Matthews Pushing to Add Towns to U.S. Rights Trail

TULSA—State Sen.  Kevin Matthews (Dem., Tulsa) is pushing to have the original Oklahoma all-Black towns added to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.

With more than 1,000 locations in some 15 states and Washington D.C., the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, formalized in 2018, includes historically significant sites important to the movement for racial equality.  Currently the trail includes no locations in Oklahoma.

“Originally, there were more than 50 Black towns in Oklahoma, 13 of which still exist. 

Boley was the largest of those with a population of more than 4,000 and a diverse, and thriving economy,” State Sen. Matthews said.  “The plan is for other all-Black communities to showcase their own histories and contributions. 

Collectively, this is part of our push to get all of Oklahoma’s Black towns on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, with a route starting at Greenwood Rising and continuing through these communities all the way to the Clara Luper Civil Rights Center planned for Oklahoma City.”

The recently-held Boley open house unveiled a new visitors center, coffee shop and tiny cabins to help accommodate tourists.  Attendees, including state and local leaders, business leaders and citizens, also heard details of the town’s plans to host a Smithsonian traveling exhibit next May promoting rural America. 

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