Testimony of John A. Oliphant, 2 Attorney General’s Civil Case Files, RG 1-2, A-G Case no. 1062, Box 25 (Oklahoma State Archives)



called as a witness on behalf of the State, having been first duly sworn to testify to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, was examined in chief by Mr. Freeling and testified as follows:

Q Will you state your name to the Court and jury?

A John A. Oliphant.

Q Where do you live, Mr. Oliphant?

A Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Q What part of the city?

A I live over near Detroit and Easton, in that block.

Q How long have you lived here?

A A little over sixteen years.

Q How old a man are you.

A Seventy three.

Q Were you here on the night of May 31st?

A Yes, sir.

Q That is called the night of the riot, is it not?

A Yes, sir.

Q What was the first you observed concerning it, judge?

A Well, it was early the next morning, June 1st, just a good daylight when I discovered a lot of men coming up on the hill there east of my place.

Q White men or nigger men?

A They were white men.

Q Armed or unarmed?

A They were armed, they were all dressed in khaki clothing, they looked to me to be oversea soldiers.

Q What did they do?

A They were looking east and I got up and came out of my home and I walked rapidly over to Detroit and they were shooting across Detroit over on Elgin and in that locality on the north

of Easton.

Q I will ask you, judge, if during the morning you got in communication with the police station?

A Yes, I phoned and sent for them several times, I phoned to the police station myself.

Q What time did you phone?

A Well, that was between eight and nine o’clock, but I had sent before that a time or two.

Q A time or two?

A Yes, sir. and to the sheriff’s office also.

jackson.jpgQ Were you acquainted with Dr. Jackson?

A Yes, sir.

Q Is he living or dead?

A He is dead.

Q Did you witness his death?

A Yes, sir, I witnessed the shooting which caused his death a few minutes afterwards.

Q About what time in the morning was he shot, judge?

A Right close to eight o’clock, between seven thirty and eight o’clock.

Q Was that before or after you had communicated with the police station?

A The first thing I done I tried to get some policemen. I found there wasn’t any up there and I wanted to get some policemen to help me; I thought I could stop that whole business but I guess I was mistaken.

Q Did you get any help from the police officers?

A No, sir.

Q After you communicated with the police station what did you see with reference to Dr . Jackson?

A I was standing down on Detroit just fronting his house, just right opposite Easton down from where I live. I heard him holler and I looked up and saw him coming about twenty five feet away from me or thirty, with his hands up, and he said “Here am I”, he wanted to go —

MR LEAHY : We object to this statement of what Dr. Jackson said .

THE COURT: The objection will be overruled.

MR LEAHY: We except.

A I said to the fellows, “That is Dr. Jackson, don’t hurt him.”

Q How many were there?  How many men were there there at that time, Judge?

A About thirty or forty or fifty. around there.

Q How many of them were armed?

A Oh, I don’t know, the major portion of them was I presumed armed, they were practically all armed, I think.

Q What did you say Dr. Jackson said?

A He said, “Here am I, I want to go with you”, or something to that effect.

Q Who was he speaking to?

A I don’t know whether he was speaking to me or the other fellows. I was standing immediately in front of him and right on either side of me were three or four or five young fellows, citizens, with guns, and on the other side of the driveway were some more, two or three others.

Q Was Dr. Jackson shot by anybody?

A Yes sir.

Q How many were in the party that shot him?

A Oh, seven or eight.

Q Seven or eight.

A Yes, right in the party, they were all around there then.

Q How many fired?

A Two men fired at him.

Q, Did he fall?

A Yes, he fell at the second shot with the high powered rifle.

Q At the second shot?

A Yes, sir, he fell down.

Q What kind of a looking man was it that shot him?

A A young man with a white shirt and cap on.

Q How long was this after you had communicated with the police station asking for help?

A 0Q, I don’t know, half an hour, maybe an hour, I tried to get them two or three times and got them once or twice.

Q What was done concerning Dr. Jackson after he fell?

A Well, they loaded him in a car and took him away.

Q Who did that?

A The men there, the white men present.

Q Do you know whether they started to a hospital or not?

A That is where they said they was going, to a hospital.

Q These men that put him in a car, were they armed?

A Oh, yes, they were armed.

Q Were they shooting?

A Well, it was occasional shooting because over on — at that time, oh God, no, sir, there wasn’t a nigger man I suppose within a mile of that except one old man that was sick, and Dr. Jackson.

Q The two?

A They all left out before six, or right at six, there wasn’t a negro man in that locality after that time I don’t think.

Q They had gone, had they?

A Yes, sir. they had either come in and given themselves up, or they had run around the hill beyond the school house there and went out of my eight . I seen three or four or five, they wasn’t but a few negro men there. They was shooting close, from the number of shots; they always went over me. I got down on Detroit where — where they were balls from both sides went over me but I was too low down.

Q Judge, I wish you would tell the Court and jury at this time, at the time Dr. Jackson was shot, as to the degree of excitement, if you can.

LEAHY: We object to that as immaterial and incompetent.

THE COURT: Overruled.

LEAHY: We except.

A There was but little excitement then, the fight was all over and had been over for an hour and a half. There was no shooting at that particular time because there was no negroes over there to shoot at.

Q I will ask you, judge, if you saw any houses burned?

A Yes sir.

Q, Did you see any houses set afire?

A Yes, sir.


N. Detroit home being looted.

Q Just tell how you saw them set afire, whether it was by one man or two or a party of people?

A Two or three or four did the firing of practically all the buildings there.

Q Explain their operation, would they fire one building and go to another?

A Yes, sir, this was away after ten o’clock, the negroes had been gone five hours from there and the excitement was practically all down, when any of those houses north of Easton, those good houses in the residence district were all burned after ten fifteen or ten thirty.

Q Where were the military authorities then?

A They come in at nine o’clock and I seen them parading, 1 expected the militia over there but they were just parading around the city having a promenade. I don’t know just what they were doing.

Q I will ask you, judge, after you phoned the police station for help, i£ you saw the chief of police or any police officer over there?

A Yes, there was four came over there .

Q What did they do?

A They were the chief fellows setting fires.

Q Were they in uniform?

A No, I can’t say —

Q Did they have on stars?

A They had ·stars, they had badges on: just one man, they called him Brown, l believe, a red complected fellow, I knew him as a policeman but the others I only knew from the badges they wore.

Q You say the red complected man you knew as a policeman?

A Yes.

Q Did you know his name?

A I understood they called him Brown.

A Was he with the party that was setting fire to houses?

A Yes, he and Cowboy Long were the chief burners.

Q Brown and Cowboy Long?

A Yes, sir.

Q How many houses did you see them set fire to?


