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The Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection

Meet Eddie Faye Gates

Learn how this high school teacher used her passion for history and justice to help recover silenced voices from the past. For decades, this local hero documented the memories and lived experiences of Oklahomans that most history books left out.


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Read poem "soul food"

Read a poem in honor of Eddie Faye Gates written by Quraysh Ali Lansana here

Collection Items

Browse The Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection items / Gates Collection finding aid

K-12 Teaching Resource Guides

Gilcrease team members worked with local educators, Amanda Solivan and Akela Leach, to develop Teaching Resource Guides for use in K-12 classrooms. These Guides feature classroom activities that facilitate learning from the Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection. 

Teaching Resource Guides

North Tulsa’s History and Survivor Stories

Alfred Stanley Dennie

Jazz Hall of Fame musician, Alfred Stanley Dennie, and his daughter Norma share a story about his brother, George, and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.  Warning: Stories contain graphic content that may be sensitive to some.

Eunice Jackson

Eunice Jackson speaks about how fortunate she and her family were to safely flee the massacre and return to their home, saved by their neighbors.

James O. Goodwin

James O. Goodwin talks about his father founding the award-winning newspaper The Oklahoma Eagle in 1938 and its importance to Tulsa.

Senator Barack Obama escorts Eddie Faye Gates and survivors

Senator Barack Obama escorts Eddie Faye Gates and survivors, May 8, 2005

‘Best Swing Band in America’

Ernie Fields, Tulsa bandleader, third from right holding trombone.

Eddie Faye Gates as a Teacher

Eddie Faye Gates with students in a classroom (1993)

North Tulsa Memory Keepers Working Toward a Better Future

Read about the lives of Don Thompson and Eddie Faye Gates here.

A Black Man’s Journey through the U.S. Military

Read about the life of Lieutenant Colonel Major Clark here.

Advocates of Tulsa’s Black community and cultural heritage

Read about the lives of Maxine Horner and Don Ross here

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and Cherokee Freedmen

Read about the interwoven stories of Greenwood and Cherokee Freedmen here

“There is Hope for Us Yet”: Eddie Faye Gates Collection Community Commentators

Read about the work of our Community Commentators here

Annual Lectures

Inaugural Eddie Faye Gates Lecture

On June 1, 2021, Autumn Brown explored some of the main themes manifested within the Eddie Faye Gates Collection. Discover more from this collection about compassion, family, community, resilience, and what they mean for our communities today. Ms. Brown highlighted voices of 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre survivors and Greenwood’s past as well as paid tribute to Ms.Gates’ tireless efforts to recover and preserve this long-ignored history. Gilcrease Museum was deeply honored to receive this unparalleled collection in 2020 and to have the opportunity to make these materials accessible worldwide.

Please read the companion article to Autumn Brown's lecture. 



Second Annual Eddie Faye Gates Lecture

On August 25, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. (CST), Dr. Autumn Brown delivered the annual Eddie Faye Gates lecture entitled “Break & Build: They can break, but they can’t erase-they can build, but they can’t bury” at the historic Greenwood Cultural Center, which co-sponsored the event with Gilcrease Museum. The event was free and open to the public. Using video clips and photographs from the Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection, Dr. Brown’s lecture examined the importance of North Tulsa in Eddie Faye Gates’ life and work as well as the many ways Greenwood is thriving today.

Please read the companion article to Autumn Brown's second lecture.


Thanks to generous grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), from 2020 to 2023 Gilcrease Museum undertook the foundational work of making video interviews and photographs from the Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection available online. The grant award made it possible to archive, digitize, research, and create educational resources from the collection. The grant project was led by Dr. William R. Smith, Associate Director, Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum.

“Get to the root of problems that seem to divide mankind today. Learn how thoughts and actions of the past impact the present, and how they will eventually influence the future.” - Eddie Faye Gates (Riot on Greenwood, p. xii-xiv)

The Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection honors the tireless labors of one of Oklahoma’s most important African American women leaders. As a researcher, writer, historian, educator, and community activist, Gates’ life work provides an invaluable window into the lived experiences of Black North Tulsans. Her passion for capturing a broad diversity of human stories that range from hope to despair, trauma to resilience, brings learners into contact with the memories of past generations. 

