Original Okie: Wess Young

by Michael Cooper


Wess Young was only four years old when he survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, but has clear memories of it.

Now 94, Young poses for me on an afternoon while his two Jack Russell terriers romp around the room. He’s raised three children with his wife Cathryn. While Young is known best as a survivor of the riot, and spokesperson for many more survivors and causes over the years, he and Cathryn are locally known as the founders of the Brady Heights Neighborhood Association. They moved into their home, pictured here, in the 1970’s before the interstate and OSU Tulsa shrank the neighborhood by nearly half.