N. Detroit home being burned after looting.

A I never seen them actually set the fire to but one, they went in and when they came out the houses were burning, you know. I kept begging all the time to spare the houses because my property was just across the street from there, and when they burned them with the wind blowing as it was strongly from the east, it would burn me out. I was chiefly interested in the fire in that particular . But when they had –

Q You say you saw them set fire to one house?

A Yes.

Q How did they do it , tell the jury.

A They threw a lot of gasoline and coal oil back in the butlery at Dr. Jackson’s, that was Dr. Jackson’s house.

Q Was that before or after he was killed?

A That was after he was killed, that was two hours and a half or nearly three hours after he was killed.

Q These four men that you saw in a party, was there anybody else with them or ·were they travelling from place to place themselves?


N. Detroit homes being looted.

A They were scattered around there, quite a large number of people looting the houses and taking out everything. There wasn’t no excitement particularly. Some were singing, some were playing pianos that were taken out of the buildings, some were running victrolas, some dancing a jig and just having a rolicing easy good time in a business which they thought they were doing that was upright.

Q Aside from these men that you took to be police officers, the one you have called Brown and the one you have called Cowboy Long that party—

A He wasn’t a policeman.

Q I am not saying, judge, that he was, I say, in the party where you saw one man you called Brown, you knew he was a policeman—

A Yes, he had been.

Q —and in the party you saww a fellow by the name of Cowboy Long?

A Yes.

Q Did you see any other party or any other police officers over there that morning?

A There were four police officers there, three with this other one and Brown.

Q What were they doing, the three that were with Brown’?

A They were working in conjunction with that outfit there.

Q Doing what?

A Doing burning and looting or carrying out things and doing that which was as they said they were ordered to destroy— that ain’t the word they used. I don’t remember the word he used but it was to the effect that they was going to make the destruction complete.

Q Did you make any effort to prevent them?

A I did all the time I was— I had really protected the property from three or four crowds of fellows there that morning and this last crowd made an agreement that they would not burn that property because I thought it would burn mine too And I promised that if they wouldn’t, they made the promise if they would leave it I would see that no negroes ever lived in that row of houses any more. I promised all right.

Q You promised all right?

A Yes, sir, I promised, I didn’t know whether I could make good or not but I was going to try it.

Q Did you see any other police officers there that morning?

A No, sir, 6h, no, there wasn’t any others all the morning I seen anywhere.

Q Did you see any taking property out of houses.

A Oceans of it, they absolutely sacked all the houses and took everything out.

Q What was the nature of the property that was taken out?

Q Well, pianos, victrolas, clothing, chairs, musical instruments, clothing or all kinds, men, women and children would go in the house end fill up pillow cases, sheets and clothing and carry them out and carry them away.

Q Judge, how far was Dr. Jackson from you when he was shot?

A About twenty five, between twenty five and thirty feet.

Q How was he walking?

A He was walking right straight towards us, me and the other two fellows that was at my left and the other fellow that was at my right·, he was coming directly to me , I think.

Q Was he making a demonstration with his hands?

A No, he had··his hands that way (indicating). He says “Here am I, take me”, or something to that effect.

Q About what time, judge, did the trouble end, the burning?

A The burning?

Q Yes. sir.

A About ten thirty, a little after, it was all destroyed and the best of those houses were practically burned down all right through there at ten thirty.

Q At ten thirty?

A And at eleven thirty, about eleven o’clock the militia come over, marched over that way

Q And there wasn’t any disturbance after that, was there, along about eleven o’clock?

A No, no.

Q Did you see anybody else shot except Dr. Jackson?

A No, I am not certain that I did.

Q Sir?

A I am not certain that I did . I seen them shooting at each other, some in the windows of the school house I took to be colored men and probably one or two in the Baptist Church there in the window above.

Q Did you see any colored men or negro men shooting from the Baptist Church over there?

A No, I didn’t see them shoot, I heard the reports from that locality and I heard the balls whistle over my head as I passed.

Q About what time was that?

A Oh, this was early in the morning, about — between four thirty and five o’clock or five thirty, just about an hour’s time, right early in the morning.

Q Just about eight or nine o’clock what was the condition, was there a raging battle between a large number of armed people, or was it this looting by individuals?

A There wasn’t anything at all going on but the looting at that time, they were all gone, the niggers run away and give themselves up there in an hour’s time after I was up after the thing begun at four thirty in the morning.

Q Judge, when you phoned the police station what reply did you get?

A He said — somebody in there, I thought I knew the voice but I am not certain, he said “I will do the best I can for you.” I told him who I was, I wanted some policeman, I says, “If you will send me ten policemen I will protect all this property and save a million dollars worth of stuff they were burning down and looting.” I asked the fire department for the fire department to be sent over to help protect my property and they said they couldn’t come, they wouldn’t let them.

Q Did the policemen ever come that you called for?

A Well, I don’t know, those policemen, those four came over, I don’t know whether they came in obedience to my request. If they did I am mighty sorry they came, I wish they hadn’t come.

Q They are the ones you said were looting?

A They were helping burn, they were working in conjunction with the fellows there that were burning.

Q They were helping burn?

A Yes, sir.

Q Did any policemen come in response to your request that assisted in preventing any looting or burning or killing?

A Not one single one, not one. I got no assistance or encouragement from anyone, sheriff’s office or them either.

MR FREELING: I believe that is all.


Q, Where do you say you live?

A I live over there on Easton close to Detroit.

Q I don’t know where that is.

A That is right on stand pipe hill, I live there and there is where my property is.

Q You live on stand pipe hill?

A Yes, sir, I have lived there for sixteen years.

Q How far do you live from this district that was burned out?

A My property lies right across the street from that, right up to it, that is, part of it, I have got two houses there.

Q When was it that the shooting first commenced over in that neighborhood.

A Oh, about four thirty, between that, four and five o’clook.

Q Just about daylight?

A Yes, just good daylight, they come up there in uniform, I took them all to be ex-service men.

Q In uniform?

A Yes, they had the khaki uniform on. all except two boys that I seen, two or three boys.

Q Were they armed?

A Yes, sir, those boys were armed all right .

Q What kind of guns did they have?

A One of them had a high powered gun.

Q What do you mean by a high powered gun?

A One of these rapid shooters.

Q How is that?

A I call them rapid shooting guns, I thought he had a Henry, it might have been a Winchester. I don’t know, I didn’t take it only just seen it, seen it was a high powered gun.

Q You mean they were rifles?

A Yes, sir.

Q How many of those men did you see first?

A Well, there was about forth or fifty of them there right on the hill when I came out — just coming up on the bill when I came out and came down on the park.

Q Did they appear to be in command of anybody?

A No, I can’t say about that, they all seemed to be looking over there to see somebody shooting out across Detroit.

Q Were this party on the hilltop?

A They were forming along on the east side of the hill, right along the hill, the hill runs clear down to Detroit along back of my houses, they were forming along there, some forty or fifty of them.

