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BROOKSVILLE.

One of Oklahoma's more than fifty All-Black towns, Brooksville is one of only thirteen still existing at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Located in Pottawatomie County four miles southwest of Tecumseh, Brooksville was established in 1903. Originally the town was named Sewell, after a white doctor who owned much of the surrounding land and who attended the residents. In 1912 the name changed to Brooksville in honor of the first African American in the area, A. R. Brooks, a cotton buyer and farmer. His son, W. M. Brooks, became the first postmaster. In 1906 Rev. Jedson White organized St. John's Baptist Church. Soon afterward, the congregation built a church that still exists. White also promoted the town throughout the South, urging African Americans to settle there. Brooksville had a Santa Fe Railroad station, three hotels, two doctors, and two mills.

In 1924, with the aid of the Rosenwald Fund, a new school was built. Banneker School, under management of W. T. McKenzie, was a rock building of four large rooms, a three-hundred-seat auditorium, a small library, and a well-equipped domestic science room. George W. McLaurin, the first African American graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, taught at the school. After a fire, the original building was replaced by a wooden one that served students until the school closed in 1968. The building then became a community center for the town and stands next to the new city hall. A declining cotton market and the Great Depression made life difficult in Brooksville, as in many Oklahoma communities. Most of the residents departed, but the town survived. It incorporated in October 1972, and the census reported populations of 46 and 69 in 1980 and 1990, respectively. At the turn of the twenty-first century Brooksville had 90 residents, but by 2010 the number had dropped to 63.

Larry O'Dell

See also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, ALL-BLACK TOWNS, FRATERNAL ORDERS–AFRICAN AMERICAN, McLAURIN v. OKLAHOMA STATE REGENTS, ROSENWALD SCHOOLS, SEGREGATION

Bibliography

"Brooksville," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Frontier Lore, 1975 (Shawnee, Okla.: Pottawatomie County Historical Society, 1975).

Shawnee (Oklahoma) Escort, November 18, 1973.

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Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Larry O'Dell, "Brooksville," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed November 24, 2017).

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