Oklahoma historian Angie Debo once observed that all the forces of United States history have come to bear in the development of the Sooner State. This collection of essays provides a series of snapshots reflecting both the singularity of the Oklahoma experience and the state’s connections to America’s broader history.
Spanning the Civil War era and the present, this book develops historic themes as varied as the causes of Indian land dispossession, the Statehood Day wedding ceremony, the oil industry’s environmental impact, the Tulsa Race Riot, labor relations during the New Deal, the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment, the state’s unique Native artistic traditions, and its musical landscape.
Oklahomans have always represented multiple races and cultures, lived in big cities or small towns or on farms, and promoted prosperity and cultural achievement while battling poverty and ignorance. The American Main Street has been the site not only of the best principles of community spirit and traditional values but also of shocking cases of prejudice and violence. Rather than shrinking from difficult subjects, Main Street Oklahoma describes the state’s abundant human, natural, and cultural resources, paying tribute to the true grit of Oklahomans, but also exploring some of the more troubling moments in Oklahoma’s past. The editors and contributors provide engaging perspectives on the state’s rich and diverse history.
“Professors Linda Reese and Patricia Loughlin do Oklahomans a great service by presenting twelve remarkable essays that offer stimulating interpretations. . . . a great read for anyone who wants to know more about the state’s history, especially during the twentieth century.”—W. David Baird, co-author of Oklahoma: A History