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2021 Oklahoma History Conference
“Perspectives in History”

Thursday, April 22, and Friday, April 23, 2021
The 2021 Oklahoma History Conference is going virtual! Join us April 22–23 as scholars, students, historians, and authors from across the state and country share the history and culture of Oklahoma. This year’s lineup will include eleven live sessions, two programs, and eleven on-demand sessions. The entire conference will be online, including a special tribute to the late Steve Ripley from the Red Dirt Rangers and the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony. We are proud to announce the conference keynote speaker will be celebrated poet, author, and musician Joy Harjo.

Download the Conference Program (PDF)

Everything is Online
We invite you to join us online! All sessions and programs will be virtual and there are no in-person events at this year’s conference.

Conference Theme
The 2021 theme is “Perspectives in History.” This theme was designed to encourage presentations sharing the story of underrepresented groups, lesser-known topics, and new points of view.

Professional Development
This year we have expanded conference offerings to include professional development sessions. These presentations will be of particular interest to museum and archive professionals, historical and genealogical societies, students, and educators. Look for this symbol   indicating professional development sessions.

We are pleased to announce that the 2021 conference is free to the public, but preregistration is required.

Register Now

Conference Schedule At-A-Glance

To learn more about the sessions and speakers, please see the session descriptions page.

Live Sessions and Programs

Sessions and programs are listed in central time.

Thursday, April 22

9:30–9:50 a.m. Welcome
Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) Executive Director Trait Thompson
10–10:50 a.m. “Endurance Strategies: Indigenous People in Central Oklahoma During the ‘Orgy of Exploitation’”
John Truden, history doctoral graduate student, University of Oklahoma
11–11:50 a.m. “The Tulsa Council of Defense v. Andrew J. Smitherman”
Randy Hopkins, attorney (retired)
Noon–12:50 p.m. Keynote Speaker Joy Harjo
Poet, author, and musician Joy Harjo is the US Poet Laureate. A Muscogee (Creek) citizen, she is the first American Indian to hold the title and the second person to serve three terms.
1–1:50 p.m. “Project VOICE: Visions of Inclusion, Culture, and Empathy”
Savanna Payne and Jamie Hinds Blank, English language learner instructional facilitators, Oklahoma City Public Schools
2–2:50 p.m. “Good, Better, and Best Practices for Collections Care”
OHS staff Jeff Briley, deputy director of the Oklahoma History Center; Mallory Covington, CA, archival collections manager; Jennifer Holt, curator at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum; and Karen Whitecotton, director of collections for OKPOP
3–3:50 p.m.

“Developing a Strategic Plan for Your Historical Organization”
Kathy Dickson, director of Museums and Historic Sites Division, OHS

7 p.m. Red Dirt Rangers Musical Tribute to Steve Ripley

Friday, April 23

9–9:50 a.m. “The Misremembered ‘Uncle’ Wallace and ‘Aunt’ Minerva: Establishing Father-Daughter Kinship”
Shelby Ward, attorney and genealogist
10–10:50 a.m.

“Historical Considerations in the Creek Nation Reservation Cases”
Susan Work, attorney and author

11–11:50 a.m.

“The Ghosts of Creek County: Revisiting Oil and Indigenous Sovereignty”
Russell Cobb, author and associate professor, University of Alberta

Noon–12:50 p.m.

“A Conversation with Hannibal B. Johnson: The Tulsa Race Massacre and Greenwood Rising”
Hannibal B. Johnson, esquire, is the chair of the Education Committee for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission and local curator of Greenwood Rising.

1 p.m. Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony

Live sessions will be available at a specific time, and the virtual audience will have the opportunity to ask the speaker questions via the online chat.

The musical tribute to Steve Ripley and Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony are prerecorded programs, which will be available to watch at the time listed.

On-Demand Sessions

“Acquisitions as Activism: Preserving and Celebrating Creative and Cultural Legacies Through Collection Development”
Todd Fuller, curator, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma

“A Disgraceful Blot: Oklahoma Territory and the Victorian Divorce Crisis”
Jennifer Lynch, instructor, University of Central Oklahoma

“Finding Isaac Rogers”
Nicka Sewell-Smith, genealogist

“Fluid Resistance: A Queer Analysis of Art and Politics in Oklahoma”
B Hinesley and Arlowe Matthews, public history graduate students; Macy Jennings and Jacie Earwood, art history graduate students; and moderator Dr. Laura Arata, assistant professor, history department; all of Oklahoma State University

“The Legend of Cora Youngblood: Oklahoma’s Forgotten Prodigy”
James P. Gregory Jr., doctoral graduate student, University of Oklahoma

“A Mexican Oklahoman History”
Jorge Luis Chavez, public history graduate student, Oklahoma State University, and assistant curator of education, Oklahoma History Center, OHS

“Telling the Stories of Creek Allottees of Tvlse”
Tatianna Duncan, founder of The Lucinda Hickory Research Institute, with Annette Arkeketa, Russell Cobb, J. D. Colbert, Deanalisa Jones, and Gano Perez Jr.

“Uncovering Oral History Perspectives in Oklahoma”
Karen Neurohr, professor, Oklahoma Oral History Research Program, Oklahoma State University; and Mallory Covington, CA, archival collections manager, OHS

“Washita Love Child: The Life and Times of Jesse Ed Davis”
Douglas K. Miller, author and assistant professor, history department, Oklahoma State University

“William Faulkner Was Right: Why How We Talk About History Matters”
Dr. Amber J. Godwin, assistant clinical professor, Sam Houston State University

“Women of Washita”
Kate Roesch, education ranger, Washita Battlefield National Historic Site

On-demand sessions will be available online beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 22.

Conference attendees can watch these sessions at their convenience. Videos will be available throughout the entire conference.

Thank You to Our Supporters

Oklahoma Arts Council


Ann & Burns Hargis

Judge Ralph &
Barbara Thompson

James R. Waldo
Mabrey Bank

Dr. Deena K. Fisher

Neal Leader

Muscogee (Creek) Nation

Sharpe House

OU Press
Preservation Oklahoma

Karen Keith

Dan Lawrence

This program is sponsored in part by Oklahoma Humanities (OH) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of OH or NEH.