Gates preserved her work for future generations through photographs, correspondence, handwritten research notes, survivor inventories, newspaper and periodical clippings, and audio and video interviews. Within this collection one hears not only the painful and empowering remembrances of survivors and descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, but also the broader, vibrant histories of North Tulsa and Oklahoma placemaking. 

This collection is an extraordinary gift not merely to Gilcrease Museum but to the entire city of Tulsa and beyond. Gifted to the museum nearly 100 years after the Massacre, this collection presents a unique opportunity to honor and continue Gates’ legacy of putting generations of Tulsans into conversation with one another about collective memory, tragedy, justice, and resilience.

Archives and Research  

Michelle Smith and Autumn Brown working with the collection
Archival Processing Intern Michelle Smith (right) and Research Scholar Autumn Brown (left) working with the collection

The IMLS award enabled Gilcrease to do the necessary archival work to make the collection available for individual research. Our team of archivists processed collection items, including physical arrangement, rehousing, inventorying, describing, cataloging, assigning accession numbers, and evaluating materials for conservation treatment. IMLS Archival Processing Intern Michelle Smith helped to process and organize the collection. 

In collaboration with our Advisory Committee of scholars, IMLS Research Scholar Dr. Autumn Brown identified key themes, people, places, and events contained in the collection and determined interpretive interconnections with other Gilcrease collections. Dr. Brown’s research is presented through the Eddie Faye Gates Lectures and companion articles (see links above). 


Michelle Smith taking digital images of photographs from the collection
Archival Intern Michelle Smith taking digital images of photographs from the collection

The IMLS grant enabled Gilcrease to develop the technological capacity to make the video interviews and photographs from the collection available online, laying the foundation for digitizing more from the museum’s collection. Working together, our Archives and Digital Curation teams uploaded audiovisual files, digitized hundreds of photographs, and migrated archival records into a new database. In honor of Gates’ cross-generational work, our project team worked closely with teams of elders and youths from the local community members to learn more from the collection. The digital tags they provided to videos and photographs allow online visitors to more easily search for and find items in the collection.


Autumn Brown IMLS Research Scholar
Dr. Autumn Brown,
IMLS Research Scholar

In order to bring the lessons from this collection to the community, our Learning & Community Engagement Team created resources for K-12 educators and students, developed four Teaching Resource Guides, and hosted the Eddie Faye Gates Teacher Institute in July 2021. IMLS Administrative Assistant Angela Guillory supported these efforts by communicating with local stakeholders, coordinating with our community taggers, and partnering with educators.

Thanks to this project, Tulsans, Oklahomans, and Americans will be learning from this collection for many years to come. As a keen observer of human experience, Eddie Faye Gates understood that collective memory can help us identify the historical gaps, erasures, and silences as a first step toward a fuller understanding of our past, our communities, and ourselves. We are excited that current and future generations will be able to honor Mrs. Gates’ legacy by continuing her work of historical recovery and reclamation through this collection. We also hope that ongoing work in this collection will deepen our community’s appreciation for Eddie Faye Gates and ensure that future generations remember her as the hero she is.

Dr. William R. Smith is Associate Director of the Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum and Co-Director of the Museum Science and Management Program at the University of Tulsa. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He earned graduate degrees in American history from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Oklahoma. He is a public historian and scholar of eighteenth-century North America, the Atlantic world, and American religion, and is the author of Benjamin Colman’s Epistolary World, 1688-1754: Networking in the Dissenting Atlantic (Palgrave MacMillan, 2022). He has taught courses in American history, religion, and archival studies at Notre Dame, Grace College and Seminary (Indiana), Oklahoma State University, and the University of Tulsa.

