Former Oklahoma State Legislator Kevin Cox Donates Black Caucus Collection to OHS
Former Oklahoma State Legislator Kevin Cox donated his entire Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus collection to the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). Representative Cox served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1980 to 2004. He served 24 years, longer than any other African American elected official in Oklahoma. His collection consists of photos of early Black Caucus members, including rare photos of Representative Freddie Williams, actors Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard, Miss America Vanessa Williams, and Governor Lawrence Douglas Wilder of Virginia, the first African American elected governor since Reconstruction. The Caucus often enlisted high-profile individuals to draw attention to legislative issues.
Cox's collection documents the legislative agenda that was supported individually and collectively by the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus. It includes manuscript items and newspaper clippings related to saving or supporting Langston University, affirmative action, hate crimes, the commission to study the Tulsa Race Riot, the McCabe Scholarship Program, the Promise Program and minority appointments to state boards and commissions just to name a few. Manuscript items also include letters, emails, reports, souvenir programs and photos.
"Documenting the legislative priorities of Oklahoma's early African American legislators will be a treasure trove for future historians. Imagine if only we had the same for the first African American officials, Territorial Representatives Green I. Currin and David Wallace or State Representative Albert Hamlin," said Dr. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
OHS Administrative Programs Officer Bruce Fisher said that the Oklahoma Historical Society recognizes that time is a critical factor in saving and preserving important artifacts, manuscripts and other documents. Much may already be lost or stashed away in places environmentally harmful. In other instances, even immediate family members may not see these historical treasures as much more than old photos and papers as they seem to lose their significance over time. Too much of our history has been lost to the dumpsters and landfills in this manner.