Although the Tulsa Juneteenth organization completely cancelled all 2020 commemorative activities, due to pandemic concerns, others want Tulsa to focus on the historic Texas emancipation of African slaves. Oklahoma slaves were not emancipated by the Indian Nations until a later date.
Yesterday, a rushed new event was organized by a consortium of groups, and placed on the TulsaJuneteenth website. The new event will be held on Greenwood Ave., a street named for a wealthy slave owner who was principal chief of the Choctaw Nation (Greenwood LeFlore).
On June 20, 1921, Oklahoma Republicans played a big role in advancing equal rights for women, when Republican Congresswoman Alice Mary Robertson, of Muskogee, OK became the first woman to preside over a session of the US House of Representatives.
The Oklahoma Historical Society reports..
Affectionately known as "Miss Alice," Robertson was the first woman elected to Congress from Oklahoma and was America's first female postmaster of a Class A post office. She was born January 2, 1854, at Tullahassee Mission in the Creek Nation of Indian Territory, to William and Ann Eliza Worcester Robertson. Robertson's grandfather was missionary Rev. Samuel Worcester.
Alice Robertson's early schooling was under the supervision of her parents (a homeschooler). At age eighteen she was sent to Elmira College in New York, graduating near the head of her class. She was a clerk in the U.S. Indian Office in Washington, D.C., from 1873 to 1879. Returning to Indian Territory, she taught in the school at Tullahassee and later at Carlisle Indian School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Oklahoma Republican Woman Leads Congress
Miss Alice was always known for her assistance to America's soldiers. She helped recruit troops for Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War of 1898 and personally prepared a field kit, with sewing necessities and a small Bible, for each soldier who left for the war. When fifteen thousand troops passed through Muskogee in 1916 en route to the Mexican border to pursue Pancho Villa, she met the trains and provided the men with sandwiches, cake, and milk. The ingredients had been grown on her farm, named Sawokla (the farm's name was taken from a Creek-language word meaning "gathering place"). She continued to assist America's fighting men when the United States entered World War I in 1917.
Sawokla was also the name of Robertson's restaurant in downtown Muskogee. She fed as many as six hundred people per day in the years after World War I. In 1920, concerned about the direction of American society, she ran as a Republican for the Second District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Her platform was simple: "I am a Christian, I am an American, I am a Republican." She used the classified section of the newspaper to report on her campaign. A typical advertisement read "Watermelons every day. Fried chicken extra good tonight. Our campaign seems to be going very well."