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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Tullahassee Manual Labor School
(1553, Alice Robertson Collection, OHS).


Tullahassee is considered the oldest of the surviving All-Black towns of Indian Territory. Located in Wagoner County five miles northwest of Muskogee, Tullahassee is one of more than fifty All-Black towns of Oklahoma and one of thirteen still existing. The roots of the community were planted in 1850 when the Creek Nation opened a school along the ruts of the Texas Road. Near the school, the population of Creek Freedmen increased while the population of Creeks declined. The council transferred the American Indian students to another school and gave Tullahassee to the Freedmen on October 24, 1881. The town was incorporated in 1902 and platted in 1907. A post office was established in 1899 with a Professor Willis serving as the first postmaster. The Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway line ran through the town, helping to attract settlers. Community growth was aided by the Tullahassee Town Site Company, which solicited residents throughout the South. A. J. Mason served as president and L. C. Hardridge as secretary.

In 1916 the African Methodist Episcopal Church established Flipper Davis College, the only private institution for African Americans in the state, at Tullahassee. The college, which occupied the old Tullahassee Mission, closed after the end of the 1935 session. The A. J. Mason Building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NR 85001743). Carter G. Woodson School is listed in the Oklahoma Landmarks Inventory as a resource related to African American history.

Tullahassee's population held steady at nearly 200 from 1920. In 1970 it dropped to 145 residents. In 2000 the town sheltered 106 citizens, and the 2010 census again found 106 people living there. In April 2020 the census counted 95 residents.

Larry O'Dell

Learn More

George Carney, "Historic Resources of Oklahoma's All-Black Towns: A Preservation Profile," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 69 (Summer 1991).

Jimmie Lewis Franklin, Journey Toward Hope: A History of Blacks in Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982).

Arthur Tolson, The Black Oklahomans: A History, 1541–1972 (New Orleans, La.: Edwards Printing Co., 1972).

"Tullahassee," Vertical file, WPA Writers' Project, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Related Resources

A. J. Mason Building, National Register of Historic Places


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Larry O'Dell, “Tullahassee,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=TU002.

Published January 15, 2010
Last updated December 12, 2023

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