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It wasn’t until my dear friend, the late Lee Roy Chapman wrote the famous article “The Nightmare of Dreamland” in This Land Press, that revealed the truth about the so-called founder of Tulsa, Wyatt Tate Brady.
When you view the Tulsa Brady Art’s District website, it doesn’t mention the history of Tate Brady, who the Brady District was named after. In fact, it poses a false composition of a downtown district that I do not know. It says, “The Brady District is a diverse, culturally robust district in Downtown Tulsa”; and “it is rich with cultural icons such as the…Ole Lady on Brady – The Brady Theater”. On the site when it speaks of the history, it makes no mention of the history of Tate Brady, or the true history of the Ole Lady on Brady, which was used as a detainment center for black citizens during the race massacre, and is alleged to have been used as a crematorium after those citizens were killed.
In 2013, Tulsa’s city council voted to change the name of Brady Street to M.B. Brady named after a civil war photographer, then an honorary sign attached named “Reconciliation Way.” There has never been any reconciliation in this city. Reconciliation is defined as the restoration of friendly relations. That definitely has never happened.
Tate Brady being a member of the Klan was just a rumor for a long time until a document surfaced from a military tribunal where Tate Brady himself stated he was a Klansman.
Most people don’t know that Tate Brady was present during the massacre of 1921. He reported in the Tulsa Daily World 5 negroes dead outside of his hotel where he stood on guard duty during the Massacre. Brady was later appointed to the Tulsa Real Estate Exchange after the massacre, and developed ridiculous rules and regulations that made it impossible for Black citizens to rebuild after the massacre. Companies were not allowed to sell any building supplies to blacks to rebuild, so black people had to go to different towns just to get building supplies. Attorney B.C. Franklin fought these regulations through the Oklahoma Supreme Court and won. Black citizens who chose to remain in Tulsa were able to rebuild.
Brady had a very violent past. He tarred, feathered and whipped 17 union workers out in the woods because they demanded better working conditions. A man with this much violence should never be honored. I don’t even understand why people fought so hard to keep this man’s legacy alive.
Tate Brady was also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the General Secretary of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, was also a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. As we see, the history runs deep in this city and truth should be told. Despite all the historical documentation that has been presented, the Tulsa World still today has not corrected it’s articles about Tate Brady, The Oklahoma Historical Society still has not amended the information of Tate Brady and there are no plaques or monument sites that tell the truth about Tate Brady.
Now that The Brady District Business Association has decided to change the name of the district, there is still plenty of work to do regarding race relations in Tulsa. I would like to say it’s a great start, but I am highly suspicious that now the Brady District Business Association wants to change the name. There has been talks on the ground that the Brady District Association wants to change the name to The Greenwood District. You have to ask yourself if this has been the plan all along. On the City of Tulsa website there are plans titled, “The Downtown Area Master Plan. If you look at these documents you can see that Greenwood has been joined with Brady by name. Greenwood-Brady Village Ballpark Area. There are many questions that comes to mind reviewing this information such as, “Who is the Greenwood Redevelopment Corporation?”
All these projects are identified by district as, “Brady Arts & Greenwood.”
- The Flats on Archer
- OKPOP Museum
- Holiday Inn Express
- The View (ARG Development)
- Davenport Lofts
- Archer Building (Magic City Books)
- Western Supply
- Block 44 (Ross Group)
- Wollard Solutions, Inc
We have to be very cautious when changes like this are made. Especially when the Brady District Business Association was dead set against the name change just a few years ago. Lee Roy Chapman never wanted the city to bury the history of Tate Brady. His story needs to be told, but told accurately and in it’s proper place. Lee Roy really wanted that to happen, and I, as well as others who loved him, will work until that happens.