North Detroit Ave.

I find that I need to note that I have found an analytical issue, and I wanted to share it..  There are some issues regarding  identifying the houses on Detroit.

detroit1915

1915 Sanborn Map, Sheet 4, courtesy of the Tulsa City County Library.

You will notice on this map, dated 1915, there are only a few houses and addresses shown.  One of them is 523, which is Dr. Jackson’s house.    I recently received a more clear version of Beryl Ford collection A2455, thanks to Ian Swart of the Tulsa Historical Society.

A2455

Beryl Ford, A2455. Tulsa Historical Society.

You will notice it depicts the back side of Detroit, and clearly shows the foundations of the houses – including the unfinished foundation that was not burned.

We know that one of the lot borders comes down, just south of center of Easton coming over the hill.  Another is halfway between that and the portion of Easton that runs along the south of the block (at the edge of the photo).

We know this because of this version of the same photograph:

riot165

A slightly different angle from one of the panoramas:

RiotPanorama.jpg

From that we can make some estimates of width of the lots.

newA2455

Which means we can place 503 and 523.

Looking at the Census, the Directories, and the Events of the Tulsa Disaster, we get:

503 N Detroit Wright, Mary Alice Wid: Arthur.  2 story frame with basement
505 N Detroit
507 N Detroit Bridgewater, Robert T. Wife: Mattie M. Physician 103 1/2 N Greenwood  1 frame story with basement
511 N Detroit Bridgewater, T.R.(owner) Smitherman, Andrew J. Wif: Ollie Editor, Tulsa Star 1 frame story with basement
515 N Detroit McKeever, Joseph J. Wife: Myrtle Dentist 1 frame story with basement
521 N Detroit Woods, William H. Wife: Eliza pastor Union Baptist Church 1 frame story with basement
522 N Detroit Digney, Mary A.
523 N Detroit Andrew, Andrew C. Wife: Julia A. Physician 503 N Greenwood. 1 frame story with basement
527 N Detroit Stovall, Jesse Wife: Birdie Janitor
529 N Detroit Magill, Harrison M. Teacher BTW HS 1 frame story with basement
531 N Detroit Woods, Ellis W. Wife: Anna Principal BTW HS 1 frame story with basement
533 N Detroit Stoval, Jesse (See above) 1 frame story with basement
537 N Detroit Gentry, Thomas R. Wife Lottie E. W. Gentry, Neeley & Vaden 1 frame story with basement
541 N Detroit Brown, Curtis D. Wife: Alleze. Porter 1 frame story with basement
602 N Detroit Beard J, L
625 N Detroit Hughes, John W. Wife: Jessie M. Principal, Dunbar Grade School 1 frame story with basement
627 N Detroit Singer, Charles E. Wife Pearl. Blacksmith at Tulsa Boiler & Mach Co. 1 frame story with basement

Taking a look at the aerial drawing (1918) we see:

greenwoodmodified.2jpg

503 is 2 stories.  Unfortunately the drawing has some scale and placement issues, and the buildings are oversized for the block.  But we do see a second 2 story building.

If we look at the satellite map we see:

elgin2.JPG

The shift from Easton west of Detroit to east of Detroit is about hundred feet which means that we have to fit eight addresses in that distance, technically seven since 522 would be on the west side.

So what do we see from the other side?

 

 

 

rough.png

If the 2 story building is 503 then unfinished house must be 505, particularly as there is only one two story house listed in Events of the Tulsa Disaster on the 500 block.  Or if we look at the aerial drawing (1918) then the two story structure might be 523.

I believe this may actually be the case because of this image.

3a34285r.jpg

The two building fronts remain and the gray patch at the bottom of the picture may be Easton.   This means that what I believe we are looking at is this:

elgin2a.jpg

Why is this important? Because previously I had previously placed 523 a bit further north (about a hundred feet further north).

