The Oklahoma Eagle Newswire
State Senator Kevin Matthews announced the completion of a curriculum to be taught statewide related to the 1921 Race Riot on Tuesday, February 20 at Douglass High School. Matthews pointed out that ”February was the adopted birth month of Fredrick Douglass and the documented date of his death”. Matthews stated” So it was fitting to announce the Curriculum release at Douglass High School in Oklahoma City, since the legislature and Committees at the State Capitol had convened during the time of the announcement.
Matthews is the founder and Chair of the 1921 Centennial Commission that created the curriculum to educate the public about the riot, which is also referred to as a massacre by locals and many who have studied this tragedy.
“We specifically chose to have this curriculum unveiled during Black History Month,” said Matthews, D-Tulsa. “People need to know that the Greenwood area, which was once called the Black Wall Street of America, was developed right here in Tulsa, in our state, and about the tragedy that occurred here. “
Matthews pointed out that the National African American Museum in Washington D.C. tells the history of the area and the riot, but that it is not taught in Oklahoma. He was pleased to learn that U.S. Senator James Lankford also shared about it on the Senate Floor but he wants more people to know the history.
“Our commission is supported by virtually every elected official representing the Greenwood area in Tulsa, and this curriculum had extremely strong support from U.S. Senator James Lankford at the federal level. We also have had the support and cooperation of our State Superintendent, our Tulsa Public School Superintendent, and Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum,” said Matthews. “It is unique to have a state Senator and a U.S. Senator, of different political parties and different races, come together with other elected officials on both sides of the aisles for such an important issue, particularly in these times of political and racial division that we see daily in the news.
The senator explained that because of the legislature being in both regular and special session it was not possible to have the unveiling at Booker T. Washington High School, which was once on Greenwood in Tulsa. Douglass High School was chosen because of its deep-rooted history in the Black Community in Oklahoma City.
Present at the announcement were Senator James Lankford, Oklahoma City Mayor–elect David Holt and members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus including Senator Connie Johnson and Chairman George Young, Sen. Anastasia Pittman who represents the Douglass High School area, State Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister, and Rev Jamal Dyer and several members of the 1921 Commission.
“After Senate Bill 17 passed unanimously and was signed into law by the Governor, this curriculum not only educates our citizens about this little known history in our state, but enhances the interest and understanding of the accompanying tourist destination, tours, books, and business development leading up to the centennial year of 2021,” said Matthews.
For more information and to become involved with the Commission go to www.Tulsa2021.org
Matthews is the founder and Chair of the bipartisan and multicultural 1921 Centennial Commission. Their mission is to leverage the rich history surrounding the 1921 Race Riot by facilitating actions, activities, and events that commemorate and educate all citizens.