A portrait of a Tulsa founder is not so flattering

KRMG News Talk Radio, Oklahoma/September 2, 2011

Tulsa, Oklahoma -- If you live in Tulsa you’ve heard the name Brady. A theater, street and downtown district all bear Tate Brady’s name.

Brady was one of Tulsa’s founders but Lee Roy Chapman argues in an article in This Land Press that Brady was more than just a businessman. Chapman claims Brady was a major figure in the Ku Klux Klan, involved in the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot and participated in the brutal taring and feathering of union workers in 1917.

Chapman says Brady was raised in Nevada, Missouri and the son of a Confederate soldier. He says it’s a very pro-southern spot, one of the only areas in Missouri to indict John Brown and that no one in the county voted for Abraham Lincoln. “His sympathies for the South became kind of his core morals.”

Brady was also involved in the group Sons of Confederate Veterans according to Chapman and met with Nathan Bedford Forrest Jr. , the group’s general secretary, in Tulsa. Nathan Bedford Forrest Sr. was one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan.

As for the Race Riot, Chapman says “Tate Brady was actually on the ground during the riot on north Main Street.” Chapman says information from the Tulsa World indicates Brady was just a volunteer but that Brady states “that he was armed.”

Brady was politically involved according to Chapman and participated in “the establishment of Jim Crow.” The establishment of legal segregation.

Why does Chapman think it’s important to write this about Brady? It has to do with the renewed development in the downtown district that’s named for Brady. “If we don’t tell the story of these individuals that we’re honoring then we get kind of this rosy picture of who they were and don’t see them as humans.” “If we’re just kind of shaping our collective memory based on emotion rather than fact I think that’s really dangerous. I think that gives us a false sense of who we are as a community.”

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