The East Side of Ardmore: Ardmore man plans documentary on a former Ardmore resident
Ardmore resident Cedric Bailey is in the process of filming a documentary on Lincoln Ragsdale, a former Ardmore native, civil rights activist and Tuskegee airmen.
The idea to film the documentary, the East Side of Ardmore, came to Bailey when he was in the library. He saw Ragsdale and took down his name, so that he could later ask his dad more about it. After hearing Ragsdale’s story from his father, Bailey went on Facebook and reached out to Ragsdale’s son.
“I’m working on the documentary right now, and I’m going to tell the story,” Bailey said. “We want to do it because it deals with Black Wall Street. It’s a long story, so I got all my facts together. I got enough information now to make it happen.”
A former Ardmore native, Ragsdale graduated from Douglass High School in 1944. He then became a Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black military aviators in the United States Army Air Corps. He was then commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps in 1945.
Ragsdale’s family opened the nation’s first black-owned funeral home, Bailey said. Ragsdale’s funeral home was located in the black neighborhood of Greenwood, Tulsa. When a white mob started a race riot and began attacking black business owners and residents in 1921, Bailey said the family relocated to Ardmore to start all over.
Bailey said he’s spent a lot of time verifying facts and collecting resources and pictures for the documentary.
“I’ve been collecting pictures, and I was blessed to get the Carl Rose collection,” Bailey said. “He was the photographer here in Ardmore that took everybody’s pictures. All of his film is on microfilm, and some are developed. I’m reading it, and if I see somebody, I call their family and get the story.”
From a young age, Cedric Bailey has always juggled multiple activities and projects. Born and raised in Ardmore, he started throwing newspapers at 12-years old. He then worked at a barbeque place and became a boy scout. When he entered high school, he was in the band and played football, softball, track and baseball.
Bailey attended East Central University where he got a degree in broadcasting. While at East Central, Bailey was able to work as a cameraman for Channel 10 news.
His ultimate goal was to become a radio broadcaster from an early age. Bailey said broadcast journalist Max Robinson inspired him to get into radio. His first radio job was working for the radio station QFM, and he now hosts the Rejoice Musical Soul Food radio show, which broadcasts to 45 cities nationally.
“I was watching TV, and I saw this guy named Max Robinson,” Bailey said. “I saw him, and I said ‘hey, that’s what I want to do.’ Now I wanted to be a reporter, but that was a little challenging. I got the radio part, and that worked out well. I’ve been on the radio for 36 years now.”
Bailey also had a military career of his own and said he enjoyed his time serving. He started serving in the military in 1984. Bailey worked as a Signal Corps officer in Fort Gordon, Georgia for seven months, but since he had screws in his knee, he started having trouble exercising.
Bailey then served as reservist on the weekend and came back to Ardmore to serve as a reserve officer in the National Guard and wrapped up his military career in May 1987.
Besides his work with the documentary, Bailey coaches basketball to first and second graders, participates in a bowling team and volunteers with a prayer center. Bailey said, he’s had people help him when he was younger and inspired him to give back to the community.
“They all told me when I got older that I needed to give back,” Bailey said. “I never forgot what they told me. I felt like if they could do that for me, then I can do it for the next person.”