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Black Settlers in Tulsa Exhibit

Black Settlers in Tulsa: The Search for the Promised Land

Photographs by Don Thompson
Narratives by Eddie Faye Gates

Photograph of the entry to the Black Settlers in Tulsa exhibit, showing several photographs and framed narratives.


Black Settlers in Tulsa: The Search for the Promised Land is a collection that includes photographs of 45 of Tulsa's earliest settlers. Don Thompson photographed and Eddie Faye Gates interviewed these leaders of Tulsa's Black community, many of whom were survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre or their descendants. Through Gates' narratives, the subjects of the photographs tell in their own words the aims, hopes and ambitions of early Black Tulsans, the challenges they faced and the persistence that enabled them to build and rebuild in the aftermath of destruction.

The collection was donated to the University Center at Tulsa (a consortium of five institutions that was located at what is now OSU-Tulsa) in 1996, and was originally located in the B.S. Roberts Room.

In 2021, during the centennial commemoration of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the collection was moved into the gallery space outside the B.S. Roberts Room to ensure it was available to the public.

Visiting the Exhibit

The Black Settlers in Tulsa exhibit is open to the public during regular university hours, which are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Hours may vary due to holidays or special events.

Parking is free and open at OSU-Tulsa. For the most convenient access to the exhibit, park in Lot E, walk beneath the awning marked "Auditorium/Conference Center," pass the fountain and enter the sliding Conference Center doors. The Black Settlers in Tulsa exhibit is in the gallery to the left.

Image of a map of North Hall with the location of the Black Settlers exhibit marked.

Additional Resources

In Memory: Eddie Faye Gates (1934-2021)