Autumn Brown earned her Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from Oklahoma State University and served as IMLS Research Scholar at Gilcrease Museum from 2021-2022. Her dissertation was an educational biography of teacher activist Clara Luper (1923-2011). Her research aims at foregrounding Black women’s labor in the movement to showcase how integral their roles were serving in multiple capacities behind the scenes and on the front lines. Dr. Brown’s research also (re)presents Oklahoma City as a radically activist space by highlighting the city’s role in the sit-in movement, preceding Greensboro, North Carolina and the Woolworth sit-ins. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences, has published book chapters and peer-reviewed articles, and held the Duane H. King Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum/University of Tulsa. She is faculty at Oklahoma State University working with the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program. Dr. Brown also runs her own research consulting business named Winona Jewel Research Consulting, LLC.

Jack D. Baker is a Citizen of the Cherokee Nation and has served in multiple roles as a leader, administrator, researcher, and expert on Cherokee history and culture. He is president of the National Trail of Tears Association and has served for twenty-one years on the board and as treasurer of the Cherokee National Historical Society, Inc., as the president of the board of the Oklahoma Historical Society, and as president of Goingsnake District Heritage Association. He served eleven years on the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council representing those citizens living outside the Cherokee Nation boundaries. Baker has done extensive Cherokee research for more than forty years and has authored various articles and edited books on Cherokee history, as well as advising on Cherokee history documentaries. In 2007, he received the Principal Chief’s Leadership Award for his work preserving Cherokee history and his many contributions to the Cherokee Nation.

Quraysh Ali Lansana is an American poet, book editor, civil rights historian, and professor. He has authored 20 books in poetry, nonfiction and children’s literature. In 2022, he was a Tulsa Artist Fellow and Director of the Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, where he was also Lecturer in Africana Studies and English. Lansana is also credited as creator and executive producer of “Focus: Black Oklahoma,” a monthly radio program on the public radio station KOSU. He is a founding member of Tri-City Collective and serves on the Board of Directors of the Philbrook Museum of Art, is a Curatorial Scholar for the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art and a Curatorial Board Co-Chair for the Ragdale Foundation.

Nkem Ike earned her Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tulsa with a focus in African diaspora archaeology. Dr. Ike’s research centers on the material remains of race massacres and other forms of anti-Black violence in the early 20th century United States. In her current research, she highlights the ways that three Black communities in Springfield, IL, Tulsa, OK, and Rosewood, FL, contend with the historic impact of mass racial state sanctioned violence through processes of reclamation and remembrance facilitated by art, activism, and archaeology. By centering contemporary Black people, Dr. Ike brings forth the historical and temporal effects of tools such as erasure, dislocation, and migration across the United States. Her research presents a gateway for further conversations related to the interlocking components of race, class, gender, and the landscape through processes of Black placemaking and placekeeping. In 2023, she joined the faculty in the Anthropology Department at University of Toronto.

In honor of Eddie Faye Gates’ work of facilitating cross-generational conversations around the lessons of the past, Gilcrease hired and worked with 4 elders and 4 youth from the Tulsa community to serve as community commentators. Elders came to the project with deep roots in North Tulsa and personal experience knowing and having worked with Mrs. Gates. Youth were selected for their local community engagement and interest in the project. Working in pairs, these community members provided digital search tags and general comments for 250 photographs and 4 videos from the collection. Their contributions can be seen in the Online Collections display for these photos and videos.

Marsha Francine Campbell (Retired educator, artist)
Montecella Driver (Retired educator and district administrator)
Bobby Eaton (Musician, owner of Eaton Media Services, and local radio show host)
J. Kavin Ross (CEO of Kavision, Chairman of the Tulsa Mass Graves Investigation,and educator) Note: The esteemed Mr. Ross was a Race Massacre documentarian and full participant in this project before he passed away in June of 2023.

LeQuincia Brown
Sofia Fermo
Erika Hanes
Iana Redman

For Gates Collection inquiries, please contact the Library at For general museum inquiries please contact us here.

The Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum offers short-term research fellowships, travel grants, and postdoctoral fellowship opportunities. For more info, see here. To learn more about the Gilcrease archive and library collections, see here.

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This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant CAGML-247978-OMLS-20. The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.