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Playlist: Black History Month Content from This Land Press

Compiled By: This Land Press

Attorney B.C. Franklin (right) with fellow lawyer I.H. Sears (left) and secretary Effie Thompson in a tent that functioned as their law office following the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. Credit: The Beryl Ford Collection at the Tulsa City-County Library
Image by: The Beryl Ford Collection at the Tulsa City-County Library 
Attorney B.C. Franklin (right) with fellow lawyer I.H. Sears (left) and secretary Effie Thompson in a tent that functioned as their law office following the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.

This playlist captures the experiences of black individuals living in and passing through Tulsa, Oklahoma. John Franklin, son of legendary black historian John Hope Franklin, remembers his grandfather's survival of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (track 1). Gordy Ryan shares his belief - as the first Caucasian drummer to play with Babatunde Olatunji: Drums of Passion - that music can transcend discrimination (track 4). Rufus Newsome, a black farmer, tells how he learned to love the earth as a weed chopper in Mississippi and Arkansas (track 2) and Mary McAnally, an older white woman, recounts organizing a freedom bus from Oklahoma to Montgomery, Ala. during the Civil Rights Movement (track 3). In addition, you'll hear collaborative readings of two poems (tracks 5 & 6). Hide full description

This playlist captures the experiences of black individuals living in and passing through Tulsa, Oklahoma. John Franklin, son of legendary black historian John Hope Franklin, remembers his grandfather's survival of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (track 1). Gordy Ryan shares his belief - as the first Caucasian drummer to play with Babatunde Olatunji: Drums of Passion - that music can transcend discrimination (track 4). Rufus Newsome, a black farmer, tells how he learned to love the earth as a weed chopper in Mississippi and Arkansas (track 2) and Mary McAnally, an older white woman, recounts organizing a freedom bus from Oklahoma to Montgomery, Ala. during the Civil Rights Movement (track 3).... Show full description

Tulsa's Slow Integration

From This Land Press | Part of the Just Passing Through series | 04:53

John W. Franklin is the grandson of an African American lawyer who survived the 1921 Tulsa race riot. He’s been coming back to Tulsa since infancy, visiting family in Greenwood. Here, Franklin shares his grandfather’s memories of the race riot, his father’s memories of racism and his own memories of the beginnings of racial healing in our city.

John_franklin_s_grandfather_small John W. Franklin is the grandson of an African American lawyer who survived the 1921 Tulsa race riot. He’s been coming back to Tulsa since infancy, visiting family in Greenwood. Here, Franklin shares his grandfather’s memories of the race riot, his father’s memories of racism and his own memories of the beginnings of racial healing in our city.

From Weed Chopper to Community Farmer

From This Land Press | Part of the Milk and Honey series | 04:12

Rufus Newsome knows what it's like to be poor and hungry and dependent on the land. Growing up in Sunflower County, Mississippi, he chopped weeds out of cotton fields to help his mother pay the bills. To compensate for their inability to buy food from the grocery store, Newsome's family grew gardens filled with greens and potatoes. For them, urban gardening wasn't a trend, it was a means of survival. As an adult, Newsome moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma with his wife, Demalda Newsome. In 1995 they started a community farm in North Tulsa, Newsome Community Farms, and have helped more than a dozen families, churches and schools build backyard gardens.

Newsome_photo_small Rufus Newsome knows what it's like to be poor and hungry and dependent on the land. Growing up in Sunflower County, Mississippi, he chopped weeds out of cotton fields to help his mother pay the bills. To compensate for their inability to buy food from the grocery store, Newsome's family grew gardens filled with greens and potatoes. For them, urban gardening wasn't a trend, it was a means of survival. As an adult, Newsome moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma with his wife, Demalda Newsome. In 1995 they started a community farm in North Tulsa, Newsome Community Farms, and have helped more than a dozen families, churches and schools build backyard gardens.

Mary McAnally

From This Land Press | Part of the The Sound of Our Land series | 04:06

Mary McAnally shares the story of how she organized the only Freedom Bus from Oklahoma during the Civil Rights Movement. She went with 40 University of Tulsa students and participated in sit-ins in Montgomery, Ala. She was arrested alongside Dr. Martin Luther King for her civil disobedience. As King told her, "You might get arrested, but you'll be in good company."

Sitting_in_3_small Mary McAnally shares the story of how she organized the only Freedom Bus from Oklahoma during the Civil Rights Movement. She went with 40 University of Tulsa students and participated in sit-ins in Montgomery, Ala. She was arrested alongside Dr. Martin Luther King for her civil disobedience. As King told her, "You might get arrested, but you'll be in good company."

Gordy Ryan says Play a Drum

From This Land Press | Part of the Just Passing Through series | 04:38

Gordy Ryan has been passing through Tulsa since the mid-80's when he was first invited here by an African student group at TU to give an African drumming workshop. After a few hiccups at the beginning of the session, the group invited Ryan back the next year and the next. Eventually, they attracted a diverse mix of local musicians and were invited to play at the May Fest.

Gordy_ryan_image_small

Gordy Ryan has been passing through Tulsa since the mid-80's when he was first invited here by an African student group at TU to give an African drumming workshop. After a few hiccups at the beginning of the session, the group invited Ryan back the next year and then the next. Eventually, they attracted a diverse mix of local musicians and were invited to play at the May Fest.

Ryan brings an accomplished background to Tulsa with him every year. He played with Olatunji Drums of Passion, founded by the late Babatunde Olatunji, a renowned Nigerian musician and an ambassador of African culture. Since Olatunji's passing in 2007, Ryan has played with various other drum groups. 

Cleaning Graves in Calvert

From This Land Press | Part of the Poetry to the People series | 02:56

Cleaning Graves in Calvert recounts the ritual of death in small town Texas. Listen as a group of men read Quraysh Ali Lansana's poem and share their thoughts on family and death. The poem prompts one reader to remember the unmarked mass graves from the Tulsa race riot of 1921.

Quraysh Ali Lansana was born in Enid, Oklahoma. He is now a poet and teacher in Chicago.

Graveyard_online_small Cleaning Graves in Calvert recounts the ritual of death in small town Texas. Listen as a group of men read Quraysh Ali Lansana's poem and share their thoughts on family and death. The poem prompts one reader to remember the unmarked mass graves from the Tulsa race riot of 1921. Quraysh Ali Lansana was born in Enid, Oklahoma. He is now a poet and teacher in Chicago.

"Autobiography" by Joe Brainard

From This Land Press | Part of the Poetry to the People series | 03:30

In his poem "Autobiography," Joe Brainard tells us who he is. Some of the things that make him unique challenge the status quo of 1950s Tulsa, where Brainard spent his childhood. In this edition of Poetry to the People, readers share their thoughts and experiences with homosexuality and the struggle of being a minority. Full text below.

Autobiography_photo_small "Autobiography," by Joe Brainard 

----I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1942.
----No, I wasn’t. I was born in Salem, Arkansas in 1942. I always say I was born in Tulsa tho. Because we moved there when I was only a few months old. So that’s where I grew up. In Tulsa, Oklahoma.
----A lot has happened between then and now, but somehow, today, I just don’t feel like writing about it. It doesn’t seem all that interesting. And it’s just too complicated.
----What’s important is that I’m a painter and a writer. Queer. Insecure about my looks. And I need to please people too much. I work very hard. I’d give my right arm to be madly in love. (Well, my left.) And I’m optimistic about tomorrow. (Optimistic about myself, not about the world.) I’m crazy about people. Not very intelligent. But smart. I want too much. What I want most is to open up. I keep trying.