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April 21, 2014

Confidence in Culture

by James McGirk

The Oklahoma legislature first approved the construction of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum…


Kelly Cox has hauled hay since he was a boy. Now with changes in technology…


by Abby Wendle

Andrew Gumbel co-wrote the book Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed–and Why it Still Matters…


This Land Press + ShopGoodOKC
We are proud to announce a collaboration to bring the…


by This Land

In 1972, Oklahoma City car dealer Jack Cooper brought Evel Knievel to town for a…


04/23/2014 | Okiecentric

Outlaw on the Big Screen

By Andy Taylor

He was born Napoleon Blackstone Vann, but ever since he was a little shaver, “Nip” Vann was destined to be a star.
His monosyllabic name was the perfect size for a movie marquee. Tall, good-looking, and able to make friends with total strangers, Vann was a former Wild West show hotshot in the earliest years of cinema. He had all the makings of a majo…

04/18/2014 | Okiecentric

Jesus in the Wichitas

By John Wooley

His name was Kroger Babb. He made and relentlessly promoted a famous “hygiene film” called Mom and Dad, which was so shocking to 1940s audiences that he held separate shows for female and male patrons, complete with lecturers to frankly discuss matters that weren’t spoken of in polite company—and, not coincidentally, to hawk books on the subject.…

04/16/2014 | Okiecentric

To Boldly Go

By Samuel Annis

It’s a steel-colored December day, and I’m driving down OKC’s May Avenue, past dirty snow and abandoned cantinas, looking for a roofing company. Actually, I’m looking for a non-profit Star Trek fan-film studio, but the man I contacted, Richard Wells, tells me that the studio’s address is “jacked up,” and suggests I drive to the roofers and c…

04/09/2014 | Okiecentric

Invisible State

By Jezy J. Gray

I was 17 when I first encountered Invisible Man. I inhaled it over the summer before my senior year, passing impossibly hot July afternoons in the family den, facedown on the floor for hours on end, raptured from the sweltering heat by its cool, lyrical largesse and penetrating social wisdom. Not only did it spur me to think about race and history in dynamic a…

04/07/2014 | Okiecentric

Father of Fight Club

By Michael Mason

In 1945, an unassuming black man from Oklahoma City began constructing an intricate book inside a barn in Vermont. Owing to its complexity and sophistication, the book took more than six years to assemble. When Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man exploded onto the scene in 1952, it caught countless minds on fire. Critics hailed it as one of the most important bo…

04/04/2014 | Poetry

Bible Belted: Math

By Quraysh Ali Lansana

Pro-Black doesn’t mean anti-anything.
      El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)
there are at least twenty-seven
white people i love. i counted.
four from high school, five from
undergraduate years, maybe
three from grad school
(one gay=bonus points) &
an assortment of compelling
melanin-deprived miscreants
in chicago & countrywid…


THIS LAND LIVE: Senior Fellows “Credit Default Swap”

A new music video featuring Senior Fellows performing “Credit Default Swap.”…

04/02/2014 | Okiecentric

In the Territory: A Look at the Life of Ralph Ellison

By Hilton Als

Originally published in the May 7, 2007, issue of The New Yorker, Volume 83, No. 11. Copyright © 2007 Hilton Als. Used by permission of The Wylie Agency LLC.
November 29, 1967, a tart, sunny day in Plainfield, Massachusetts, some thirty miles north of Smith College, in the Berkshires: the small town’s most famous inhabitant that historic afternoon was…

03/26/2014 | Okiecentric

Go Home, Grandma

By Ben Montgomery

In 1955, 67-year-old Emma Gatewood became the first woman to walk all 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail by herself. She survived a rattlesnake strike and two hurricanes, boarded with gangsters from Harlem, and sang “America, the Beautiful” when she finally reached the peak of Mount Katahdin in Maine. It was her second attempt, and she’d done it wi…

03/24/2014 | Okiecentric

Nelson Mandela’s Friend in Tulsa

By J. Kavin Ross

The year 2013 ended with the world mourning for South Africa’s first black president, Nelson “Madiba” Mandela, whose passing didn’t just signify human remains laid to rest; it symbolized the passing of a torch—for all people to journey down the road to reconciliation.
Tulsa native Alfre Woodard was among an entourage of Americans who paid thei…


First Charged, Last Freed

By Steve Gerkin

John the Baptist moved to Tulsa in 1899. The Stradford family called him J. B. [1] He was a former Kentucky slave who was not afraid to preach the gospel of equal treatment and racial solidarity for black Americans. College-educated in Ohio at Oberlin College, Stradford received his law degree from Indiana University, practicing in Indianapolis and yearni…

03/19/2014 | Okiecentric

Against All Frauds

By Cortney Stone

Oklahoma was born in an era when beliefs about gender roles dictated that politics were dirty and rough and that ladies should keep out. But the state was raised in a progressive-minded time, and Progressive Era women’s suffrage advocates often used metaphors for housekeeping and parenting to argue that women voters would sweep out political fraud and d…


The Rusty Brotherhood (La Hermandad Rusty)

By Alberto Fuguet

Alberto Fuguet is a writer, a Guggenheim fellow, and, according to Newsweek, one of the “50 most important Latin Americans for the new millennia.” And he credits Francis Ford Coppola’s film Rumble Fish, based on S.E. Hinton’s book by the same name, for his inspiration. Fuguet made a documentary, Locations: Looking for Rusty James, about th…

03/14/2014 | Original Okie

Rosetta Funches

By Shane Brown

Rosetta Funches is the founder and director of the Oklahoma Black Museum and Performing Arts Center in Oklahoma City. Established in 2008, the museum collects and exhibits art primarily by and about African Americans in order to preserve and educate (all people) about black history and culture. Rosetta grew up in Oklahoma City and received art instructio…

03/12/2014 | Okiecentric

The Other Mother Road

By Michael Wallis

Pour yourself a sipping drink and get comfortable. I am going to tell you a story. It’s about a postal worker named Victor Green and his Green Book, a very special publication that provided invaluable and sometimes even life-saving assistance to thousands of disenfranchised open-road travelers. Published annually for almost 30 years, this guidebook f…