Q Do you know whether they were the officers or not?

A No, sir, I don’t know anything about it.

Q Did you see anybody among them that appeared to be an officer?

A No, sir, I didn’t see anybody that appeared to be an officer, I knew some of them.

Q How is that?

A I knew some of them but they were—

Q Who did you know?

A I knew Voorhis.

Q What does he do?

A He was an overseas— I knew him because I know his father well and his father is a friend of mine, his father is dead now.

Q Member o£ the national guard here?

A Yes, he is a member of the national guard because he was a policeman after the war was over, he was in the service then.

Q Wasn’t this bunch of men you saw there members of the national guard?

A Well, I don’t know, they all had on khaki uniforms , I took them to be overseas soldiers and they may have been a part of the national guard, not— those that came from Oklahoma City you mean?

Q I mean the company that lives here.

A Well, some of them were, I think.

Q Did they have a machine gun there with them?

A The machine gun was just down on Detroit just below me there.

Q You know where the machine gun was, do you?

A Yes, sir.

Q How far were they from where the machine gun was?

A Oh, they were a block and a half or two blocks from the machine gun.

Q You say they were shooting from both ways?

A Yes, they— I heard the balls whistle from both ways from over there on the— early when the fighting begun, they was fighting there, shooting and quite a number of shots from each side.

Q You couldn’t say which side— you mean the negroes were firing?

A Yes, sir, across there on Elgin, Elgin and Frankfort, along in there you know they had some high powered guns, and the balls carried clear over to my home pretty near a quarter of a mile away.

Q How frequent was the firing, judge?

A It could be a half a dozen shots, then be intervals and then you know two or three other shots. .

Q How long could the intervals be?

A Two or three shots, sometimes, you know, getting ready— I suppose they were looking to see them appear at the windows in the brick buildings, that is what 1 judged.

Q How frequently was the shooting that came from the negro settlement?

A Well, as I told you, two or three shots, maybe a half a dozen shots, and two or three or four shots; you know, but it soon ended.

Q Probably a few hundred shots in an hour?

A Yes, sir; I should judge that anyhow, I should judge a few hundred shots.

Q These men that were stationed on the hill there, they were answering back the shooting that came from the negroes?

A Yes, they were shooting back at each other all right.

Q You say that was about four thirty in the morning?

A That is when that commenced, yes, sir.

Q How long before it stopped?

A It was all over before five thirty anyhow.

Q You mean the shooting right in that immediate neighborhood?

A Yes, sir.

Q When you say the shooting was over you don’t mean the shooting was over throughout the city at that time?

A I think that is the last place where there was any shooting or any consequence occurred that morning because they had been driven out down below there.

Q How many armed negroes did you see around there that morning?

A I couldn’t tell, I only seen them across there, a black or two you know at the windows two or three times.

Q In your judgment about how many armed negroes did you see over there that morning?

A I seen four or five running around the hill you know, there wasn’t many there that I seen.

Q, How many places did you observe they were shooting from there?

A About three places.

Q How many armed white men did you see over there?

A There were quite — there was a hundred or two or three perhaps.

Q Were they all stationed on the hill?

A Well, they came up on the hill and then went around down north of Fairview and then some of them came down to where I was on Detroit.

Q Those men were shooting back and forth at each other, the negroes and the white people you spoke of, was that the time you phoned to the police station?

A I did before that and since.

Q Did you during the time that shooting was going on?

A No, sir, I couldn’t get away from where 1 was just then, I didn’t go to a phone at that time, I thought I could stop the business when I went down there but I wasn’t able to do it.

Q What time was this that Dr. Jackson was shot?

A Just about eight o’clock, between seven thirty and eight o’clock.

Q These men that were with you at the time the shooting occurred, were they part of the same men that were on the hilltop?

A Well I expect that some of them were but I am not certain whether they were or not.

Q How were they dressed?

A Some of them had on khaki uniforms. some of them in citizens clothes, the two young men that done the shooting of Jackson didn’t have on uniform of any kind.

Q They didn’t have a uniform?

A No.

Q Did you know them?

A No, sir, I did not.

Q Had you ever seen them before?

A I couldn’t say, I don’t know anything about them.

Q Have you’ ever seen them since?

A No, sir.

Q Did you know the men that were in uniform along with the boys that did the shooting?

A No, sir, I didn’t. I probably knew some of them because I am well acquainted here, but I don’t remember, judge, I don’t remember the individual person. The excitement was pretty heavy and I had so many things to think about and try to do that I couldn’t [c]harge.judge. I couldn’t remember just who was in the party.

Q How long had they been with you at that place before they shot Dr. Jackson?

A Well, not very long.

Q Ten minutes?

A I had been right around there for a couple of hours but they hadn’t been there but very few minutes, they just came in a gang.

Q You had talked to them before Dr. Jackson came up there, hadn’t you?

A Sir?

Q You had talked to these boys that were there before Dr. Jackson came up?

A Yes, I kept telling them all the time not to burn the houses there because they would burn me up if they did.

Q About what time in the morning did you say it was Dr. Jackson was shot?

A Right close to eight o’clock, between seven thirty and eight o’clock.

[Page 17 is missing]


A Yes, they were only three places, the school house and the Baptist Church and a brick grocery store.

Q What kind of buildings were those, brick buildings?

A Brick buildings.

Q From those buildings they were shooting?

A Yes, sir.

Q And that was about all the brick buildings there were in that section?

A There was a few others, but they were prominent, they were where they could be seen easily.

Q Those were the prominent buildings in the negro section?

A Yes, sir, that part of it, in the residence portion.

Q What did you say to whoever you got in touch with at the police station when you phoned?

A I wanted them to send me up about ten policemen and help me protect that property, judge. I guess I said my property and I said we could care for all that property if I had them, I had watched it for two or three hours.

Q Did you know to whom you talked in the police station?

A No, I am not certain.

Q You didn’t ask any name?

A No, I asked if that was the police office and he said it was. I don’t think it was Mr. Gustafsen, it didn’t talk like him.

Q You don’t think it was Mr. Gustafsen?

A No, I don’t.

Q They did tell you they would try to send you help?

A Yes, sir, they said they would do the best they could to send me somebody to help.

Q, Now after that you phoned again to the police station?

A Yes, sir.

Q, What time?

A That is, there was some fellows came there about nine o’olock and began talking about burning and then I phoned again but didn’t get anybody.

Q You didn’t get anybody?

A I sent two or three fellows over there and to the sheriff’s office to tell them to come over and help me, just to give me ten fellows.

Q You sent some men to come over to the sheriff’s office?

A To the sheriff’s office and to police headquarters.

Q But you didn’t get in touch over the phone any more with the police headquarters?

A No, I don’t think I did, I don’t remember now that I did.

Q These men that came over there about nine o’clock, how many were in that crowd?

