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Beyond the history books

Where you can see history for yourself

Beyond the history books

Last year I wrote a novel set in the days leading up to the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. As I set about the research required for the work, I discovered a trove of easily accessible resources. Though not all of these sources are held in the same place, most are free and open to the public, either in person or online. These books, journals, photos and archives are available for study by anyone who is curious or who wants to view in person the documents they read about in history books. Listed below are some of the best resources. 

Tulsa Historical Society
Photos, links to newspapers, and on-site research access are available by appointment. The Race Riot collection has been digitized and will be available to the public through a new mobile app. A new exhibit on Greenwood, the largest Tulsa Historical Society has ever offered, opens this month.
2445 S. Peoria Avenue | (918) 712-9484 | tulsahistory.org

Tulsa Library Research Center
While the research center at Central Library is closed for renovations, many of the library’s resources for research can be accessed online, at other locations, or through the Library’s temporary research center, near 45th and Sheridan. The library offers research help via text, email and IM. Along with books about Oklahoma, Tulsa, and the Riot, the library has additional journals, histories, local high-school yearbooks, newspapers on microfilm, street directories, maps, and hanging files. The Beryl Ford collection of photographs documents the history of Tulsa and can be viewed online. As much of the collections are in storage during the renovation, calling first is suggested.
6500 E. 45th Place | (918) 549-7323 | tulsalibrary.org

Greenwood Cultural Center
The center boasts a comprehensive collection of images and artifacts on permanent display which tell the story of Deep Greenwood and the events of May 31-June 1, 1921. Free and open to the public; guided tours are $5.
322 N. Greenwood Ave. | (918) 596-1020 greenwoodculturalcenter.com

John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation
The John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation hosts an annual symposium on reconciliation and manages Reconciliation Park, free and open to the public at 321 N. Detroit Avenue, a public-private partnership with the City of Tulsa and a result of the 2001 Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.
322 N. Greenwood Ave. | (918) 295-5009 | jhfcenter.org

Riot Archive at the University of Tulsa McFarlin Library
The University of Tulsa Social Collections in McFarlin Library is home to a compilation of research, including taped interviews and papers. Library hours vary by season; check the University of Tulsa website before heading over.
2933 E. 6th St. | (918) 631-2873 | utulsa.edu/mcfarlin

North Tulsa Historical Society
This society meets at Rudisill Library on the first Saturday of every month.

Oklahoma Historical Society
The Oklahoma Historial Society offers a large and online-accessible library of newspapers, books, and journals about Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Historical Society’s Encyclopedia of History and Culture can be viewed at digital.libraray.okstate.edu.
800 Nazhi Zuhdi Dr. in Oklahoma City | (405) 522-5225 | okhistory.org

Tulsa Reparations Commission
Historian Scott Ellsworth assisted in compiling the information provided here, which was temporarily unavailable as of this writing. The Reparations Commissions report is available at Tulsa Library.

Personal Website of I. Marc Carlson
Carlson compiled much of the research contained at The University of Tulsa and has developed his own site on the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. His timelines and maps are helpful in understanding who was where and when.

Sand Springs History Museum
In the Page Memorial building, the Sand Springs History Museum preserves its building, an Art Deco relic, and the history of Sand Springs, Oklahoma’s only planned industrial city that doubled as a haven for widows and orphans.
9 E. Broadway in Sand Springs | (918) 246-2500 | sandspringsok.org

Broken Arrow Historical Society Museum
The Broken Arrow Historical Society museum is housed near the old train depot in downtown Broken Arrow, open for both guided and self-guided tours. Exhibits include a family log cabin and a replica of the 1828 Muscogee-Creek town of “Thlikachka,” a name carried from Alabama to present-day Broken Arrow.
400 S. Main St. in Broken Arrow | (918) 258-2616 | bahistorialsociety.com

Tulsa Preservation Commission
A repository for information on Tulsa’s historic districts, neighborhoods, and buildings, available online.
175 E. 2nd St., Suite 570 | (918) 576-5687 | tulsapreservationcommission.org

Tulsa Foundation for Architecture
Tulsa Foundation for Architecture indexes history on Tulsa’s built environment, including biographies collected by the Junior League of Tulsa in 1979 as part of their research for the book, “Tulsa Art Deco.”
321 S. Boston, LL01| (918) 583-5550 | tulsaarchitecture.com

Chronicling America via Library of Congress
Search America’s historic newspapers, including The Tulsa Daily World and The Tulsa Star, and from 1836-1922, while you bask on the couch in your pajamas.