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Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection

Collection Overview

The Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection contains materials that reflect the life and 40-year public career of Eddie Faye Gates (February 5, 1934 - December 9, 2021), a contemporary African American woman, educator, historian, author, and community activist.

The collection materials date from the early 20th century to approximately 2010 and contain photographs, postcards, obituaries, correspondence, handwritten research notes, clippings from newspapers and periodicals, personal materials, typed manuscript drafts of Gates’ published books, press releases, oral history questionnaires, recorded audio/video materials including oral history interviews with survivors and descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, interviews with various Tulsa community members for the North Tulsa Oral History Project (originally financed by and housed at the Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklahoma City but in different arrangement from this collection), and newspaper and broadcast television interviews documenting Gates’ vigorous efforts to publicize the stories from survivors and descendants of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Materials are largely textual, photographic, and audiovisual, with some negatives and scattered personal artifacts including awards, jewelry, and ephemera. The materials document Gates’ international travels to Europe and Africa; her work as a teacher and public school administrator; her career as an author of three published books related to her family history, Oklahoma history, and the Tulsa Race Massacre; her oral history research and interviews with numerous notable community members for the North Tulsa Oral History Project; her service on the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 and assiduous work with survivors and descendants of the massacre; her activism in publicizing the stories of survivors and descendants, as well as her leading efforts supporting the fight for reparations; her involvement in various local, regional, and national organizations and societies; and various events, conferences, concerts, festivals, and more.

Notable people found in the collection include Gates’ family members relevant to Greenwood such as Mildred Williams (née Peevyhouse), Lloyd Hume Williams, Sr.; Tulsa Race Massacre Survivors Otis Granville Clark, Genevieve Tillman Jackson, Delois Vaden Ramsey, Thelma Thurman Knight, Roanna Henry McClure, Jo Pearl Jarrett, Hugh and Naomi Hollins, Robert Fairchild, Eldoris Mae McCondichie, James Steward, Thelma Harrison, Samuel Walker and daughter Joyce Walker Hill; Cecil White, William Harold Woods and Celdie Lee Woods, Robert and Anita Holloway, Verneice Dunn Sims, Wess Young, Sr.,Hal “Cornbread” Singer, and more. Prominent lawyers and politicians Johnnie Cochran, Jesse Jackson, Jr. Representative Maxine Waters, Representative Al Green, Representative Don Ross, Senator Maxine Horner, Senator Barack Obama, and more.

Notable musicians include Useni Eugene Perkins, Alfred Stanley Dennie, JAP Allen’s Cotton Club Orchestra, Ernie Fields, Straw-hat-John Quenton Brown, Clarence Love, Mozelle Lewis, Tony Matthews, Lowell Fulson, Shelby Minner, Lionel Hampton, Mercer Ellington and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Numerous prominent clergy include Reverend B.S. Roberts, Reverend Billy Jarrett, Reverend Benjamin Harrison Hill, Reverend Andrew Young, and Reverend Benjamin Hooks. Many notable other people include Dr. Charles Bate, Dr. Charles Ogletree, Jr., Dr. Olivia Hooker, Dorothy Irene Height, Bobby Battle, Elise Pierce, Dr. John Hope Franklin, Dr. Scott Ellsworth, and Hannibal Johnson, Attallah Shabazz, Coretta Scott King, Dr. Lawrence Reed, Mabel B. Little, and more.

Important events noted in this collection include the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Gates’ trip with survivors to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., the 75th Riot Commemoration Program at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1990 Human Rights Seminar in Tulsa, 1991 Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries Racism Conference, The National Black Legislative Caucus 1987 Planning Youth Conference at the Tulsa Press Club, HB1017 Rally at Boulder Park, Tulsa Juneteenth, Tulsa Jazz Festival events, Gates’ trips to New York City, the Summer Holocaust Fellowship and United Nations tour, Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Parade (Tulsa, OK), March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, and the Tulsa Minority Public Forum of 1994.

Many noteworthy subjects appear in the collection, including Tulsa Race Massacre experiences, reparations, history of North Tulsa, Springfield race massacre, Mann’s Brother’s Grocery Store, Jarrett Family Grocery Store, First Baptist Church’s 95th anniversary, Civil Rights Act of 1965, civil rights history, segregation and desegregation eras, Sit-in Demonstrations, Black medical workers and medical schools, Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa Public Schools, Tulsa music history, Jazz, Blues, Works Progress Administration (WPA), Early Settlement of Oklahoma and Tulsa, Creek history, Cherokee history, Cherokee Freedmen, Afro-Indigenous history, Black rodeo, Black cowboys, Black-owned businesses in North Tulsa, Tulsa Oil Industry, Perryman Cemetery, Oak Lawn Cemetery, Family Reunions, African Slavery, Tulsa Urban Renewal, Prison Reform, Tulsa First Post Office, Creek Nation Council Oak Park, Frank Lloyd Wright, Lynchings, Caines Ballroom, Boley, Oklahoma, Local Organizing and Activism in Tulsa, U.S. Military, Buffalo Soldiers, Black Wall Street;

