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Press Release

April 12, 2021

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

Oklahoma History Conference to feature Joy Harjo, Hannibal Johnson and the Red Dirt Rangers

OKLAHOMA CITY — Join the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) for the 2021 Oklahoma History Conference, a virtual conference scheduled for April 22–23. This year’s theme, “Perspectives in History,” was designed to encourage presentations sharing the stories of underrepresented groups, lesser-known topics and new points of view. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with 11 live sessions, 11 on-demand sessions and 2 special programs. Included in the live sessions is a keynote address by US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. The conference is free to the public, but preregistration is required. Please visit www.okhistory.org/conference for a full schedule and to register. This event has been made possible through a grant from Oklahoma Humanities (OH).

The OHS is pleased to welcome keynote speaker Joy Harjo on Thursday, April 22, at noon. In 2019 Harjo, a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, was appointed the 23rd US Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold the position. She has written nine books of poetry and a memoir, “Crazy Brave.” Harjo has won numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation for Lifetime Achievement. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. This session is supported in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Oklahoma and the National Endowment for the Arts.

During the conference historians, scholars, genealogists and museum professionals will speak on a broad range of Oklahoma topics and professional development subjects. Author and attorney Hannibal Johnson will discuss the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the current commission’s plans to memorialize the event. Johnson chairs the Education Committee for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. He is leading the research efforts for the new Greenwood Rising Museum.

Also included in the conference will be the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony, as well as a special musical performance by the Red Dirt Rangers in honor of the late Steve Ripley, a renowned musician and 2020 inductee into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame. Ripley was a pioneer in Red Dirt music, a guitarist for JJ Cale and Bob Dylan, a founder of the band The Tractors, a renowned recording engineer and a music historian. The Red Dirt Rangers, who have been making music since 1988, worked closely with Ripley.

The 2021 Oklahoma History Conference is made possible by generous supporters, including the Oklahoma Arts Council, BancFirst, Oklahoma Humanities, Ann and Burns Hargis, James R. Waldo, Judge Ralph and Barbara Thompson, Mabrey Bank, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Dr. Deena K. Fisher, Neal Leader, University of Oklahoma Press, Preservation Oklahoma, Sharpe House, Dan Lawrence and Karen Keith.

For more information and to register, visit www.okhistory.org/conference, or contact Larry O’Dell at 405-522-6676 or lodell@okhistory.org or Angela Spindle at 405-522-0317 or aspindle@okhistory.org.

Funding for this conference is provided in part by a grant from Oklahoma Humanities 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.

Oklahoma Humanities is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen communities by helping Oklahomans learn about the human experience, understanding new perspectives, and participate knowledgeably in civic life through humanities disciplines such as history, literature, film studies, art criticism and philosophy. As the state partner for the National Endowment for the Humanities, OH provides a free educational magazine, Smithsonian Institution exhibits, reading and discussion groups, and other cultural opportunities for Oklahomans of all ages. OH engages people in their own communities, stimulating discussion and helping them explore the wider world of human experience.

The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The agency’s mission is to lead in the advancement of Oklahoma’s thriving arts industry. The Oklahoma Arts Council provides approximately 350 grants to nearly 200 organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state’s arts and cultural industry, and manages the art collections at the Oklahoma State Capitol. More information is available at arts.ok.gov.

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 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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