A Well, that wasn’t the last crowd, that wasn’t the crowd that done the burning. They came there about ten or ten fifteen, the crowd that done the burning.

Q How many of them were there?

A There was twenty five or thirty in the gang.

Q How many gangs?

A There was only the one gang came then and they had been three a time or two. Some others had talked about burning but these fellows came there—

Q Hadn’t there, judge, early that morning, been hundreds of men over through that section of town?

A They came through, the home guards marched up there at eight o’clock up Detroit in single file at eight o’clock and I thought they was going to help us, I thought that would end the trouble and it would have done if they had stayed there, but they marched up there on the hill, Sunset Hill and stayed up there where they could do no good on earth.

Q That was the national guard that did that?

A Yes.

Q The local company that is located here?

A Yes, sir .

Q Do you know whom they were in charge of?

A No; I did know at the time, sir, but I don’t remember now. They marched in single file with their guns.

Q Do you know Colonel Rooney?

A Oh, yes, I know him very well, I don’t think he was in command, yet he may have been, I know colonel very well. He was over there in that locality before and I think after .

Q He had been over there that morning?

A Yes, sir, and 1 think he rendered good service too.

Q He was the officer that has control of the local company here, isn’t he?

A Yes, he is the officer, I understand so, but I don’t know whether he was in charge of the company at that time.

Q How long did the company stay over there?

A They went up on the hill and I didn’t watch them, I didn’t have time to watch them, I don’t know what became of them.

Q You don’t know how long they stayed there?

A They didn’t come back, I thought they were going to stay there.

Q In addition to that company there were other men went over in uniform?

A Oh, yea, they were gathered around there pretty thick, every once in a while a squad came over.

Q Would it be safe to say, judge, that men were over there that appeared to be officers to the number of one hundred that morning, including the national guard?

A Well, there was a hundred, over a hundred that were in uniform, khaki uniforms: I don’t know whether they pretended to be officers or what office they performed but they were there all right.

Q You say the negroes left that section there near you early that morning?

A Yes, about six o’clock — a little before five or about five or shortly afterwards I saw a negro groceryman over on Elgin, I hollered to him and told him if they didn’t come out of there and get protection they would every one be killed and for him to tell them so and he did so. All up that street then, Professor Hughes and all them folks came out and gave themselves up, to our fellows that were taking— conducted to the—

Q The officers that were over there did take charge practically then of the entire negro population that was in that section?

A The men in khaki uniforms did, yes.

Q Before the negroes had been run off?

A Yes, yes, every one of them, they brought them off and brought them down to Convention Hall.

Q And they were taken charge of by officers that were there?

A Yes, about six o’olock they got hold of them.

Q During ‘the time you say the buildings were burned over there, the negro population had all been removed to Convention Hall?

A Either that or they had left, run east around the hill; there wasn’t any neggers there at all.

4, Did you know any of those persons that did any of the burning?

A I know the faces of some of them but I don’t know of anybody.  I can’t tell of anybody except what I have already testified to.

Q Have you seen any of them since that?

A Not a single one, and not one; I have looked for them too.

Q You haven’t seen any of them?

A No.

Q You don’t know anything about what they were doing there except that they were burning the property?

A No. that is all; they seemed to be having a good time in their proper element. They burned the houses after they were all robbed you know, looted.

Q You say that women and children were looting the houses as well as men?

A Sure.

Q Did you know any of the women and children?

A I knew the faces of some of them but I couldn’t tell the names.

Q You couldn’t tell the names?

A They got considerable of that property back that they taken over there, I helped to get some of it.

Q You say there was a fellow by the name of Brown?

A That is what they said, I don’t know his name. I know the man all right if I would see him, he was a red complected fellow.

Q Have you seen him around the court house here?

A No, sir, I haven’t seen him here.

Q Have you seen him since that day?

A I haven’t seen him since that day.

Q Have you been to the police station since that?

A No, I haven’t.

Q Will you go there and see if you can find him and report back here?

MR FREELING: To which we object as incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q This Cowboy Long, what about him, who was he?

A I only know him by what they said his name was, they threatened that when he come he would fix them houses quick, and he did.

Q Did you ever see him before?

A I think I have seen him before but I don’t know.

Q Have you seen him since?

A I haven’t seen him since.

Q Read about him in the newspapers?

A Yes, sir.

Q For years?

A For years.

Q You have read about him in the newspapers?

Yes, I knew the reputation of the fellow.

Q He is a notorious bootlegger, isn’t he?

A Yes, no question about that; I knew that at that time. When they called his name I feared him because I had heard about him .

Q Did you talk to him over there?

A Yes, and he and Brown were the fellows I made a dicker with to save the houses if they wouldn’t burn them I would prevent any negroes from living in them.

Q  At the time they were burning these houses where was the national guard, still on the hill?

A No. They had gone I guess. You see that was nearly five hours after the fight was over, over there, the real fighting, pretty near five hours.

Q, The national guard had left the place?

A I think so entirely, I don’t think there was any of the national guard there, I don’t remember any of them .

Q There wasn’t anybody in an official capacity there at that time?

A Yes, there was one. This man Voorhis. One fellow threatened me and he said to him– I know hie father, he is a Missourian, so am I, he says, ”If you hurt that man there will be something doing damn quick here”, I heard that. I heard that and walked away.

Q Voorhis is a member of the national guard?

A Yes, sir.

Q And working with the police at that time?

A He was working there and trying to do something He is a good fellow too.

Q He was doing all he could to protect property?

A I don’t know what he was doing really, I knew he protected me all right.

Q He protected you?

A Yes, he did that.

Q He was the only one there at that time, you say?

A There might have been others, judge, but I don’t remember.

Q Do you know when the city was put under martial law?

A I think it was about twelve o’clock, I think, I don’t know—

Q You know it was put under martial law?

A Yes, yes, I know.

Q And that the officers came from the state capitol here?

A Yes, they come but they didn’t come over there.

Q They didn’t come over there?

A No, sir, they got off of the train at nine o’clock, I had sent for· them, I see the train pull in, I said “We are safe now.” An hour and a half after that all those buildings were standing there. I sent for them, I sent for the militia to come, send over fifteen or twenty or them that is all I wanted.

Q Who did you send to?

A I sent to the—directed it to Charlie Barrett and an old friend of mine.

Q Did you get in touch with General Barrett?

A No, I didn’t get— I don’t know whether they did, he said they were coming over.

Q Did you talk with somebody on the phone or did you go to see them?

A I sent a man over, I sent a man to see the mayor and have the soldiers come over there immediately after they arrived, and he told me he would try to have them come.

Q Who was the man ths.t you sent?

A Well, air, I don’t know, I sent several fellows.

Q Did you tell them to go to General Barrett?

A I told them to go over there and have the soldiers come over here at once .

Q You knew General Barrett was there?

