The Chronicles of Oklahoma
Articles Exploring Black History
This page lists recent articles from The Chronicles of Oklahoma relating to Black history in Oklahoma. This list is a work in progress and will be expanded.
Volume 97, No. 3 (Fall 2019)
“An Unflinching Call for Freedom: Clara Luper’s Pedagogy at the Center of Sit-Ins,” by Rachel E. Watson
Clara Luper served on the front lines of the battle to integrate Oklahoma City’s public accommodations. As a teacher and the adviser for the NAACP Youth Council, she taught countless children and teenagers how to demonstrate peacefully as they fought for their civil rights. Rachel E. Watson focuses on Luper’s pedagogy, and how her classroom engagement raised a group of activists calling for freedom.
Prestatehood Muskogee was home to American Indians, African Americans, and white settlers. Four newspapers were established in the town to cater to the different racial groups and political leanings of the citizens. Angela M. Person analyzes the discourse in these four local newspapers, and how that discourse reflected an erosion in African American rights.
Volume 97, No. 2 (Summer 2019)
“West Edwards Days: African Americans in Territorial Edmond,” by Christopher P. Lehman
Before statehood, Edmond was home to a small but vibrant African American neighborhood. African American families saw Oklahoma Territory as a land of opportunity, free from the codified Jim Crow of the surrounding states. As the territory moved toward statehood, however, it became clear that segregation and restrictions on voting rights would come with it. Christopher P. Lehman describes the nearly forgotten African American community centered around West Edwards Street in territorial Edmond.
George McLaurin was admitted to the University of Oklahoma College of Education in 1948, but he was required to sit in an anteroom, segregated from his classmates. Through a close analysis of building diagrams, Eric Lomazoff and Bailie Gregory show the evolution of the classroom that would become the focal point of a landmark US Supreme Court case.
Throughout the nineteenth century, American Indian tribes were removed to Indian Territory. After the Civil War, many African Americans came to Oklahoma and Indian Territories looking for opportunity. In the early twentieth century, the Socialist Party became active in the politics of the newly formed state of Oklahoma. Matt Simmons explores the attitude of the Oklahoma Socialist Party toward these two marginalized groups in Oklahoma, and how party leaders did or did not reach out to them.
While there were no ordinances on the books in Norman, Oklahoma, that precluded African Americans from settling within the city limits, the city remained a “sundown town,” a place where African Americans were not welcome after dark, well into the mid-twentieth century. Michael S. Givel depicts how Norman used extralegal means to maintain its sundown status.
Volume 96, No. 1 (Spring 2018)
“Fitting In and Sitting In: Phillip Henry Porter and Memories of Integration Efforts in Enid, 1955–58,” by Aaron Preston
In the 1950s, efforts to combat segregation in public life were taking shape. When Phillips University in Enid wanted to integrate its student body in 1956, the leadership turned to a local student named Phillip Porter. Aaron Preston recounts the struggle for civil rights in Enid and how students stood on the front lines of the battle both inside and outside of the classroom.
Volume 93, No. 1 (Spring 2015)
“Did Oklahoma African Americans Vote Between 1910 and 1943?,” by R. Darcy
African Americans in Oklahoma in the early twentieth century had to overcome institutional racism in their attempts to be heard at the ballot box. In his analysis of election results, Robert Darcy posits that African Americans voted at a higher rate than could be surmised from the legal obstacles placed before them by the Oklahoma Legislature.
In fall 1874 Presbyterian missionaries Taylor and Mary Ealy moved to Indian Territory to teach Chickasaw freedmen at Fort Arbuckle. By studying Ealy and the context of the period, Ellen Cain explores the freedmen’s struggle for identity in Indian Territory during Reconstruction through the impressions and observations of the Ealys.
Volume 90, No. 4 (Winter 2012–13)
“Unforgotten Trailblazer: Nancy O. Randolph Davis,” by Gloria J. Pollard
In her roles as a student, a teacher, and a NAACP Youth Council sponsor, Nancy O. Randolph Davis fought for equality for African American young people. Her behind-the-scenes work made possible the advancement of Oklahoma’s civil rights movement. Based on conversations with Davis, Gloria J. Pollard has written an insightful biography of this icon of equal education and civil rights.