Celebrating Black History Month: Booker T High School is Tulsa and family history

Posted at 9:41 PM, Feb 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-07 23:23:12-05

TULSA - As the history books will show Tulsa's African American population has a long history of trials and triumphs.

2 Works for You looks into how one of the town's most valuable landmarks, Booker T. Washington High School is the perfect example of enduring trials to create an endless future of triumph. 

"If you wan to lift yourself up, lift up someone else," Booker T. Washington. 

“He advocated for racial compromise, that African Americans had a place in American society and they could rise up in that society through hard work, determination and education," said Booker T. Social Studies Teacher John Waldron. 

In the early 1900s E.W. Woods walked from Tennessee to Oklahoma and started a school for black students to have a ticket out of poverty. 

By 1913 a tiny four-room building took on the name of a visionary. 

“We are a model of how students from different cultures and different backgrounds can come together and work together," said Booker T Principal and Alumni Melissa Woolridge. 

It stood the test of time through Jim Crow, de-segregation, even standing tall after the destructive Tulsa Race Riot. 

“The history teaches us those lessons from the past and we’ve learned from those lessons," said Principal Woolridge. 

Lessons turned into a legacy that's one of a kind. 

“When I was here I was a member of the band, I was a Funky D.”

“Booker T is different from the other high schools in Tulsa because of its rich tradition," said Booker T senior Sydney Singleton. 

You can't walk five steps without running into a Booker T. legacy. 

“My grandmother went here, my mom went here, my aunts, uncles, my brother," said Singleton. 

“My mother was a 1938 graduate of Booker T, my dad 1936 graduate," said Booker T teacher and alumni Ava Fisher. 

“My mother was a graduate of Booker T Washington High School," said Principal Woolridge.

Not just a town's history, but family history. 

So much of it holds up the walls of an entire historic building. 

 “We hornets run things, I said that’s right baby, we run things.” 

State championships, academic bowls, even celebrities. 

“They made sure we were prepared to go out into the world and change it.”

You can't help but wonder not only what would Tulsa be. 

“We have this thing we used to say, once a hornet, always hornet.”

But what would this world be without Booker T. 

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