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Press Release

June 8, 2015

Contact: Larry O'Dell
Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-6676

Oklahoma History Center presents "Black Towns Then . . . Black Towns Now" Event

Oklahoma City, Okla. — On Tuesday, June 30, the Oklahoma History Center will host an event titled "Black Towns Then ... Black Towns Now,"sponsored by the Coltrane Group. The panel discussion is also the public's last chance to see the Coltrane Group's exhibit, "Colored Memories: Historic Colorized Photos of Life in ‘The Crown Jewel.'"The event is free and the doors open at 6 p.m., with the event beginning at 7 p.m.

The moderator for the panel discussion will be Oklahoma State Representative George Young. Panelists will include a mixture of All-Black Town government representatives and scholars. The scholars include authors Hannibal Johnson and Dr. Linda Reese, Dr. Harold Aldridge and Judge Henrietta Hicks. The participating civic leaders are Grayson Mayor Leon Anderson, Langston Trustee Alonzo Peterson, Rentiesville Mayor Mildred Burkhalter, Taft "Citizens for Progress"Chair Dr. Sam Craig, and Tullahasse Mayor Keisha Gaines-Currin.

The group will discuss the rise of the All-Black Towns in the 19th century and their unique history. The panelists also will talk about the opportunities and challenges that these towns face. The mayors and scholars will share why these villages lost population in the mid-20th century and what is happening now in the towns. This will be an interesting evening for Oklahomans to come and learn about the unique history of Oklahoma's All-Black Towns.

The Coltrane Group/History in Progress was founded by Chief Executive Officer André L. Head and his wife, Chief Operating Officer Jessilyn Hall-Head, with the mission of preserving the heritage and rich legacy of Oklahoma's historic All-Black Towns. Head also has produced and directed a series of documentaries on the All-Black Towns of Oklahoma, another project about which they are extremely passionate. For detailed information about the "Colored Memories"exhibit and the endeavors of the Coltrane Group, contact the group at 405-568-7700 or andreh@thecoltranegroup.org.

The Oklahoma History Center, located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr. in Oklahoma City, is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 31 museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications, the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.

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