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Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection

Collection Overview

Scope and Contents

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.

Thomas Gilcrease Library and Archive
499 items
1900 - 2010
CSV file

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Scope and Contents Cont'd

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 many more. Notable public figures include Johnnie Cochran, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Representative Maxine Waters, Representative Al Green, Representative Don Ross, Senator Maxine Horner, Senator Barack Obama, Bobby Battle, Attallah Shabazz, Hannibal Johnson, Coretta Scott King, and more. 

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 Art and History 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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