Cameron University's Dr. Russell Graves, assistant professor of history and geography, will present a lecture on the All-Black Towns of Oklahoma at the CU Library on Friday, February 20. Dr. Graves' presentation is in conjunction with the All-Black Towns exhibit that is currently on display at the library. The presentation, which is open to the public at no charge, begins at 2 p.m. and takes place in Room 116.
"The all-black towns of Oklahoma represent the utopian vision of their founders, people who hoped to escape the continued oppression of the Jim Crow South after the Civil War and sought the opportunity to take part in the dream of land ownership, economic self-determination, and social freedom," says Dr. Graves. "Moreso than any other place in the country, territorial Oklahoma offered this opportunity to African Americans."
Dr. Graves recently completed a driving tour of the existing Oklahoma communities that began as all-black towns. During his presentation, he will address the changes that have taken place in the historically all-black towns since their founding, and will encourage others to visit these communities to appreciate them as an integral part of the state's history.
This presentation and the exhibit of the All-Black Towns of Oklahoma are made possible through funding by the Oklahoma Humanities Council.
February 13, 2009