A No, I hadn’t seen him, I supposed he would be here but I didn’t see him.

Q You understood he was adjutant general of the state?

A I knew he was.

Q He was an old friend of yours?

A ‘Yes, sir.

Q You wanted him to understand about this matter and you sent to him telling him you were wanting some men to come out and help protect your property and their property?

A Yes, sir, that is a fact.

Q And that train came in at about nine o’clock?

A Yes, sir.

Q How long was it before you saw any of the militia over there?

A About eleven o’clock.

Q About eleven o’clock?

A They came over the hill at eleven o’olock when everything was burned.

Q, Between the time the militia arrived and the time they got over to your place this burning took place?

A Yes, sir.

Q When you spoke of the burning there do you mean the negro district that was burned out was adjacent to you?

A I mean all that good residence district north of Easton and east of Detroit, of course. They had burned down about the main part of the city, they had been burning that before they commenced on this property up there, the good residence portion wasn’t burned until nine or ten fifteen or ten thirty.

Q And that property was burned, notwithstanding there was a lot of militia on hill previous to that?

A They bad been there previously, yes, sir, the militia had, but they wasn’t there then, they had perhaps gone,

Q How many people were engaged in the burning of property there?

A In that property there burning north of—

Q, Yes.

A Oh, there wasn’t over eight or ten or fifteen.

Q Eight or ten or fifteen did all that burning?

A Yes, sir.

Q, Was there any other people there armed?

A Yes, there were, I understood that— I don’t know how armed they were but they were there.

Q How many?

A Say one hundred or two, most of them was carrying away goods, and furniture and so forth.

Q ·Now at ten to ten thirty, the morning of June the lst, how many men would you say there were in your presence or in your neighborhood there that were looting or burning or armed men, people running around there?

A There wasn’t over ten or fifteen or twenty of the men who were armed doing the burning or destroying.

Q, How many were doing the looting?

Q Oh, a hundred or two, they kept coming and going, judge; I couldn’t tell how many there were, both men, women and children, boys and girls carried away things.

Q Where they people that lived in the neighborhood?

A Some of them were, yes, sir.

Q You mean to say you could see the people on stand pipe hill from where you lived?

A From where I lived?

Q Yes.

A I am right there on the hill, right on top of it.

Q This national guard that was up there, how close were they to your house?

A Passed right by my house. part of them come right on the walk there right close there.

Q Did they take a station there somewhere?

A They kept going there and forming along on the east brow of the hill, and that is when— that was early in the morning you know, just daylight.

Q This machine gun, where was it?

A That was down on Detroit.

Q How far from your house?

A Oh, that was three or four blocks from my house, but only about two blocks from where I was when I got over on Easton and Detroit.

Q How many men were there when the machine gun was there?

A I didn’t go to the machine gun. They told me that was a machine gun, I heard it shoot. I knew it was an extraordinary shot but it didn’t shoot very fast.

Q Judge, are you friendly or unfriendly to the present city administration?

A Well, sir, I helped to put them in, I guess I am friendly.

Q You know whether you are or not, don’t you?

A Yes, I know I am so far as— they are my personal friends, all of them. Of course I don’t like the way they done on that day but that don’t knock out our friendship.

Q I don’t mean your personal friendship for the men, you are not friendly to them as officials at this time, are you, judge?

A I can’t say but what I am, sir.

Q How do you feel toward Chief Gustafson?

A I think he didn’t do his duty and of course I am not so very friendly to him as an officer.

Q You are not friendly?

A No, sir, I say that frankly.

Q LEAHY: That is all.


N. Detroit in ruins.


Q Why are you not?

A Because I don’t believe he done his duty there in protecting me and property.

MR MOSS: Comes now the defendant and moves the Court to strike out the answer of the witness on the ground and for the reason that the same in incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.

THE COURT: Overruled.

MR MOSS: Exception.

MR FREELING: That is all.

Witness excused.

Small Question

ImagesDoes anyone know where these originals of these images are from.  The top is one of two that has handwritten notes on what businesses were on Greenwood before they were burned.  It was taken probably a few days after the events based on the tidiness of the streets, and the electrical lines having been removed.  The relative intact walls and the presence of the burnt out car indicate it’s not very long after though.

The bottom picture is of Mt Zion church before it was burned so probably 1920-early 21.

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.



A Survey of the Tulsa Race Riot Photographs, Part 2

These are the 15 post cards. Please be aware that some of these images are very graphic. The titles are taken from the postcards themselves. The numbering sequence is from The Department of Special Collections and University Archives, McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa. The images are the set labeled TU1. They are used with permission. Dimensions given are in centimeters, and are of the actual image, not the post card. Other collections mentioned are

  • Ruth Sigler Avery Collection OSU Tulsa.
  • HJ. Hannibal Johnson’s private collection
  • Beryl Ford Collection
  • OHS Oklahoma Historical Society
  • GCC Greenwood Cultural Center
  • Digital Set.

Post Card Backs:
There are two backs found on the post cards, the first is found on the sets at TU, the second is found in Hannibal Johnson’s set. It is my belief that HJ’s is a set printed in the 1940s (based on the finishing) and is a reproduction of one other original sets.


Typical backpostcardback2HJ’s back.


Riot011. Scene during Tulsa Race Riot, June 1st, 1921 A post card showing a group of African Americans and armed Whites in civilian attire standing on a road. There is. A building and two vehicles behind the crowd. One man is refilling the radiator of one of the vehicles. TU 1: 12.8×8.2 TU 2: 12.4×7.75. Noticeably less detailed, brighter. Post card stamp is darker. Crop loses 2mm on the left side, and 4mm off the bottom. Ruth Sigler Avery: Three photographic reproductions, one (c:76) is not of postcard and shows far more detail on the left including another car. (c:74) also not of post card but more cropped. (c:75) is image of postcard, and heavily cropped. Beryl Ford: Two photographic reprints. (A2441) is not of the post card, and shows more detail of the left. May be a copy from the same original image that (Ruth Sigler Avery: c:74) is. (A2530) the lower left corner has been torn away. OHS: Photo reproduction appears file, no source attribution, although probably TU1. A second copy is numbered 16947. Digital set: Card has been folded and the emulsion damaged. Crop cuts off the man filling the radiator. GCC: 3 photographic reproductions of the original image, and one of TU 1.
Riot022. Little Africa on fire. Tulsa Race Riot. June 1st, 1921. A scene from the roof of the Hotel Tulsa on 3rd St. Between Boston Ave and Cincinnati Ave. The first row of buildings is along 2nd St. The smoke cloud on the left (Cincinnati Ave. and the Frisco tracks) is identified in the Tulsa Tribune version of the photo as being where the fire started. The “standpipe” water tank of Standpipe Hill is in the distance along Cincinnati. A rough estimate of the shadows places this photo at about 8 am the morning of the 1st of June. Alvin Krupnick, Photographer? TU 1: 12.8×8.2 TU 2: HJ: 12.9×8. The enlargement, crops off 12mm from left, although there is a little more data on the right side. Digital set: Emulsion is damaged and bubbled. The crop loses the buildings in the near foreground. GCC: Photographic reproduction of TU 1.