Women’s Klan in Tulsa

While researching something else this morning, I came across this image, from the Sunday, 15 October 1922 Tulsa Tribune.  As a note, W.A.P. meant White American Protestants according to Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s, by Kathleen M. Blee.  All text after this is quoted from the newspaper article accompanying.

Members of the Tulsa KKK and the WAP at the inaugural meeting, October 1922. -- Tulsa Tribune, 15 October 1922.

Members of the Tulsa KKK and the WAP at the inaugural meeting, October 1922. — Tulsa Tribune, 15 October 1922.

Good Morning Mrs._____; Are You In This Picture?

This is the first photograph ever published of members of the women’s Ku Klux Klan.  It was taken a few days ago at the organization of the Tulsa Chapter of the W. A. P., the Women’s Auxiliary of the Klan.  The robed figures at the left are Klansmen,  The women at the right and in the rear are charter W.A.P. members.   Can you pick out yourself?  What W.A.P. stands for is a secret.

The accompanying picture of the first class of Tulsa women into the W.A.P., the women’s Ku Klux Klan, was brought to The Tribune by a woman who said she was a member.  This is the third class of the kind organized in the United States, it is said, and the first pictures of members of the women’s organization to be published anywhere.

As can be seen in the picture, the W.A.P. has at least the semi-official sanction of the Ku Klux Klan.  Members of the local chapter of the klan are here presenting the American flag to the women, who have just banded together to further the same principles advocated by the invisible empire.  The photograph was taken a few days ago.

The W.A.P., said to be the only women’s organization that has received commendation in the klan national papers at Atlanta, Ga., and Washington, D.C.,was organized at Claremore a few weeks ago.  National headquarters have since been established in Kansas City.

The order claims a membership of 4,000 in Oklahoma.  It is said to have chapters at Claremore, Miami, Tulsa, Vinita, Muskogee, Oklahoma City, Pryor, Wagoner, McAlester, Henryetta, Okmulgee, Haskell, Sapulpa, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Skiatook, Collinsville, Avant, Bigheart, Pawhuska, Pawnee, Stillwater, Perry, Oilton, Drumright, Yale, Cushing, Stroud, Chandler, Guthrie, Edmond, Yukon, El Reno, Kingfisher, Enid, and Ada, in this state,  while others are being organized almost daily.


 

Klan resources at The University of Tulsa

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives at McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa has a few collections of interest to people researching the KKK.  The collection is growing slowly.

  • Ku Klux Klan (KKK) papers, 1924-1936, 1995. Coll No. 1993.001.  Consists of a ledger containing membership records for the Tulsa Klan chapter for the years 1928-1932 and ephemera which includes: pamphlets pertaining to the organization, structure, and rituals of the Klan; typescript and carbon copy typescript of an acceptance speech given by a newly elected Exalted Cyclops [i.e., Chief Officer] for the Klan #2, Realm of Oklahoma (c1936); membership applications; robe and supply requisitions; and mimeograph copies of 11 official Ku Klux Klan documents dating from 1924-1927; sheet music for the song “The Bright Fiery Cross.”

Some of this material is available online.

Other collections do have some Klan materials, although they are currently unprocessed.

  • William O’Brien papers. Coll. No. 2009.052.
  • Barbara Santee archive of Oklahoma women’s reproductive rights and ancillary materials Coll No. 2015.039.

Methodology example – 1921 Klan initiation

One of the issues with historical research is being aware that even documentary sources can have a bias. Let’s look at an example of two articles where, although they appear to cover the same event (the 1921 August 31 Klan initiation) they present the events in dramatically different ways.
—–

Tulsa Tribune, Thursday, September 1, 1921
(part of front page was damaged so there are some lacunae in the text)

“[3]00 Klansmen Take Oath at Cross of Fire

[S]ilent Empire Swears in New Members

Like a spectral army, a crowd of [m]en estimated at 1,500 stole out of [Tu]lsa in more than 300 automobiles [la]st night and assembled at a lonely [sp]ot surrounded by overhanging hills [wh]ere Tulsa’s chapter of the Ku [Kl]ux Klan held what is believed to [be] its first initiation.

