing workshops, gave numerous readings, and taught poetry writing to schoolchildren in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Colorado, Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

WGBH Boston

Our guest on ST is the documentary filmmaker, Sam Pollard, who directed "Goin' Back to T-Town." This remarkable film, which dates from the early 1990s, tells the then-nearly-forgotten-but-now-familiar story of Greenwood, the "Black Wall Street" neighborhood in Tulsa which prospered during the early 20th century, and which was all but erased in 1921 by one of the worst race-driven massacres in U.S. history. "Goin' Back to T-Town" will be shown next week (on Monday the 8th) on PBS television.

Photo by Schnake Turnbo Frank.

The upcoming 2020 Homecoming Weekend here at the University of Tulsa will be, unfortuneately, quite different this time around, given the pandemic. But one Homecoming tradition that will continue is the designation and celebration of the annual J. Paschal Twyman Award. Our guest is the distinguished recipient of that award for this year, Steve Turnbo. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Tulsa in 1967, Mr.

Gardiner Gallery of Art at Oklahoma State University / OSU DEPARTMENT OF ART, GRAPHIC DESIGN, AND ART HISTORY

Who actually designed Tulsa's iconic Boston Avenue Methodist Church, that widely celebrated art deco structure within the city's skyline which was completed in 1929? Many architecture experts will tell you it was the well-known Tulsa architect Bruce Goff...but was it? Our guest on ST is Teresa Holder, the manager of the Gardiner Gallery at OSU in Stillwater.

We're pleased to welcome the Tulsa-based attorney, historian, and author Hannibal B. Johnson back to StudioTulsa. An active and well-respected expert on matters of diversity, inclusion, and social justice, Johnson is also the education chair for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission. He joins us to discuss his newest book, "Black Wall Street 100: An American City Grapples With Its Historical Racial Trauma." As was noted of this volume by Dr.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, just ahead of the August 25th mayoral, city auditor, and City Council election, we conclude our series of conversations with candidates seeking the office of Tulsa mayor. Our guest is Mayor GT Bynum, who's running for a second term at the helm in City Hall. As noted at the Mayor's campaign website: "The globally competitive and globally renowned Tulsa of today looks quite a bit different than it did four years ago.

On this edition of ST, we continue our series of conversations with candidates seeking the office of Tulsa mayor. Our guest today is Ty Walker, who owns and operates Tulsa's well-known Wanda J's Next Generation Restaurant. Mr. Walker was born and raised in North Tulsa; he is the father of six daughters, a 1983 graduate of McLain High School, and a U.S. Navy Veteran who served during Desert Storm. Further, per the Walker campaign website: "Tulsa faces a world of economic issues. While we are maintaining as a city, we are not growing.

We're pleased to welcome our friend John Wooley back to StudioTulsa. A longtime Tulsa-based music and pop-culture writer -- and the host, of course, of the popular Swing on This program, heard every Saturday night here on KWGS -- Wooley is the co-author, along with Brett Bingham, of a new book about the historic Cain's Ballroom.

Tulsa's John Hope Franklin Center will soon present the 11th Annual Reconciliation in America National Symposium, from May 27th through June 2nd. Given the pandemic, the symposium this year will happen online, and it will carry the theme of "Reconciliation and Technology: Neutral Resources for Social Good." This theme, per the John Hope Franklin Center website, "unites us as change agents, researchers of effective practices, and peacemakers in the intentional journey of reconciliation.

 

This episode of FBO -- our second -- aired on March 19 and 20, 2020.

On this edition of ST, we learn about Tulsa Remote, the talent-recruitment initiative of George Kaiser Family Foundation that's now in its second year -- and that has received, since it began, more than 10,000 applications from all over the globe (and all over the nation). Our guest is Tulsa native Aaron Bolzle, the executive director of this increasingly popular program.

Our debut epiosde! Aired on February 20 and 21, 2020.

With the 2020 presidential race now well underway, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa is seeking out women in northeastern Oklahoma who could be president. The League will honor 10 such women from our community -- all of them dedicated to leadership and community service, with nominations presently being taken -- at its upcoming Madam President event (happening on May 5; more info at this link).

Our guest is Susan Neal, Executive Director of Gilcrease Museum, which recently announced that its current facility will be not just refurbished or remodeled but, indeed, entirely rebuilt. The museum announced over the weekend that its current building will be demolished, and that a new structure will be erected in its place. As Neal expalins, Gilcrease has been added to -- and/or expanded upon -- several times over the years. The oldest parts of the museum date back to 1913; the newest building in the Gilcrease complex dates from the 1980s.

Samella Lewis "Field"
Gregory Staley

The Gilcrease Museum opened a new exhibition of African-American art collected by two ordinary people who created an extraordinary collection of artwork. Kerry Davis was a postman, and his wife, Betty, was a local television producer, but the two collected close to 300 works by black artists ranging from local artists in their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, to internationally known artists, like Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Sam Gilliam, Elizabeth Catlett, Alma Thomas, and Norman Lewis.

Our guest on ST is Randy Krehbiel, who's been a reporter for The Tulsa World since 1979 and now covers political and governmental affairs for that paper. He joins us to discuss his new book, "Tulsa, 1921: Reporting a Massacre." In this deeply-researched work, Krehbiel studies local newspaper accounts in order to understand the mindset and motivations of Tulsa's citizens (both black and white) at the time of this tragedy.

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