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'Focus: Black Oklahoma': our top stories of 2022

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Jamie Glisson

On this episode, we start off with Anthony Cherry bringing us details on how finding representation in education is the new challenge for school districts in this story from September. Oklahoma’s teacher shortage has reached critical levels, and finding Black teachers is almost impossible.

Shonda Little explores the motivations and tactics used by white supremacist gangs in the state and where they appear to be setting up shop. Here is her segment on the United Aryan Brotherhood, which we aired in January. The Washington Post picked up the story in September.

Focus: Black Oklahoma’s three part series, The Battle for Greenwood, was the recipient of an award from the Oklahoma Society for Professional Journalists in the Special Programs category. This excerpt, narrated by former co-host Kolby Webster, is from the third episode, titled "Reparations," and takes a deep dive into the City’s controversial efforts to identify potential mass graves that resulted from the 1921 Race Massacre. As of this recording, 19 additional adult graves and 2 child burials have been discovered at Oaklawn Cemetery.

In our November broadcast, Nick Alexandrov brought us the story of how one Tulsa Fortune 500 company has been using its money to support campaigns of politicians who proclaim, without evidence, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump.

Also, from our November broadcast, Jasmine Bivar-Tobie shares the story of Leeman Lewis’ ongoing pledge to restore the Okmulgee Black hospital through the work of the nonprofit organization Landmark For All Generations.

It’s hard not to recognize that Black people and their contributions have touched every part of our state. In our July broadcast, Carlos Moreno reported on how the Claremore Museum of History celebrated the one-year anniversary of its Black History exhibit.

In this section from our Culture Keepers series, Britny Cordera takes us on a well-seasoned adventure towards decolonizing menus across the country. This story aired on Focus: Black Oklahoma in January 2022 and was further covered by The New Yorker in September.

Focus: Black Oklahoma is produced in partnership with KOSU Radio, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and Tri-City Collective. Additional support is provided by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.

Our theme music is by Moffett Music.

Focus: Black Oklahoma’s executive producers are Quraysh Ali Lansana and Bracken Klar. Our associate producers are Smriti Iyengar and Jesse Ulrich.

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