About 3 o’clock yesterday after[no]on a reporter for The Tribune re-[ce]ived a telephone call. The voice [se]emed to be that of a business man. […] was quick, sharp and to the point. [T]he reporter was informed to be at [th]e corner of Third and Main street [a]t 8 o’clock last night and he would [b]e tipped off to one of the biggest [stor]ies that ever “broke” in Tulsa.

The reporter was inquisitive but [c]ould elicit no further information [ot]her than the assurance that the [pe]rson talking was reliable and the [st]ory worth while.

It lacked two minutes to 8 by the [re]porter’s watch. The theater [cr]owd was bulging in the streets and [th]e stream of automobile traffic [po]uring across the intersection at [Th]ird and Main was growing stead[ily] heavier. A man tapped the re[po]rter in the shoulder.

“Are you The Tribune man?” he [as]ked. Receiving the affirmative re[ply] he said, “Get into my car and I w[il]l drive around to the office. I [ha]ve some big inside stuff on the […]li[…]ation you are interested in [b]ut can’t afford for it to be know [th]at [I g]ave it out.”

Reporter Blindfolded.

They walked around the corner and climbed in a big Cadillac roadster. The reporter noticed that the [cur]tains were up. The car dashed [ra]pidly west and stopped in the [sha]dows Sixth Street and Denver Avenue, when one of the men said “We [are] going to blindfold you and take [you] where you can get a real story. [You] wont’ be harmed but you had [bet]ter keep still. You are at liberty [to] write about all you see on this […]”

The automobile traveled at what [se]emed to be a rather high rate of speed [fo]r a long while. The occupants of [th]e car were silent. Sitting between [t]wo of them on the rear seat, the [re]porter could tell that the car went [up] hill and down hill many times [an]d made a number of turns as it traveled.

Finally it stopped. The car door [op]ened and a few seconds the blindfold was removed. Only the [u]nknown driver was there. He in[s]tructed the reporter to make him[s]elf at home and said he would re[tu]rn later.

The car stood on the brink of a [hi]ll overlooking a little valley sur[ro]unded on all sides by hills. Several [hu]ndred yards away, a strange sight. In the heart [of] the valley [h]undreds of automobiles were as[se]mbled in a great circle, The head[li]ghts of all converged on a spot [wi]thin where nearly 100 men in [th]e long white robes of the invi[si]ble empire stood ghostlike beneath [a] giant tree.

The Fiery Cross

Standing in the glare of the powerful lights their forms were distinctly outlined. The reporter saw the hood and the gown barred with the signs that have come to be known [as] the mark of the Ku Klux Klan. [A] tall man stood directly beneath [th]e tree. Beside him was a giant [fi]ery cross held high by a man in [si]milar garb. Standing near it [w]as a great American flag unfurled. On the outside of the circle of cars were other automobiles at intervals with their lights streaming outward into the darkness. They

(At this point most of the text is too badly damaged to get anything be the last half of each line.)

…ftly on guard. Past
…the spectral figures under
…nd the giant cross that
…e a thing alive as its
…flame leaped and play-
…them. The tall man ad-
…few paces. Rapidly men
…civilian garb and wear…”

You get the point.

Compare this to:

Tulsa Daily World, Friday, September 2, 1921

“Klux Klan initiates

Thirty candidates were initiated into the mysteries of the “invisible empire” at the first open air meeting of the klansmen held in an open field 11 miles south of town on the Broken Arrow road at 9.30 Wednesday night.

The cars containing about three hundred and fifty members of the Ku Klux Klan left Fifth and Cincinnati at 7:30 o’clock. Armed guards stations along the road halted the cars for inspection and a second inspection was had upon arriving at the scene of operations. The cars were parked in a circle with all lights out except those with high powered spotlights which furnished the illumination for the business session of the klansmen.

The proceedings were the same as the previous meetings held in Convention hall. Guns were carried so that the klansmen could be prepared for any emergency that might arise, one of the participants said.”

