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Tulsa, Oklahoma: Reconciliation Way

From: Al Letson
Series: State of the Re:Union - The Best of SOTRU
Length: 53:53

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Tulsa, Oklahoma sits at a crossroads of American identities. In a special episode of SOTRU, we travel to the middle of Middle America to see what happens when these identities collide. We explore one of the country’s deadliest race riots, an incident that the city spent a long time trying to forget; visit a lovingly-crafted museum dedicated to spreading poetry to rural Oklahoma; and—in two special stories produced by This Land Press—visit a couple of churches, one struggling mightily to integrate and the other building a shrine for undocumented immigrants in a state with some of the harshest immigration laws in the nation. Read the full description.

Sotru_profile-pic_01_small State of the Re:Union
Tulsa, Oklahoma: Reconciliation Way

Host: Al Letson
Producer: Delaney Hall

Tulsa, Oklahoma sits at a crossroads of American identities. In a special episode of SOTRU, we travel to the middle of Middle America to see what happens when these identities collide. We explore one of the country’s deadliest race riots, an incident that the city spent a long time trying to forget; visit a lovingly-crafted museum dedicated to spreading poetry to rural Oklahoma; and—in two special stories produced by This Land Press—visit a couple of churches, one struggling mightily to integrate and the other building a shrine for undocumented immigrants in a state with some of the harshest immigration laws in the nation.

BILLBOARD (:59)

Incue: From PRX and NPR

Outcue: But first, this news.

News Hole: 1:00-6:00 

SEGMENT A (12:29)

Incue: From WJCT in Jacksonville, Florida, I’m Al Letson...

Outcue: We find out why when SOTRU continues. 

THE CARNEGIE HALL OF WESTERN SWING: Cain’s Ballroom sits just north of downtown Tulsa, in the Brady Arts District. For decades, Cain’s was the “Carnegie Hall of Western Swing,” an eclectic homegrown tradition that blended musical styles from all over the region. 

WHAT’S IN A NAME? The front of Cain’s Ballroom is engraved with a sign that says, “Brady, 1924.” Like a bunch of buildings in the area, Cain’s was originally built by one of the city’s founding fathers, Tate Brady, who’s been in the news again lately for his controversial past. 

REMEMBERING THE 1921 RACE RIOT: Almost one hundred years ago, in 1921, Tulsa experienced one of the biggest incidents of racial violence in this country’s history, when a white mob destroyed—literally burned to the ground—a vibrant African-American neighborhood called Greenwood. 


SEGMENT B (18:59)

Incue: I’m Al Letson and this is State of the Re:Union. 

Outcue: P-R-X-dot-O-R-G

A STREET NAME DIVIDES A COMMUNITY: The Brady Arts District sits right down the block from the old Greenwood neighborhood and, after major investment from the city and local foundations, it has become the gem of revitalized downtown Tulsa. But in the last few months, revelations about its namesake’s dark past, have forced the city to consider Tulsa’s continuing racial divide. 

DEAR TULSA: Tulsa-based poet Joy Harjo considers her complicated relationship with her hometown. 

THE RURAL OKLAHOMA MUSEUM OF POETRY: 40 minutes east of Tulsa, just outside the little town of Locust Grove, there’s a small and lovingly crafted museum dedicated to poetry. It might seem like a strange place for a literary museum—surrounded by farmland, in the middle of rural Oklahoma—but it all started with a woman who grew up in the area, loving poetry. In secret. 

SEGMENT C (18:59)

Incue: I’m Al Letson and you’re listening to State of the Re:Union

Outcue: This is NPR.

A SHRINE FOR IMMIGRANTS: Middle America can be a hard place for new immigrants. The Latino population has surged over the past ten years, and there have been some... growing pains. In 2007, Oklahoma passed a law called House Bill 1804. The law made it easier to deport people, and it was intended to scare undocumented immigrants—to make them pack up and leave. Which it did. But a community here in Tulsa, a Catholic church in a corner of the city, saw this as an opportunity. They decided to create a shrine for immigrants from all over middle America... the only one in the world outside of Mexico. 

STRUGGLING TO INTEGRATE AT ALL SOULS UNITARIAN: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said Sunday at 11AM is the most segregated hour in America. Decades later, that’s still true and it’s no different in Tulsa. This is a very religious town and churches here usually divide along racial lines. There’s one church, though, that’s trying to change that. 

PROGRAM OUT @ 59:00 

Broadcast Window Begins 10/1/13 

The Fall 2013 Season of State of the Re:Union (SOTRU) will be available beginning October 1, 2013, on PRX and the Content Depot without charge to all public radio stations, and may be aired an unlimited number of times prior to December 31, 2014. The program may be streamed live on station websites but not archived. Excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only. 

