The All-Black Towns of Oklahoma - Oklahoma Center for the Humanities

The All-Black Towns of Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Center for the Humanities is excited to host an upcoming conference on The All-Black Towns of Oklahoma, an event featuring seven speakers discussing this important legacy of the state. 

On Saturday, February 18, authors, historians, town and state-level leaders, and other experts will convene to explore the concept of all-black spaces and their role in Oklahoma’s history and future. In addition to examining the foundations of the nearly fifty all-black towns that once spanned the state, the conference will also address the decline of the remaining thirteen historic townships, and their potential for opportunity and growth.   

The conference will be held at the Henry Zarrow Center in the heart of Tulsa’s Arts District, and will accompany a curated exhibit on these fascinating towns.  

Click here to reserve your free ticket.

Conference Schedule

Saturday, February 18 

9:30-10:00am— Light Catered Breakfast

9:50am— Welcome and Land Acknowledgement

10:00-11:00am   Keynote Address by Karla Slocum

  • “The Enduring Allure of Oklahoma’s Black Towns”

11:15am-12:30pm   Panel I “Foundations”

  • Eli Grayson
  • Mayor Keisha Currin: “Struggle and Hope within Tullahassee, the Oldest Historical Black Town in Oklahoma”
  • Quraysh Ali Lansana: “All-Black Towns Along Route 66”

12:30-1:30pm— Catered Lunch

1:30-3:00pm   Panel II Potential”

  • Hannibal Johnson: “Acres of Aspiration: The All-Black Towns in Oklahoma”
  • Mayor Mildred Burkhalter: “Rentiesville: Our Past, Present, and Future” 
  • State Senator Kevin Matthews: “The Oklahoma Civil Rights Trail” 

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The All-Black Towns of Oklahoma exhibit and public lectures have been made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with the Social Science Research Council.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Social Science Research Council.