So, the real question we get from this is – What previous meetings? Clearly more research is required since virtually every academic source has referred to this as the first Klan event in Tulsa.

KKK Roster

(This was originally posted on my Livejournal, but I have moved it here and updated it).

The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections and University Archives has in its collections a roster of the KKK in Tulsa for the years 1928-1932. It is part of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) papers, 1924-1995, bulk 1924-1936. Coll. No. 1993.001.

Since 1993, it has been the Department’s policy has been to not show the original to anyone, but let them use the photocopy, out of concern that it might be damaged.   This roster was, according to legend, one of four, and only covers the declining years of the Tulsa Klan.

In 2011, Special Collections had it digitally transcribed.

Using that transcription I was able to make the following determinations:

In 1928 registered membership was 975 members, consisting of 720 Democrats, 251 Republicans, 3 Independents.

In 1929, membership was 240.

In 1930, membership was 199.

In 1931, 87.

In 1932, 28.

There are 16 memberships with no discernible year.

Conversely, membership in 1921 (August 31, after the riot), the Tulsa Klan enrolled its first 300 members. By 1924, when the Governor declared martial law in Tulsa, there were reputedly upwards of 10,000 members, not including the women’s auxiliary and children’s groups.

Greenwood Scrapbook

Last year, the Department of Special Collections at McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa acquired a deteriorating scrapbook.  This was brought to Special Collections by Lee Roy Chapman. There are photos from as early as 1922 in Greenwood.  They are otherwise unidentified.  They do show some of the rebuilding.

They have now been digitized and can be seen at http://cdm15887.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/search/searchterm/Scrapbooks./mode/exact

If anyone has any idea who these people might be, please let me know.

Wesley W. Shobe

One of the aspects of researching photographs is trying to find out more about what’s in the image.  Not long ago, The Department of Special Collections at McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa acquired a photograph from Lee Roy Chapman.  This undated photograph:guys001It shows a number of men, in front of an unidentified building.  Written on the back is W. A. Shobe.

The only possibility in the Tulsa Directory is Wesley W. Shobe (Lillian) Billiards, 112 N Greenwood, r. same.

Unfortunately, I can not identify the uniforms or medals, but it does appear to be a fraternal organization.  The building behind is not Mount Zion (either pre or post riot configurations), St. Monica’s or Vernon AME.  The window configuration doesn’t match the ruins of the masonic hall in Greenwood in the post-riot images.

Thoughts?

 

“Federal Report on Vice Conditions in Tulsa” (1921)

If I haven’t mentioned it earlier, my interest in history is ultimately, people – the normal, real people who may or may not be remembered after they are gone.  People like most of my ancestors, and quite likely me.  Most people are interested in the upper names, the people “of name”, but I am more interested in the “all other men” in the quote.  This leads me down some pretty strange paths at times.One of the areas I research is the Tulsa Race Riot, and related things.  Recently I ran across the “Federal Report on Vice Conditions in Tulsa”, and thought I’d share that here, with pictures of some of the locations mentioned.  My comments are in green.

Federal Report on Vice Conditions
in Tulsa.
_______________________

1.  State of Oklahoma.

2.  City of Tulsa

3.  Date: April 21, 22, 23, 25, 26 1921  that would be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday.

4.  Agent:  T. F.G.

5.  Summary of conditions:  Vice conditions in this city are extremely bad.  Gambling, bootlegging, and prostitution are very much in evidence.  At the leading hotels and rooming houses the bell hops and porters are pimping for women and also selling booze.  Regarding violations of the law, these prostitutes and pimps solicit without any fear of the police, and they will invariably remind you that you are safe in these houses.

6.  Open houses of prostitution: Fourteen.

102 North Boulder Street.   Entrance in rear.  Madame a well built woman, and two girls rooming here.  Was directed by the madame to the front room facing North Boulder Street, for improper relations with  girl about thirty years old.  Her price $3.00.

