News from Voices of Oklahoma…

60 Minutes: The Infamous Whitey Bulger

On Sunday, July 26, the television program 60 Minutes featured the capture of Whitey Bulger, the mastermind behind the murder of Tulsan Roger Wheeler. On May 27, 1981, Wheeler was boldly gunned down in broad daylight at Southern Hills Country Club in south Tulsa. He was former chairman of Telex Corp. and former owner of World Jai Alai. 

Voices of Oklahoma presents an interview with Detective Mike Huff, Tulsa Police Department’s lead investigator on the case. He worked for years to prove Bulger and his gang killed Wheeler.

Listen to Chapter 7 here.

Tulsa Race Riot–May 31 and June 1, 1921

Ninety-four years ago a race riot broke out on May 31 and June 1 in the Greenwood business district of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Otis Clark was nineteen years old at the time the Tulsa Race Riot took place. In his oral history, he describes the events of that day as he and his friend were targets of rifle shots.

Listen now to Chapter 4 as he shares the unforgettable memories of that day. 

Marques Haynes

Marques Haynes, widely regarded as the world’s greatest dribbler with the Harlem Globetrotters, died at the age of eighty-nine on Friday, May 22. A native of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, he began his forty-six year basketball career at Booker T. Washington High School where he led the school to a national championship in 1941.

Voices of Oklahoma is proud to have his oral history where we can preserve, share, and continue to listen to his story.

Memorable Events–Voices of Oklahoma

Introducing a new feature of Voices of Oklahoma: Memorable Events

Differing from our interviews with noteworthy Oklahomans, each Memorable Events story will highlight a significant event in Oklahoma history. 

Our first Memorable Event is the Tulsa Oilers Diamond Baseball Dinner of 1973: 

  • The Dinner featuring Oklahoman Allie Reynolds, Casey Stengel & Joe DiMaggio can be heard here.

Victory in Europe Day

Today, May 8, 2015, is the seventieth anniversary of VE Day, which marked the end of WWII in Europe. Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, bringing an end to six years of war.

Listen to Catharine Kingsley’s interview as she remembers the day in Chapter 17—V.E. Day.


Land Run of 1889-April 22

The Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 started at high noon on April 22, 1889. Fifty thousand people were in place for their piece of the available two million acres. Catharine Kingsley talks about her grandfather’s participation in the land run. To hear more, listen to Chapter 3.

Bill Ross talks about his grandfather making the land run on a train. He staked claim to a lot which became part of Oklahoma City. Listen to more of this story in Chapter 2.

Oklahoma City Bombing

Twenty years ago on April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick was sitting in his company office, miles from downtown Oklahoma City, when the bomb attack occurred at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Listen to the mayor’s recollection of that day discussed in Chapters 14 and 15.   

In a related story of this impactful day, you should also listen to Stephen Jones, attorney for Timothy McVeigh, as he shares his account in Chapter 6 of his interview. 

Voices of Oklahoma 5th Anniversary

Five years ago today on April 10, 2010, Voices of Oklahoma was launched, an oral history website featuring the stories of many Oklahomans from all walks of life. We are grateful to the foundations, individual funders and the thousands of visitors who have made this website a success. We also want to thank the one hundred and sixty-six Oklahomans who gave us their time in telling such compelling stories. We look forward to recording further oral histories in the coming years.

As we observe this anniversary, we are excited about the new partnership with the University of Tulsa and the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities. The partnership allows for sustained growth with teaching and research opportunities. Our mission is to preserve Oklahoma’s legacy one voice at a time. 

$20 Bill Finalist — Wilma Mankiller

The inspiring group, Women on 20s, is pushing to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with a woman. Starting with one hundred candidates, the final ballot has been narrowed down to four candidates, including Oklahoma’s first female Cherokee Nation Chief, Wilma Mankiller.

The four finalists are Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Wilma Mankiller.

Listen here to Wilma Mankiller tell her story on Voices of Oklahoma and share her story with your friends!

Please take a moment to make your voice heard and cast your vote here during the final round.

Baseball Opening Day — Johnny Bench

Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January 1989, Bench is considered “Baseball’s Greatest Catcher” and was named the starter behind the plate of the All-Century Team. The boy from Binger, Oklahoma who’s dreams of being a major league baseball player came true, tells his story here.

Share with your baseball friends.