Riot033. Scene at Convention Hall. Tulsa Race Riot, June 1st, 1921. A truck is parked in front of the Convention Hall. One man lies on the bed of the truck, either wounded or dead, while two others sit to either side. It is my belief that the man lying on the truck may be Dr. Jackson.  A man in civilian attire stands guard over them. A crowd is gathered around the door to the building. The shadows suggest late morning, possibly around 11. Charles L. Reeder? TU 1: 12.2×8.2. Faded. There is a 2mm wide strip to the left of the gearshift that is present, and 4mm cropped out from the right. There is 6mm more at the top. TU 2: 12.8×7.8. Darker HJ: 13×8 Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reproductions, not of postcard. One is seriously cropped (c:62), other shows moored information on the left. (C:63) Beryl Ford: Two photographic reproductions. (A2517) is cropped along the left side. (A2536) is heavily cropped all around. OHS: Two photo reproductions appear, no source attribution. Digital set: In very good condition. GCC: 4 photographic reproductions of the original image, but not of the post card.

Riot044. All that was left of his home after Tulsa Race Riot, 6-1-1921. An unidentified man standing along amidst the desolation and ruins of what is described as his home. The placement of the ruins of Dunbar Elementary School in the background indicated that this photo was taken either on North Greenwood, or North Frankfurt, facing east. Not ruins of Dunbar, down town, so facing south TU 1: 13×8.2. Faded. Shows soil before the leading edge of the foundation. TU 2: 12.5×7.8. Darker. Cropped to the leading edge of the foundation. Loses part of the trees to the left. HJ: 13×8.2. Faded.cropped to the top of the leading edge of the foundation. Ruth Sigler Avery: Photographic reproduction. Text present but very faint. Cropped in on the sides (c:54) Beryl Ford: (A2509). Photographic reproduction, no text shows, and there is more data on both left and right sides. Likely not the post card. OHS: Digital set: In very good condition. GCC: One original postcard, and 1 photographic reproduction.

Riot055. Little Africa on fire. Tulsa Race Riot, June 1st, 1921 Taken from on top of the Santa Fe Freight office at 1st St. and Elgin Ave., showing the fires on Archer towards Greenwood. The Goodner-Malone company (1 N. Frankfurt Ave.) building is in the center of the photo. TU 1: 12.6×8.1 TU 2: Ruth Sigler Avery: 2 photographic reprints. One heavily cropped, other has a few mm more data than TU1 (1:3, 1:4) Beryl Ford: (A2432, A2525). Two photographic reproductions. 2432 is lastly more cropped on the left. OHS: Digital set: GCC:

Riot066. Negro slain in the Tulsa Race Riot. June-1-1921. A man lying dead in the street, with a sheet or piece of paper covering his face. This victim appears in a number of images taken from different angles at different times. TU 1: 12.8×8.5 TU 2: HJ: 13×7.9. Cropped to remove standing guy’s face. Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reproductions. (C:91) similar to TU1, with notation on original image, “no he’s white. See his [arm]. Covered his face to call him colored.” Notation is in error. (c:92) shows a much clearer image, but slightly cropped along the left. Beryl Ford: (A2465) Photographic reproduction. Too much has been cropped away to tell if is from the post card or not. Note: image is reversed. Digital set: Crop shows more of the standing man’s face.

Riot077. Captured Negroes on way to Convention Hall during Tulsa Race Riot, June 1st, 1921. A group of detainees being marched past the corner of 2nd and Main under armed guard. The building in the background is 202 S. Main, on the southwest corner. Based on the shadows of the building and the people, it is late morning. They are heading east (or are turning to head east) on 2nd, so it is more likely that they are among those being marched south towards the trucks to take them to McNulty Park than to be heading towards the Convention Hall, which is several blocks north of this intersection. This indicates that the title which was taken from the writing on the face of the postcard is incorrect. TU 1: 12.8×8.1. More faded. Cropped higher. Shows all of dentists sign, but cuts off shoes. TU 2: 12.8×7.1. Cropped lower, cuts off part of dentists sign, and shoes. HJ: 12.8×8. Cropped lower, cut off dentists sign, but shows shoes. Ruth Sigler Avery: 2 photographic reprints. One shoes more detail above dentist’s office, caption on back is wrong (c:57), one more cropped (c:58) Beryl Ford: (A2510). Photographic reproduction. Heavily cropped. Some damage to original card is evident. Digital set: Image shows some sign of poor storage, GCC: 5 photographic reproductions

Riot088. National Guard machine gun crew during Tulsa Race Riot, 6-1-21 A squad of National Guard troops on a flatbed truck holding an M1917.30 caliber machine gun.   It should be noted that there is no water hose to the cooling system, supporting the National Guard’s reports that the machine gun they drove around really wouldn’t work for sustained fire.  TU 1: 12.9×8. Brighter, lower contrast. Blurrier, consistent with being a photographic copy. However, 4mm more data exist along the left side. TU 2: 12.5×7.8. Higher contrast, better image. OHS: Photo reproduction appears file, no source attribution, although probably TU1.

Riot099. Truck being used to gather up colored victims during Tulsa Race Riot, 6-1-21 A pair of men have loaded two wicker coffins onto a truck at the Courthouse. TU 1: 12.7×8.5. Brighter, lower contrast. Shows 8mm more image on the left, revealing more building, and part of another vehicle. TU 2: 12.8×7.4. Shows 10mm more data along the right side, revealing a woman standing behind a tree. Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reproductions. One heavily cropped, with notation on front of original image “no they were white, colored were not so decently carried” (c:60). One shows far more detail of the truck on the left. (C:61) OHS: Photo reproduction appears file, no source attribution, although probably TU1. Digital set: Slight staining on the image. GCC: Photographic duplicate.