102 N. Boulder

102 N. Boulder and Forbes Hotel

 

The  1921 City Directory  lists this as “Arnie T. Kennemore (Susie V.) Cook.

Over 322 East First Street.   The Madame not being in, three girls “hustling” here. Was solicited by a light haired girl to go to bed.  This girl’s price $3.00; She is about twenty-two years old.

The  1921 City Directory  lists this as  “Bessie Phillips, Furnished rooms”.

318 1/2 East First Street.  Madame Nell Russell.  Two inmates.  Was solicited by one of these girls to go to bed.  Price $3.00

The  1921 City Directory  lists this as  “Warner Dennis, Restaurant”.  Nell Russell is listed as working at 326 1/2 E 1st, and rooming at the same.

320 1/2 East First Street.  The Madame told me her girl was out, and instructed to return later and hire a room, and she would have this girl come to the room; also being told that the girl’s price was $3.00.

The  1921 City Directory  lists this as  “Oil City Flour and Feed Co”.

 

320 1st St

320 1st St


An amusing note:  324 (or 326) East First is the site of the infamous “May Rooms”, which was Tulsa’s longest running brothel, in existance from the 30s until Madame Pauline Lambert  (nee Clara Palmer) died in 1979.

20 1/2 East First.  One Madame and one girl.  This girl is about seventeen years old, who told me she makes good money here, and also “hustles” on the streetsl her price to go to bet $4.00.

The  1921 City Directory  lists this as  “Finklestein and Gordon Clothing”.  David Finklestein and Philip Gordon.

 

20 1/2 East 1st St.

20 1/2 East 1st St.

405 1/2 East First Street.  Rooming House.  I was solicited by a young girl, very slender.  Going upstairs, I was taken to her room.  The Madame, Maud Fleming, asked no questions.  The girl’s price was $3.00.  This same house was raided by the police about two hours  afterwards, for gambling.  Two gamblers were shot, one dying a few hours after.

The  1921 City Directory  lists this as  “Loose-Wiles Biscuit Co”.   I have to say that “loose wiles” is a dandy name for a brothel.  Next  door, in the old Tulsa Paper Company, is now McNellies Pub.

409 1st St

409 1st St

Empress Rooms, East First street near Main.   The madame told me  to wait a minute, later directing me to a room in a rear of house.  In the room were three girls, one of them remarked to take my pick.  Price $3.00.  The madame offered to let a room if I picked up a girl on the streets.

The Empress rooms aren’t listed in the 1920 City Directory.  I assume from the address that they are around this location:

Empress Rooms

Empress Rooms


Queen City Rooms, Detroit near East First Street
.  Five inmates rooming here.  The madame was out when I called, but was solicited by a woman about thirty years old to go to bed.  She informed that the madame and four girls were out riding horses.  This house is over a livery stable.

This would be the Queen city livery stable at 110 S. Detroit, run by Thomas Miller.  It’s pretty much where the garage is here:

Queen City Rooms and Livery Stable

Queen City Rooms and Livery Stable


Forbes Hotel, East Archer street, corner North Boston
.  I called here in the afternoon.  Four girls were scrubbing floors, cleaning rooms, etc.  I inquired for a room, and was told by a young woman (not the madame) that they were all taken, but if you want a girl you have got the right place, and then telling me that her price was $3.00.

Central Hotel, 15 1/2 North Main Street.
  The madame (Mrs. Francis Watson) told me that she had four girls rooming here that they were “hustling”.  She then called a very heavy set woman who was sitting in the rear of the hallway to me.  This woman called “Bessie”; she telling me her price was $3.00.  While there I saw four men gambling with cards in the main hallway.

Central Hotel

Central Hotel

Wisteria Rooms, 1084 East Second Street.  Three Girls, the colored porter, calling a girl for me.  Her price $3.00 to go to bed.  The porter insists upon a fee of one dollar.  I saw two other girls here that are “hustling”.

