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Tulsa Mulls Renaming Sites Under Klan's Shadow
City father Wyatt Tate Brady was a member
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jul 25, 2013 8:16 AM CDT
In this 1918 photo provided by the Tulsa Historical Society is Wyatt Tate Brady with his wife, Rachel.   (AP Photo/Tulsa Historical Society)

(Newser) – Wyatt Tate Brady helped turned Tulsa from a cluster of tents into a major Oklahoma city at the turn of the 20th century, and his name is attached to all kinds of local sites: a street, a neighborhood, a theater, and a mansion. But the shadow of his past is prompting some in the city to call for the renaming of the landmarks, the AP reports. Brady was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, a fact resurrected in a lengthy 2011 article on his past, and he may have been involved in a 1921 race riot that saw 300 black people killed. "There are councilors who are concerned and ashamed that we have this name, and we know what Mr. Brady stood for," says city councilor Jack Henderson.

He's calling for a new name for Brady Street, and the matter could face a vote next week. But there's opposition to name changes from some corners, including businesses in the Brady Arts District. "Removing the name is to surrender to the past," they wrote in a letter. "Rather than seeking to revise history, today's residents, visitors and merchants should regard the name as a demonstration of a new set of principles." Mayor Dewey Bartlett isn't a big fan of the idea, either. As for what Brady Street's new name could be, here's one possibility: Burlington Street, Tulsa World reports. The name appears on a 1907 map, says Henderson.

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Jul 25, 2013 9:38 PM CDT
I say take it to the public. Let them vote to change the name or remain the same as they are. Let the folks who live there make the decision. It is their money or taxes or both.
Jul 25, 2013 1:34 PM CDT
There are several issues going on here that can't be resolved just by renaming a street. First of all, its the Brady District because Tulsa decided to preserve one of the 20's era grand movie palaces. Tulsa is a bastion of art decco architecture and should really pat itself on the back for its massive preservation efforts. Tulsa has recovered from the Greenwood riots but in doing so, it did forget an important aspect of the riots. It forgot the people displaced by the fires. Had it burned down white wall street, they would have rebuilt it in a few months. But you can do down to the Greenwood area today and its mostly empty swaths of properties. Tulsa burned Black Wall Street, plain an simple. It did not teach it in schools and it was the worst race riot this nation has seen and that includes Watts, Rodney King, and Detroit. I attended the Tulsa schools for one year and they never mentioned it. I had to learn about Greenwood from the BBC special. But then the Black people themselves made huge mistakes not too long ago. When they were not getting support for the Greenwood history center, they sued the state and governor. The lawsuit actually said, "We blame the governor and legislators for letting the riot happen and find them liable for damages." It didn't take a high court to strike down the suit because if you sue someone, those people have to have some kind of standing. For one thing, everyone, and I say everyone involved in Greenwood are dead. You have nobody left to sue. Needless to say, it got stuck down. So now you have the Greenwood center funded partly from Tulsa and the state. I visited once and they are not exactly what I would call very nice people. They see whitey walk through the front door and they think to themselves, "There's another whitey wasting our time." But I was there to better understand how a city could intentionally burn down a whole section just to spite a whole people group. No thanks to the operators of the Greenwood Center, I do understand what went on and I can tell you Brady had nothing to do with the riot and subsequent fires that eliminated Black Wall Street. The sole blame for the riot is 100 percent on the Oklahoma National Guard. Something else thats in my craw is in Oklahoma City. First of all we tore down every single one of our grand movie palaces. We have no Brady Theatres in our town of nearly 1.5 million people. Yes, we demolished every single grand movie palace in the 70's. We did not leave a single one and we had about 10 of them. They are all gone, never to be seen again.
Jul 25, 2013 1:32 PM CDT
I see the point i would not want to live on a street called Hitler, Manson ect. But the cost to change maybe a problem & it's their problem not mine. As for the KKK they are all a bunch of cowards anyway so who cares? I sure do'nt.