Tulsa Race Riot

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.

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 ST, we speak with the Tulsa-based playwright Ilan Kozlowski, whose two-act dramatic comedy, "Shades of White" will be staged at the Tulsa PAC on June 22nd and 23rd. As noted of this work at the Tulsa PAC website: "Set in Tulsa in 1996 -- the 75th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre -- [this play] explores the relationships between an Israeli immigrant and a former member of the Ku Klux Klan and their wives. Narrow-minded Dr. Whitehill and his crone of a wife, Birdie, are set in their miserable ways until Dr.

(Note: This interview originally aired in January.) For a number of different -- and often unsettling -- reasons, issues of race and racism have by now come into focus in American life in a pervasive manner that we, as a society, have not seen in decades. Or maybe, actually, we as a nation have never been as racially aware, or as racially alert, as we are at this moment. Thus we're discussing an important textbook in this regard; "Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice" first appeared back in the 1990s, and it has just been published in a new (fourth) edition.

On this edition of ST, an interesting discussion with Hannibal B. Johnson, the Tulsa-based attorney, local historian, and prolific author. He joins us to talk about his newest book, which is just out: "The Sawners of Chandler: A Pioneering Power Couple in Pre-Civil Rights Oklahoma." As is noted of this compelling and eye-opening book at Mr.

Photo by Don Thompson

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we chat with the noted photographer Don Thompson, who's been documenting the people and places of north Tulsa for more than 40 years now. His photos have been shown at local galleries, are on permanent display at OSU-Tulsa, and were recently added to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

For a number of different (and often unsettling) reasons, issues of race and racism have by now come into focus in American life in a pervasive manner that we, as a society, have not seen in decades. Or maybe, actually, we as a nation have never been as racially aware -- or alert -- as we are at this moment.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Herb Boyd, an award-winning journalist and historian who's also the author of several books on black history and activism, including biographies of James Baldwin and Sugar Ray Robinson; his latest book is a remarkable 300-year history of African-American life and politics in his hometown of Detroit. Boyd, who now teaches at the City College of New York, will be giving a free-to-the-public lecture tonight, the 12th, at 7pm here at TU.

On this edition of ST, we welcome the Tulsa-based author Jennifer Latham back to our show. Her recently published YA novel, "Dreamland Burning," is a suspenseful narrative about the Tulsa Race Riot. As was noted of this book in an appreciative review from School Library Journal: "Latham follows up 'Scarlett Undercover' with a rich work that links past and present in a tale that explores racial prejudice. After the remains of a skeleton are found in her Tulsa, OK, backyard, 17-year-old Rowan Chase becomes consumed with finding out the story behind the death.

What can American motion pictures tell us about the American South, and what can the South tell us about the movies? Our guest is Robert Jackson, an Associate Professor of English here at the University of Tulsa.

On this edition of ST, we welcome the award-winning Oklahoma writer Rilla Askew back to our show. Her new book, just out, is her first-ever nonfiction volume; it's a collection of nine linked essays entitled "Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place." In this timely and reflective work, she argues that the State of Oklahoma -- whether we are talking about police violence, gun culture, race relations, secret history, religious fervor, spellbinding landscapes, or brutal weather -- is actually a "microcosm" of the United States.

We speak by phone with the Emmy Award-winning, Cincinnati-based documentary filmmaker Rachel Lyon, whose films have appeared on CNN, PBS, BBC, the History Channel, and elsewhere. Lyon's newest film, "Hate Crimes in the Heartland," will be screened here in Tulsa on Thursday the 5th at 5:30pm; this screening is part of a free-to-the-public panel discussion happening at the Perkins Auditorium on the OU-Tulsa campus (at 41st and Yale).

File Photo

On this edition of ST, we welcome two members of the staff at the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum: Michelle Place is the Executive Director, and Ian D. Swart is the Archivist and Curator of Collections. Both are with us to talk about a recently created app from the Tulsa Historical Society, which is based on what's far and away the most-asked-about historical event at the THS: the Tulsa Race Riot.

On this installment on ST, we chat with Steve Gerkin, who is originally from Iowa, has lived in Tulsa for more than 35 years, retired from his general dentistry practice in 2010, and has written a number of interesting articles for This Land Press about little-known aspects of Tulsa-area history. Gerkin has gathered several of these articles into a book, "Hidden History of Tulsa," which has just been published.