There is no 1084 East Second Street in the 1921 Directory, but there is a 108 1/2 , “J. L. Smith furnished rooms.”

Next, the north side of the tracks…

 

Below are colored houses:

505 East Archer street:  Having “Rooms” sign on house.  I saw a piano just inside the entrance, ad an old colored woman as the madame, and four inmates.  Was solicited by a young colored yellow woman to go to bed.  Price $3.00.

1921 City Directory lists this as “David R. Roland (Alice) (c)”

The 1920 Census  shows:

505 E Archer   David R. Roland b Furn rooms Roland, Dave R. Farmer D.R. Roland b furnsihed rooms D.R. Roland, Rooms 2 story frame, $5,000
  Ollie Roland b Roland, Ollie Boarding House Manager
  Roland, Earline None
  Clayton, Thelma None
  Roland, John Bootblack
  Battles, Will B Janitor, Office Building
  Blackbriar, Flora B Domestic
  Cross, Annie Chambermaid, Hotel
  Cross, Emmet Porter, Hotel
  Dillard, Dolly B Maid
  Hendeson, Mabel Maid
  Jerrell, William Laborer
  Lovis, Will B Cook, Restaurant
  Nelson, Chester A B Laborer
  Phillips, Sperling Hotel Porter
  Phillips, Theresa None
  Stovall, Willie B Fireman
  Tete, Ethel Cook
  Tete, Henry Carpenter
  Vann, Gale B Domestic
  Wash, Bessie Chambermaid, Hotel
  Wheeler, Laura Chambermaid
  Williams, Coy Porter, Hotel

503 East Archer street:  “Rooms” sign on house.  Two young girls solicited me on doorstep to come inside and go to bed; their price being $2.00. 

Edward Durham, Furnished Rooms (Amanda)

503 E Archer   Edward Durham b laborer Durban, Eddie Office Building Janitor Edward Durband b furnished rooms
  Amanda Durham b Durban, Amanda None
  Bailey, Alex B Restaurant Waitress
  Johnson, Henry B Restaurant Pantry Boy
  McClarkin, Melvin B City Schools Teacher
  Patterson, Homer B Rooming House Porter
  Walker, Albert Restaurant Busboy
Archer and Frankfurt

Archer and Frankfurt

420 East Archer street, Midway Hotel.  I was picked up by a colored girl standing outside on the sidewalk and requested to go to her room No. 22, her price being $2.00.

Midway Hotel

Midway Hotel

7.  Street conditions, etc.  The streets surrounding the Frisco depot being worked and found bad.  Just an aside, this was the area that formed the main battle groundduring the race riot  only a month  after this report was written.  On East and West First street, especially on a Saturday evening, the porters at the Carlton (24 1/2 E), DeVern  (not found), and Imperial (118 1/2 E) Hotels stand in front of their entrances soliciting men to go upstairs with their “keen” women.  These hotels I had visited previously , and was solicited by each of them to go upstairs.  The prostitutes “hustle” on North and South Main, East and West First , Second, Third, and Fourth streets, later taking them men to their respective rooming houses.  I had seen eighteen solicitations upon the above mentioned streets by the women.  At the DeVern Hotel I saw a porter take three men upstairs within half an hour.  At the other hotels I mentioned, I did not see any men go upstairs with the porters.

8. Hotel conditions:  Very bad.  The above mentioned hotels I have classed as open houses.  All the hotels that have been covered I found prostitutes operating, or the proprietor would gladly let you a room for immoral purposes should there not be any women with rooms there.

At this point, the author lists 24 hotels (major and minor)  where girls could be ordered in for a fee.  As much as $10. at the Hotel Tulsa.
There are also 5 houses where rooms could be rented for immoral purposes.

14.  Number of prostitutes seen in all places during investigation; 64.

14A.  Total number of prostitutes seen in open houses; 25.

