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Tulsa Site Added To African American Civil Rights Network

John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in Tulsa, Okla.

UPDATED: June 29 at 1:46 p.m.

John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in Tulsa has been designated as an official member of the African American Civil Rights Network, which is coordinated by the National Park Service.

The site was designated last week by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt at the 29th addition to the network. This was a few days after President Trump announced at his Tulsa rally that he had ordered the secretary to do so.

The site honors those who survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and Dr. John Hope Franklin, whose father defended hundreds of Tulsa's Black citizens during the massacre.

The African American Civil Rights Network was signed into law by Trump in January 2018 and authorizes the National Park Service to commemorate the history of the Civil Rights movement at sites throughout the nation.

ORIGINAL POST: June 23 at 1:14 p.m.

In his speech at the BOK Center on Saturday, President Donald Trump said he wants to make a Tulsa park part of the National Park Service.

John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in Tulsa sits in the Greenwood District at the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Opening in 2010, the park features sculptures commemorating the Massacre, information about Black Wall Street and history of early African Americans in Oklahoma.

The park was named after a Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree and author of the bestselling book From Slavery to Freedom. Hope Franklin was from Rentiesville Oklahoma, one of many all Black towns that dotted the state in the early part of the 20th century. His father, Buck Franklin defended Black people during the 1921 massacre that burned buildings to ground and killed hundreds of Tulsa's Black citizens.

While making the announcement at his campaign rally, Trump claimed he has advanced Black businesses and helped "distressed parts of the country."

"I've directed the Department of the Interior David Bernhardt to place John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park on the African American Civil Rights Network," Trump said. "So many of my friends have been asking me to do it."

The African American Civil Rights Network is administered by the National Park Service and aims to feature the people, places and events associated with the civil rights movement in the United States. It includes programs, buildings, and landscapes, such as the Freedom Riders National Monument in Alabama, The Lorraine Motel in Tennessee, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Two other places in Oklahoma are part of the National Park Service ⁠— the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Washita Battlefield in Cheyenne, Okla.

The Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, Okla. once had national park status, but it was rescinded in 1976. Although it no longer has the designation, the day-to-day administration of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is still the responsibility of the National Park Service.

Allison Herrera covered Indigenous Affairs for KOSU from April 2020 to November 2023.
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