State of the Re:Union is presented by WJCT, and co-distributed by NPR and PRX.  Major funding for the State of the Re:Union comes from CPB, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

Thanks for your consideration of State of the Re:Union with Al Letson. Please contact your NPR Stations relations person or Joan Miller @ joanadrienne@gmail.com with questions or to confirm carriage.

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Piece Description

State of the Re:Union
Tulsa, Oklahoma: Reconciliation Way

Host: Al Letson
Producer: Delaney Hall

Tulsa, Oklahoma sits at a crossroads of American identities. In a special episode of SOTRU, we travel to the middle of Middle America to see what happens when these identities collide. We explore one of the country’s deadliest race riots, an incident that the city spent a long time trying to forget; visit a lovingly-crafted museum dedicated to spreading poetry to rural Oklahoma; and—in two special stories produced by This Land Press—visit a couple of churches, one struggling mightily to integrate and the other building a shrine for undocumented immigrants in a state with some of the harshest immigration laws in the nation.

BILLBOARD (:59)

Incue: From PRX and NPR

Outcue: But first, this news.

News Hole: 1:00-6:00 

SEGMENT A (12:29)

Incue: From WJCT in Jacksonville, Florida, I’m Al Letson...

Outcue: We find out why when SOTRU continues. 

THE CARNEGIE HALL OF WESTERN SWING: Cain’s Ballroom sits just north of downtown Tulsa, in the Brady Arts District. For decades, Cain’s was the “Carnegie Hall of Western Swing,” an eclectic homegrown tradition that blended musical styles from all over the region. 

WHAT’S IN A NAME? The front of Cain’s Ballroom is engraved with a sign that says, “Brady, 1924.” Like a bunch of buildings in the area, Cain’s was originally built by one of the city’s founding fathers, Tate Brady, who’s been in the news again lately for his controversial past. 

REMEMBERING THE 1921 RACE RIOT: Almost one hundred years ago, in 1921, Tulsa experienced one of the biggest incidents of racial violence in this country’s history, when a white mob destroyed—literally burned to the ground—a vibrant African-American neighborhood called Greenwood. 


SEGMENT B (18:59)

Incue: I’m Al Letson and this is State of the Re:Union. 

Outcue: P-R-X-dot-O-R-G

A STREET NAME DIVIDES A COMMUNITY: The Brady Arts District sits right down the block from the old Greenwood neighborhood and, after major investment from the city and local foundations, it has become the gem of revitalized downtown Tulsa. But in the last few months, revelations about its namesake’s dark past, have forced the city to consider Tulsa’s continuing racial divide. 

DEAR TULSA: Tulsa-based poet Joy Harjo considers her complicated relationship with her hometown. 

THE RURAL OKLAHOMA MUSEUM OF POETRY: 40 minutes east of Tulsa, just outside the little town of Locust Grove, there’s a small and lovingly crafted museum dedicated to poetry. It might seem like a strange place for a literary museum—surrounded by farmland, in the middle of rural Oklahoma—but it all started with a woman who grew up in the area, loving poetry. In secret. 

SEGMENT C (18:59)

Incue: I’m Al Letson and you’re listening to State of the Re:Union

Outcue: This is NPR.

A SHRINE FOR IMMIGRANTS: Middle America can be a hard place for new immigrants. The Latino population has surged over the past ten years, and there have been some... growing pains. In 2007, Oklahoma passed a law called House Bill 1804. The law made it easier to deport people, and it was intended to scare undocumented immigrants—to make them pack up and leave. Which it did. But a community here in Tulsa, a Catholic church in a corner of the city, saw this as an opportunity. They decided to create a shrine for immigrants from all over middle America... the only one in the world outside of Mexico. 

STRUGGLING TO INTEGRATE AT ALL SOULS UNITARIAN: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said Sunday at 11AM is the most segregated hour in America. Decades later, that’s still true and it’s no different in Tulsa. This is a very religious town and churches here usually divide along racial lines. There’s one church, though, that’s trying to change that. 

PROGRAM OUT @ 59:00 

Broadcast Window Begins 10/1/13 

The Fall 2013 Season of State of the Re:Union (SOTRU) will be available beginning October 1, 2013, on PRX and the Content Depot without charge to all public radio stations, and may be aired an unlimited number of times prior to December 31, 2014. The program may be streamed live on station websites but not archived. Excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only. 

State of the Re:Union is presented by WJCT, and co-distributed by NPR and PRX.  Major funding for the State of the Re:Union comes from CPB, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

Thanks for your consideration of State of the Re:Union with Al Letson. Please contact your NPR Stations relations person or Joan Miller @ joanadrienne@gmail.com with questions or to confirm carriage.