Riot1010. Ruins of the Tulsa Race Riot 6-1-21 Taken from the Tulsa Pressed Brick Co. The ruins of Dunbar Elementary School and the Masonic Hall (501 N. Greenwood) are in the background. TU 1: 7.8×12.6. Lighter, but clearer. 4mm along the top show more of the train in the background. 4mm cropped from the left side, 3mm along right side more of the bedstead. About 3mm cropped from the bottom. TU 2: 7.9×12.6. Darker. Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reprints. One heavily cropped, other shows more info on the left side. More clear view of train and buildings in the background. (1:7,1:8) Beryl Ford: Two photographic reproductions. (A2430) is cropped all around. (A5237) resembles TU1. OHS: There is a very similar picture in the NYC Illustrated News, June 6, 1921 taken from virtually the same spot, but part of the Masonic Hall is collapsed (attributed to Underwood). However this photo does appear in the Chicago Defender, June 11, 1921, the St Louis Argus, June 10, 1921, NYC Midweek Pictoral June 16 1921, Chicago Whip June 11 1921, NYC Literary Digest, June 18, 1921, Digital set: Crop shows more of Dunbar Elementary School and the train behind it. GCC: Photographic reproduction of TU 1:

Riot1111. Burning of church where ammunition was stored during Tulsa Race Riot 6-1-1921. Mt. Zion Baptist Church is burning in this picture taken about Cameron St. and Elgin Ave. The Church was rumored at the time to have been a storehouse for weapons and ammunition. TU 1: 12.7×7.9. Ruth Sigler Avery: Photographic reprint, slightly more cropping that TU1 (c:21). Caption on back is wrong. Photographic reprint. Shows far more detail on the left, including more buildings. (C:20) Digital set: Staining of the emulsion, but otherwise more clear than usual .

Riot1212. National Guards taking Negroes to ball park for protection. Race Riot at Tulsa June 1st 1921 A large group of people are being escorted by several men in civilian attire with an automobile alongside. They have just crossed the tracks and are passing in front of the Continental Supply Co. (offices at 19 S. Main). There is an issue with this image since while the Continental Supply Co. on the south side of the tracks, the address is on the east side of the street. The structures in the rest of the image are also not consistent with this being that part of Main St. TU 1: 12.8×8.3. Dark. 3mm extra on right. There are several marks on the negative that suggest damage to the emulsion on either the negative or the picture these were copied from. HJ: 13×8. Brighter, lower resolution. 2mm more information on the right show a more detail of an automobile. Ruth Sigler Avery: Photographic reproduction (c:72). Note (c:73) was taken in same location at a slightly different time. Beryl Ford: (A2450, A2538). Two photographic reprints, A2450 is more heavily cropped on the left. OHS: Photo reproduction appears file, no source attribution, although probably TU1. GCC: 2 photographic reproductions of TU 1.

Riot1313. Ruins of the Tulsa Race Riot 6-1-21 Taken from the Tulsa Pressed Brick Co. looking towards downtown. TU 1: 12.6×8.4. TU 2: 12.4×7.2. Darker. Image has been tilted slightly to straighten the image of the burnt pole in the foreground, losing 4mm, and the top has been cropped by the same amount. Ruth Sigler Avery: One photographic reproduction. Heavily cropped. (C:5) Beryl Ford: Two photographic reproductions, both show damage to the original image not apparent on other copies. (A2429) is heavily cropped. (A2542) resembles TU1. OHS: Photo reproduction appears file, no source attribution. Digital set: Crop shows a little more of the foreground. GCC: 3 photographic reproductions.

Riot1414. Charred Negro killed in Tulsa Riot 6-1-1921 The unidentifiable body of a person after being burned, a motorcycle lies nearby. This same body appears in 3 photographs. In the original Schmidt image: 5.3×7.8. Good detail and depth. A small part of the right side, and a large chunk of the left side have been cropped away top and bottom have also been heavily cropped. Average area of the postcards would be about 3.5×6.3 at this scale. Francis Schmidt, photographer. TU 1: 8.3×12.1, although slanted slightly down to the right. Very light and low contrast. 2mm more on right edge. TU 2: 8.2×12.5. Darker and better contrast. HJ: 8×13. An enlargement from the other postcards. Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reproductions of the postcard. Badly cropped. (C:85, c:86) Digital set: Image is good condition.


15. A victim of Tulsa Race Riot 6-1-1921 An unidentified man lying between some tracks and a fence. Another man stands behind him, and shadows indicate several others just outside the image. This same body appears in 4 photographs. Based on correlating information from these images, the body was lying along the north side of the main Frisco tracks, just west of Cincinnati Ave. This image also appears in several crops. Based on the shadows, this image was taken as early as 7 in the morning of the 1st of June. TU 1: 11.3×8.8. Sides and top copped off. TU 2: 12×8. Washed out. Left side cropped out. HJ: 12.2×7.9. Sides cropped slightly. Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reproductions, (c:89) heavily cropped, closely resembles TU1. (C:90) has a much wider view of the feet of the men on the right .

A Survey of the Tulsa Race Riot post cards, Part 1

The firmgun2st question that seems to occur to most people when confronted by the existence of the postcards is “Why would someone do something as creepy as print post cards of this event?” To address that, we need to step back from the issue and look at the artifacts themselves. Because of the length of this discussion, broken into two sections.

This history of photographic post cards is going to be fairly simplistic. The 3 1/4″ by 5 1/2″ postcard was historically a very popular format for making images in the early part of the 20th century. The Kodak 3A folding pocket format camera was the first camera designed to take specifically postcard sized images, so the image could be easily transferred as a contact print, laying the negative on the card, and exposed with a light, then the image developed to be the same size as the negative. Bear with me, this is important.

Just to be clear, this is different from lithographically printed photographic postcards, which are made up of little dots. We are talking about true photographic prints, from a negative.

Kodak developed the 3A camera and the 122 format film in 1903 to take advantage of the popularity of the postcard for sending as mail, and the photographic postcard, with pictures the user had taken quickly became a major hit. So much so that until the 1940s, Kodak, and Anso, the primary competition kept 3A variant cameras in production, and the film was only discontinued only 1971. At 3 1/4″ by 5 1/2″ (8.3 x 13.9 mm) for an image, there were 6 or 10 images on a roll. Postcards done in this fashion are technically known as Real Photo Post Cards (or RPPC)

Why a contact print? Although the techniques for enlargement and reduction of photographs were developed in the early years of photography in the mid-19th century, and even allowed for a form of micro-filming to be done during the Siege of Paris in 1871, these techniques required expensive equipment, and a great deal of time and effort to make. Therefore, until the 1930s, although the technology existed, the majority of images made were done as contact prints, under

Just to add a couple of details. During the period of 1915/16 – 1930, Real Photo Post Cards, as well as normal postcards, were printed with white borders. In normal post cards, this was to save ink, I’m not sure what the rationale was for the real post cards, other than to emulate normal post cards, but this is a way of dating the images.

Another method for dating the images is that the silver gelatin used for these sorts of prints was relatively unstable until the after 1926, leading to the fading, and “sepia” appearance as the print ages. True photographs, printed properly did not generally have this problem.

Another method is the printing on the back of the card, specifically the box for the stamp. In the case of all the postcards that I could examine the backs, the printing indicated they are all “AZO” paper, and the 2 up, 2 down triangles, dates that paper as being made between 1918 – 1930.

