Tulsa History

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.

Our guest is the Tulsa-based author Hunter Howe Cates, who tells us about his new book, "Oklahoma's Atticus." It's a work of biography/history that profiles his own grandfather, Tulsa County public defender and Creek tribal member Elliott Howe. Howe, as we learn, was closely involved in the investigation and trial of a Tulsa murder case that made national news back in the early 1950s. On Nov. 7th, Cates will do a free-to-the-public reading and signing in connection with this work at Magic City Books.

Family of Bob Gregory

Bob Gregory died earlier this week of natural causes. He was 88. A longtime presence on Tulsa radio and television, Gregory started at KTUL Radio in 1960, after working at stations in Arkansas and Colorado. His pioneering career in broadcasting began in his late teens, in the early 1950s, immediately after service in the Army.

Many of us living here in Oklahoma -- and indeed, living all over the nation -- are today both pleased and proud to affirm that Joy Harjo, the much-celebrated, 68-year-old writer and musician based in Tulsa, was recently named by the Library of Congress as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, Harjo is the first Native person to be selected for this honorable role. On this edition of StudioTulsa, we listen back to a conversation that we aired with Harjo in 2012, when her well-regarded memoir, "Crazy Brave," had just appeared.

(Note: This interview first aired last October.) As a young black man, RJ Young grew up with a healthy distrust of guns, but when he married into a family deeply immersed in America's gun culture, he knew he would have to learn about them -- at least, to a certain degree. Today, the Tulsa-based Young (who works as a sports-radio host) is a certified NRA pistol instructor...yet he doesn't carry a gun.

On this edition of ST, we're talking about two newly-opened photography shows, both on view in Tulsa at the Philbrook Downtown space through November 10th of this year. One exhibit documents a forgotten people; the other, a forgotten landscape.

The Tulsa-based John Hope Franklin Center will soon present its tenth-annual Reconciliation in America National Symposium, and the theme for this year's event is "Civic Engagement and Reconciliation: The Survival of Democracy." The symposium will happen from May 29th through the 31st, and the keynote speaker will be Kenneth B. Morris -- the great-great-great-grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great-great-grandson of Booker T.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the acclaimed poet and writing instructor Quraysh Ali Lansana (born 1964 in Enid, Oklahoma). Now based in Tulsa and recently named a Tulsa Artist Fellow, Lansana has published several books over the years: poetry collections, children's books, edited or co-edited anthologies, textbooks, etc. Long based in Chicago, and greatly influenced by the African-American cultural, social, and political life of that city -- and more generally, by the Black Arts Movement in American life and letters -- Lansana has a new book out.

Gilcrease Museum

Our guest is Susan Neal, the executive director of Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa. It was recently announced that Gilcrease is now gathering applications from architectural firms seeking to execute the renovation, redesign, and expansion of the museum.

Mayfest -- the downtown Tulsa celebration that's been a spring highlight in our community since the 1970s -- is scheduled this year for May 17th, 18th,and 19th. And as we learn on today's ST, big changes are planned. Our guest is the executive director of Mayfest, Heather Pingry, who tells us that the festival is moving to the Tulsa Arts District (which is located a bit further north of its original location). Pingry adds that this move will also help to fill the gap left by the closure of the Blue Dome Arts Festival.

Our guest is Terrence Moore, a widely acclaimed photographer who's been shooting images along Route 66 for 40+ years. He tells us about his new book, "66 on 66," which gathers his finest images culled from the many hundreds he's made over the years of "the Mother Road." This book, with a corresponding text by local historian and author Michael Wallis, is just being published, and both Moore and Wallis will appear at a Magic City Books signing here in Tulsa on Friday the 18th. Details are posted here.

Our guest is James Wagner, the Chief of Performance Strategy and Innovation for the City of Tulsa. He leads a team in Mayor Bynum's office that aims to use data both effectively and intelligently in order to reach goals, remove barriers, find solutions, and foster community throughout Tulsa. Wagner joins us to discuss the results of a newly announced data-driven study that Tulsa has completed with the aid of the Gallup polling organization.

Our guest on ST is the locally based photographer and writer, Rhys Martin, who joins us to discuss his new book: "Lost Restaurants of Tulsa." The book is just out, and it reveals the histories of dozens of restaurants from T-Town's past -- family sagas, culinary wonders, beloved diners, edge-of-town favorites, popular hang-outs, and more. It's a book that's sure to appeal to those who can lip-smackingly recall the likes of Pennington's, Shotgun Sam's, Villa Venice, The Golden Drumstick, The Razor Clam, St. Michael's Alley, The Louisiane, et al.

Photo by KWGS News

Our guest is State Senator Kevin Matthews, who recently held a press conference to announce that the name of the 1921 Race Riot Commission has been officially changed to the 1921 Race Massacre Commission. As Matthews, who chairs this Commission, noted at the conference: "The fact that it was called a riot was one of the reasons given for turning down insurance claims, and it has been offensive to many in the affected area for 97 years.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we get to know Ricco Wright, who owns and operates the nonprofit Black Wall Street Gallery, a recently created art space on Greenwood Avenue. After Wright graduated from Union High School, he studied mathematics as a Bill Gates Scholar at Langston University. Thereafter he earned a doctorate in math at Columbia University, after which he lived and worked in New York City for a decade. As Wright tells us, his own passion for the arts -- visual, musical, verbal, and otherwise -- flourished considerably while he was based in NYC.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the City of Tulsa's just-announced plan to "build a resilient and welcoming city that embraces immigrants and fosters opportunity for all." Our guest is Christina da Silva, the City's Director of Community Development & Policy, who just last week unveiled (alongside Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum) the so-called New Tulsans Initiative.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to our April 2017 chat with David Grann, the bestselling author and staff writer at The New Yorker Magazine, about his book, "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI." As was noted of this book by a critic writing for Time: "Nearly 100 years ago, the Osage tribe of Oklahoma were thought to be the wealthiest people per capita in the world, thanks to their oil-rich reservation, kindly sold back to them by the federal government that had snatched it away.

Our guest is Tony Moore, Director of the Gathering Place, the greatly anticipated and privately funded public park that will open alongside the Arkansas River here in Tulsa on Saturday, September 8th. Moore brings us up to speed on what this massive and very special space -- the ground for which was broken back in 2014 -- will have to offer all of the people of Greater Tulsa. Per the Gathering Place website: "The next chapter is filled with excitement as we welcome our first guests....

On this edition of ST, we learn about the City of Tulsa's in-depth and multifaceted efforts to address issues of resilience, equity, and racial disparity across various demographic and geographic sections of our community. Our guest is DeVon Douglass, who was recently appointed by Mayor G.T. Bynum as Tulsa's Chief Resilience Officer. Before this appointment, Douglass served as the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Policy Analyst for the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

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