News from Voices of Oklahoma…

Land Run of 1889-April 22nd

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 19th, 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 166 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. 

Thank you,

John Erling

Creative Director

$20 Bill Finalist — Wilma Mankiller

The inspiring group, Women on 20’s, is pushing to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with a woman. Starting with 100 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.

John Erling

Voices of Oklahoma

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.

Mary Jo Guthrie-Woody Guthrie

Mary Jo Guthrie, Woody Guthrie’s little sister, shares stories about one of America’s most renowned folk singers.  She is now 93 and is joined by Guy Logsdon as she tells her story.

Holly plane crash may be re-examined

As reported by CNN, officials may re-examine the plane crash that killed musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & J.P. Richardson, known as the Big Bopper.

Guitarist Tommy Allsup flipped a coin with Valens for a seat on that plane and lost. Tommy tells the story of that fateful day/night in his interview with Voices of Oklahoma.
Listen to:


Read the full CNN story:

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-John Erling

David Green–Hobby Lobby

Among Forbes magazine’s list of wealthiest Americans, the net worth of Oklahoma’s David Green of Hobby Lobby is reported to be $6 billion. But there was a very simple beginning and you can listen to David Green in Chapter 4, “$600.00,” talk about how his business began:

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Vandevers Department Store

In the 1950’s, Vandevers Department Store was the go-to department store in Tulsa. Customers could purchase anything ranging from Levi jeans to a full-length mink coat.

Listen to the full story of the five Vandever brothers, as told by, nephew and son Bill Vandever.

Senator Inhofe Interview

On his way to becoming Oklahoma’s Senior Senator, Jim Inhofe discusses his journey and the unexpected loss of elections along the way. Listen to his oral history as Jim opens up about the loss of his son Perry and the impact it had on his life. As well as, stories of flying, his personal insight on global warming and his advice to young individuals pursuing a field in politics.

Listen and share Senator Inhofe’s influential story.