Some of the images have different crops, which means that they were not necessarily taken with the correct type of camera meant for making a postcard. And because some of the images show up in other contexts (for example Image No. 2 was likely taken by Alvin Krupnick, and No. 14 was taken by Francis Schmidt), we may speculate that these sets may have been developed by the business that developed the pictures, and retained the negatives. These were then used without the permission of the photographers.

So, why were they being used? Of course we don’t know for certain, but presumably because the post card paper was cheaper that’s why they were generally used. However, because there is a clear “set” of pictures being made, we appear to have an attempt to make souvenir images. Were they ever meant to be mailed? Probably not, but even as souvenirs they are still disturbing to modern eyes.

For this survey, I examined two sets of cards in the collections in the Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa, and photocopies of a set in the private collection of Hannibal Johnson. The TU sets were acquired in 1989 and 2012. I also examined the photographs in the OSU Tulsa Ruth Sigler Avery Collection. I also examined the online versions of the postcards from the Beryl Ford collection. I used the online versions since what is housed at the Tulsa Historical Society and displayed at the Tulsa City-County Library, are photographic reproductions on 4×5 negatives made by Beryl Ford as opposed to original pieces. Finally I took a look at the images on the Oklahoma Historical Society’s microfilm compilation “The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921: Tulsa, Oklahoma”. I have also examined the collections at the Greenwood Cultural Center. Finally I also have in my possession a digital set made from an incomplete collection that is currently held in an unknown repository. There are 15 post cards in the most complete sets, although some have fewer.

Newsreel, part 2.

I mentioned earlier in the week in this post http://wp.me/s2x5bF-newsreel, that there was such a newsreel but I had no idea where that would be.  With the fantastic assistance of Brian Sargent, Fox Account Executive, ITN Source; Greg Wilsbacher, Curator, Newsfilm Collections, Moving Image Research Collections, University of South Carolina; Cherrie Brown, Administrative Assistant, Newsfilm Collections, Moving Image Research Collections, University of South Carolina; and Peter Bregman, Director of Archives at Fox Movietone News; and George Willeman, Nitrate Film Vault Manager at the Library of Congress, the actual original film has been located and will be re-digitized in order to make it more accessible.

The released newsreel was filmed by C. J. Kaho who operated out of Ft. Worth.  The  material was the lead story in Volume 2 Issue 71 of Fox News (released, Wed. June 8, 1921).   Fox News began regular release in October 1919 and officially ceased publication in the spring of 1930.


I frequently mention that I don’t post often, but I do try to limit my posts here to things of relevance.

Not long ago,while watching one of Jack Frank DVDs on the history of Tulsa in film clips, I noticed that he had found film footage from 1 June 1921, Tulsa.  Specifically, in case you want to actually see the footage, it appears on Fantastic Tulsa Films, Vol. 2 and More Tulsa Memories.  I spoke with Mr. Frank about this, and apparently the footage was produced by “Fox News” according to the caption cards.  He acquired it from the Fox Movietone archives.  Any existing film would likely be in the archives with Fox News, or at the University of South Carolina Fox News (1919-1930) collection.  I have not been able to find out which yet.

He gave me access to the file he used for the DVD.  Because since he paid to get permission to reproduce the footage for his projects, and I haven’t, I don’t have permission from the copyright holder to reproduce these images anywhere.  However, I can write about the film sequences.  If you want to see them, check out his DVDs.

I should note that there is occasional artifacting.  These artifacts are really not noticeable unless you are looking for them, and appear like old videotape lines.  I should mention that moving film is not my strong suit, preferring still pictures.

According to Wilsbacher, Greg. “Cameraman Authority File for Fox News (1919-1930).” version 2.1 (2012), these segments may have been taken by James C. Adams or J. T. Jenkins of Oklahoma City, or Keeslar Studio, Okmulgee.  More research is needed.

When the file starts it is dark until (0:09) where film leader has has written on it “Riots … Okla” and some other writing I can’t make out.

Title Card, which is very difficult to make out:  “Fox News.  … in …  First pictures …which … perished … were shot … quarter in flames”  There is more written on this card but I can’t make it out. (0:10)

Starting at (0:10).  Camera is situated on an elevation (Probably on top of a rail car), looking east at the smoke obscured Greenwood and Archer.  Slowly the camera pans left, a train moves into screen.  There is break in the film at (0:22), but continued with the sweep, finally looking up Elgin towards the burning of Mount Zion Church.  The shadows suggest that this sequence was taken around noon.

At (0:26) there is a quick cut to a closer view of Mount Zion burning.

Scene Card is unreadable (0:27)

West side of Greenwood, starting at the Williams Building showing people walking along Greenwood.  Beyond the end is the Brick Plant, then pans along the east side of Greenwood to the Woods building ruins.  The people walking are both African American and Caucasian.  There are no clear shadows so making a time of this sequence is difficult, however the fires appear to be out, and there is no real smoke (the Brick Plant is not obscured).  Many of the brick walls on the east side are clearly still standing, which will not be the case soon, and there are bricks in the street and the burnt out car on the west side, so the clean up has not yet begun.  This may have been taken on the 2nd of June or so.

Scene Card reads “Survivors flock to the Y.M.C.A and Red Cross for Refuge.” (0:42)

A group of African Americans outside the YMCA depicted in this image from the Beryl Ford collection: (http://cdm15020.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15020coll1/id/22883/rec/1).  At (0:47) there is a shift to the same building, looking more down the street. At (0:52) there is a shift to a different building with a prominent Red Cross.  At (0:59) a closeup of a woman at an information table talking to two African Americans.  A different woman walks in front of the camera, and tries to back out of shot.  Note this woman also appears in the clip starting at (0:52) being escorted by a young man with a red cross armband.

Neither of these scenes have any clear shadows, and since the African American folks are seeking assistance, this could be any time after the first day, but before the Red Cross built their new building.

Scene Card reads “State Troops are rushed to the scene to preserve order” (1:03)

A soldier with a bayonet mounted rifle stands guard while people move about.  At (1:10) there is a shift to a scene of National Guard troops taking a break.

Scene Card reads “Peaceable Negroes are given protection tags” (1:15)

A man with a “police protection” ribbon on his coat.  Behind hims stand three grim faced youths, and several African Americans walking around.  At (1:21) there is a close up of the “police protection” ribbon.

Scene Card reads “Food is rushed to the city to aid the striken victims” (1:23)

A food line has been assembled in a long building with trucks in it.

Film switches to trailer at (1:32) with a bit of writing at the very end that might say “movietone.”

New project

Reverend Jacob Hayes Hooker, Professional photographer.

I have been trying to find out who the photographers were who took the pictures of the riot.  Obviously, not everyone is ever going to be known, but these folks – for whatever reason – chose to document the race riot and its aftermath.  As a photographer myself, I have to respect that.

I have a current working listing up at http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/riot/photographers.htm since I’m still not used to doing the major work on WordPress.