Notable organizations in the collection include Greenwood Cultural Center; Mabel B. Little Heritage House; North Tulsa Heritage Foundation; Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921; Ida D. Willis Museum of Dolls, Miniatures, and Toys; Greenwood Pharmacy (Williams Drug Store); Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa; Tulsa Public Schools; Red Cross; NAACP; Rose Baptist Church, Tulsa, OK; First Baptist Church, Tulsa, OK; The Oklahoma Eagle; First Methodist Church; Boston Avenue Methodist Church; Chrsitian Science Church; Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church; Jackson Funeral Home; First Christian Church; Mt. Zion Baptist Church; D&R Ranch; Wilson’s Family Store; Gilcrease Museum; University of Tulsa; Langston University; Oklahoma State University; Howard University; Lyon’s Indian Store (Tulsa, OK); Mayo Hotel; Orpheum Theatre; First National Bank; Rudisill Library; Tulsa Historical Society.

Thomas Gilcrease Library and Archive
1189 items
CSV file

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Biographical / Historical

Eddie Faye Gates, African American woman, educator, historian, author, and community activist, was born on February 5, 1934 to sharecroppers Ferman and Vivian Minter Petit in Preston, Oklahoma. She graduated from Douglas High School in Okmulgee, Oklahoma (1954), attended Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Composite Social Science from the University of North Dakota (1968) and the University of Tulsa with a Master of Arts degree in History (1974). She taught US and World History at Edison Senior High School (now Edison Preparatory School) in Tulsa, Oklahoma for 20 years and became the Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator for the Tulsa Public School System. After retiring from the Tulsa Public School system in 1992, Gates’ published three books, Miz Lucy’s Cookies: And Other Links in My Black Family Support System (1996), They Came Searching: How Blacks Sought the Promised Land in Tulsa (1997), and Riot on Greenwood: The Total Destruction of Black Wall Street (2003). In 1998, Gates was appointed to the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 and served as Chair of the Survivors Committee. She labored to locate, interview, and recover the experiences of more than 200 survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and gathered information from more than 300 of their descendants.

Source of Acquisition

The Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection was received by the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art as a gift from the Gates Family in 2020.

Access Restrictions

The Eddie Faye Gates collection is open for research. Restrictions pertaining to the use of these materials may apply based on copyright and/or licensing. All collection materials, including those not online, may be accessed in-person in the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Reading Room at the Helmerich Center for American Research. Please submit a Request to Conduct Research form to schedule a research visit. For all other inquiries, please contact

Use Restrictions

Please contact the Rights and Reproduction Department for information on publishing or reproducing materials included in these records. Permission will be granted by the Gilcrease Museum as the owner of the physical materials, and does not imply permission from the copyright holder. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all necessary permissions from the copyright holder.

Processing Information

Staff, interns, and volunteers of the Thomas Gilcrease Library and Archive have contributed to the organization and maintenance of the files since the collection passed to the City of Tulsa in the 1950s.

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Credit Line

Gift of Eddie Faye Gates, Tulsa OK, teacher, author, community activist

Separated Materials

Sent to Gilcrease Library Collection:
A Century of African-American Experience: Greenwood, Ruins, Resilience and Renaissance, Greenwood Cultural Center, 2003 (2 copies)

[Note sent from Payton Scott on 2/19/2024]
My great grandmother was Pauline Petitt-Scott. She was the oldest out of 14 children. My great grandparents moved to Oklahoma around 1908/1909. My great grandparents didn’t stay long in Oklahoma because they were ran off by white people and they took their land away from them. When my family left my great grandfather at the time was sick with a fever and my great grandmother had to take charge. She put all over children in overalls and put deep cuts in the overalls so the can have pockets to put there belongs in and they left. They did have an encounter with a white man while they were leaving. The white man asked my great grandmother “Where are you heading to?”. My great grandmother told them they were going to the next county to go pick cotton but really they were leaving to go to Texas. Then in the early 1920’s the family left out to Arizona for better opportunities. As my great grandmother got older she left out to California to live with her children where they took care of her. Now going to back Texas my great grandmother’s father was Crockett James Petitt who was the oldest brother of Mattie Margaret Petit-Peevyhouse, Adeline Petit, Cynthia A. Petit-Bankhead, Emma M. Petit-Adams, Sarah Jane Petit-Chatman, John Petitt, and Joseph Berry Petit. He was a slave in Gonzales, Texas under a man named Robert Todd Pettit. I’m not sure how the Petit family got to Falls, Texas but originally we were Gonzales, Texas. So as you can see there was a lot of moving around throughout the Petit family but they were very successful. I know most of the sisters were teachers and graduated from Texas A&M. The brothers were successful farmers.