Muskogee Black History | Community

Black History Month began when Carter G. Woodson, an African American, promoted black history in February 1926.

This period was chosen because it included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, which had been significant dates for the black community since the turn of the 20th century.

Black History Month is an opportunity for all Americans to reflect on both the history and teachings of African Americans and to focus on the diversity, progress, and richness of African American accomplishments. .

Muskogee is historically with many African Americans at this time through my research of Muskogee city directories for 1905 and 1906.

William Alexander, cook at City Chop House located at 330 Emporia St.

WA Allen, a brick mason, boarded at 10th and Denison streets.

There were many skilled black people in Muskogee – plumbers, masons, barbers, clerks, machinists, butchers, tailors, carpenters and blacksmiths.

MV Gentry was a jeweler at 228 N. Main St. William P. Greene was a photographer at 125 S. Third St.

African-American women had skilled jobs and owned their own businesses.

Lydia A. Cobb was a hairstylist and manicurist. Dorethus Coats owned The Exchange Dressmaking on Court Street. Mrs. LC Clark was also a seamstress on Court Street.

There were professional men and women – ML Flynn, Jessie C. Dickerson, John M. Davis, ET Butler, William M. Adams were physicians or surgeons while George P. Craig was a pharmacist.

Teachers included Florence G. Arrington, Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Biggers, Hattie Bradley, Cicero Byrd, and Lurinnia Curry. GL Trigg graduated from Harvard University in Washington in 1890 and was a teacher at the Colored National School of the Creek Nation for eight years and at the Colored Orphan home, formerly Tullahassee Mission, near Muskogee for three years, while his wife Prelia had been teaching music at the same school for two years.

In 1904, the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroads had laid tracks in Muskogee, paralleling Katy tracks by Dorchester Street, made a right turn west to join the rail line of Midland Valley, turned south again past Today’s Three Rivers Museum located in the old Frisco. Deposit.

Second Street was the main area of ​​African-American commerce.

Muskogee was then lined with a variety of black businesses, including a bowling alley and pool hall, restaurants, a bakery, and men’s clothing stores.

A two-story building titled Negro Offices with a second-story lobby was under construction on Second Street.

In 1905 Muskogee had two black owned banks – one was the Creek Citizens Bank founded by African Creeks, AGW Sanjo and WA Rentie.

Muskogee also had black contractors. Among them was William Ragsdale, who started a business in 1881. It was housed quietly in a livery stable on Third Street until 1917. It was the first to provide such a service to the black population of Muskogee.

Tollie Julius Elliott, once an Indian Territory peddler, founded Elliott Borthers Clothing at 203 S. Second St. in 1904.

William H. Twine Sr., was a teacher and lawyer in Texas, moved to Muskogee in 1899 and served as editor of the Muskogee Cimeter. He reported on the lives and concerns of black people in the early 1900s.

Muskogee had many more African Americans leading the way for many years. I’ve gained so much knowledge about our city’s black history, and I’m proud to say I’m from Muskogee, Oklahoma.

I also have an admiration for Second, Third and Court streets. I was raised and went to church as a child.

Lolethia Hill is a resident of Muskogee.

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