Virtual program to discuss racism, segregation in Oklahoma history

Sierra Rains
The Daily Ardmoreite
A flyer for the virtual program being held on Thursday, Jan. 28.

The Johnston County Library and Murray State College will be hosting a virtual program Thursday night to discuss how racism and segregation influenced Oklahoma history during the 1920s. 

The virtual Oklahoma Historical Presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. with Murray State College Professor and Social Science Chair Dr. Kirk Rodden leading the discussion. 

Rodden, who also serves as the Chair of the Historic Preservation Board for the City of Ardmore, said he plans to discuss how Oklahoma was an integral part of the Ku Klux Klan’s resurgence in the 1920s. The Klan, he said, is known in Oklahoma for it’s violence and many Klan-related “firsts” that occurred in the state. 

“The first convictions of Klansmen for ‘night riding’ — terrorizing Blacks and other victims — during the 1920s were in this state,” Rodden said. “Klansmen were key to the worst race massacre in U.S. history in Tulsa in 1921.” 

Rodden has been teaching at Murray State College since 1990 and has a background in American history and political science. Rodden said his family has been in Oklahoma since before statehood and he is a fourth generation educator. 

The virtual program is expected to last around an hour. Individuals who would like to attend via Zoom must call the Johnston County Library to register at (580) 371-3006. 

“The Klan is known in Indiana for the personal immorality of its officials. It is known in Georgia for it’s longevity and renaissance,” Rodden said. “It’s known in Oklahoma for it’s violence”