15.  Total number of prostitutes seen in hotels; 5.

16.  Total number of prostitutes seen in rooming houses; none.

17. Total number of white prostitutes seen; 57.

18.  Number of colored prostitutes seen; 7.

19.  Total number of prostitutes seen on streets; 19.

20.  Total number of prostitutes seen in dance halls, etc.; 5

I saw eight prostitutes at the Armory Dance Hall, whom I had also seen in open houses or upon the streets above mentioned.

21.  Total number of prostitutes seen in cafes, restaurants and cabarets; none.

22.  Total number of pimps seen; 19 (all colored porters or bell hops at the above mentioned hotels).

23.  Weather 21st Fair; 22nd Fair; 23rd Fair; 25th Rain; 26th Fair.

 

brothelmap

Map of the Brothels mentioned in the “Federal Report on Vice Conditions in Tulsa” (1921)

(Minor editing 11/25/2015)

Green Corn Rebellion


Green Corn Rebellion
Originally uploaded by imarcc

Oklahoma has always had an interesting history regarding socialism. In 1914, for example, the Socialist candidate for governor won 21 percent of the vote, and Socialists held 6 seats on the Legislature and a majority of the county level elected offices. There were 12,000 dues paying members of the party in Oklahoma in that year. It is likely this was a result of a massive recruitment among the tenant farmers (a system that had its own unique Oklahoma twists as well). Among the Socialists were the Wobblies (the Industrial Workers of the World, the IWW) and the WCU (the Working Class Union). Among the differences between the IWW and the WCU were that generally, the IWW considered farmers to be part of the problem, capitalists, not true wage workers, while the WCU recognized that, in Oklahoma at least, many farmers were little more than starving exploited laborers on land they didn’t, and couldn’t, own. The WCU, unlike the IWW and the Socialist party, were a secret society (sometimes referred to as the Jones Family or the Jones Boys) willing to use violence to further its goals. Among the IWW and WCU goals were the abolition of profits, interest, rents, public ownership of everything, the eight-hour day and a workers’ compensation program, old age pensions, child labor laws, and free school textbooks, no police, no conscription, the equality of women and of all races.

In 1916, Woodrow Wilson was elected president on a platform that included “He kept us out of war”, so in April of 1917, when he declared war on Germany, many people felt betrayed by this. In August of 1917, an interracial group of Oklahoma tenant farmers determined to resist conscription, and at the end of the Green Corn festival (about 2 August) rose up. Hundreds of men, whites, African-Americans and Native Americans (some WCU, some IWW, some Socialist, some just poor and angry) gathered on a bluff near the Sasakwa farm of John Spears. Their plan was a simplistic one – to first seal off their local counties (Potawatomi, Seminole, Pontotoc and Hughes), recruit a larger army, and then march onto Washington DC, picking up the recruits along the way, overthrow the government, end the war, and reform the economy to return to the workers the fruits of their labors. They believed that the more organized brotherhoods would join with them, and they’d have the power to pull it off. I know this sounds ludicrous, but if you consider what the Bolsheviks were able to do later that year in Russia, it was not an absolute departure from reality.
They began by cutting phone and telegraph lines, and destroying railroad bridges. They were put down by huge posses from the local towns, who hunted them down. Finally, at Spears Bluff, a final battle occurred in which 3 of the rebels were killed. The rebels surrendered fairly easily rather than shoot at their neighbors and there were over 450 arrests. There were several bloody engagements with holdouts, but within a week, the rebellion was over. There were 184 indictments and of those 150 were convicted and were shipped off to the prison at Leavenworth.

Green Corn Rebellion

During the Great War, a massive repression of anti-war sentiment occurred throughout the nation, and Oklahoma had its own twist to that as well, likely in some part tinged by the Rebellion. As an example, on 17 August 1917, a little over a week after the Rebellion, Captain Leo Rooney of the Tulsa Home Guard led the “Slacker Raid” in which over 2000 suspected conscientious objectors were rounded up and interned (incidentally, Rooney also organized the internment of the African American citizens of Tulsa during the Tulsa Race Riot). The IWW were eventually driven from Oklahoma by lynch mob and legal arrest.