True Hero

by Ishmael Reed


The true hero of the Tulsa Riots was A.J.Smitherman who preached law and order and condemned the mob. He was editor of the Tulsa Star and fled to Boston, after the mob burned down his home. He was dogged by the charge of inciting a riot. I worked in Smitherman’s newspaper office when I was sixteen, but only learned of his heroism within the last twenty years. I think that the Brady district should be named after Smitherman and that a space be set aside as a museum to honor him.

Ishmael Reed is an American poet, essayist, and novelist. His next book, The Fighter and the Writer, will be published by Crown.