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Memorial honoring Booker T. Washington's founding principal to be unveiled

Posted at 8:03 AM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 09:10:24-04

TULSA — After decades of planning and raising money, a memorial in honor of Booker T. Washington's founding principal will finally be unveiled on Friday.

The celebration and memorial will take place in the same spot where the original school was built more than 100 years ago.

Committee members said this vast project has been in the works for more than 30 years, and it's to celebrate the life of the first principal at the school.

Ellis Walker Woods, the son of a freed Mississippi slave, walked 500 miles from Tennessee to Oklahoma to answer the call for more black teachers.

He then served as principal at Booker T. Washington, the city's first segregated black high school, from 1913 to 1948.

Each of the pillars in the memorial is covered in images and accomplishments of the students he taught and inspired. One of his students, Captola Dunn, said Woods always wanted more for them and the school.

Somewhere along the way he started to negotiate for a bigger school and a better school,” she said. “So, for all of those people who went to school here, this was the area they are familiar with."

Dunn explained the memorial is shaped in a semi-circle to symbolize the strength that Woods had, and the strength he gave to his students as they ventured into the world.

The dedication will take place Friday morning at 9 a.m. on the north side of the OSU-Tulsa campus.

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