- ABOUT US
On the Cover: Oklahoma Today presents a special issue devoted to the African Americans who shaped the state’s past and are making their mark on its future. The names on the cover are the 45 most influential African Americans in Oklahoma (see story on 37).
Reclaiming Oklahoma History
The life and times of a trailblazing Chandler couple.
By Hannibal Johnson
Photography by James Pratt
They left their mark on every aspect of human endeavor in Oklahoma and around the nation. We are proud to introduce the forty-five most influential African Americans ever to call this great state home.
By Susan Dragoo
That Which Endures
From a high of more than fifty all-black communities during the early twentieth century, only thirteen remain. Through Eyakem Gulilat’s lens, their promising pasts meet the uncertainties of the present.
Photography and essay by Eyakem Gulilat
Sing Us Home
Through the voices of an African American singing troupe, Choctaw Slave Wallace Willis’ “Steal Away to Jesus”—and, likely, his version of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”—charted a path with roots in bondage to everlasting musical history.
By Susan Dragoo
Love Thy Neighborhoods
One was called Black Wall Street; the other gave rise to Ralph Ellison and Roscoe Dunjee. While their histories vary, Deep Deuce in Oklahoma City and Greenwood in Tulsa stand proud as places where black history and the present day intersect.
By Randy Krehbiel
Setting the Records Straight
What musical canon could encompass jazz great Charlie Christian, soprano Leona Mitchell, and hip-hop star Jabee? These thirty-five recordings are a master list of Oklahoma’s African American sounds.
By Ryan LaCroix
Mamadou’s in Glenpool offers a taste of home; Group Fly clothing is outfitting urban youth; one man chronicles the Booker T. Washington athletic legacy for generations to come; and a new guide from the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department helps travelers discover the state’s rich African American heritage
Tommy Bolton is one of the fastest men on two wheels; the state’s three African American newspapers are pushing their communities forward; Tulsa’sCowboys on the Fence Round Up Club rides the range; Langston’s new women’s basketball coach, hall-of-famer Cheryl Miller, shares her plans for the Lady Lions; and a new poem by Enid native Quraysh Ali Lansana.
Food & Drink
Chef Lee Bennett is searing, grilling, and braising some of the best comfort food in Oklahoma City at Cheever’s Cafe; from the beaches of the Caribbean and South America, three restaurants are bringing a taste of the tropics to the Sooner State; and preparing a delectable cheesecake is easy with this simple guide.