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Oklahoma State Senate
Senate District 9

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For Immediate Release: February 5, 2008

Sen. Earl Garrison
Sen. Earl Garrison

Oklahoma State Senate Passes Concurrent Resolution Denouncing Jim Crow Laws

The Oklahoma State Senate unanimously passed a concurrent resolution Tuesday denouncing the state’s racial segregationist past and called for the Senate to begin Oklahoma’s second century free from all racial bias or prejudice and declared its intention to remain so during all future operations.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 49 is authored by Senator Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee, and co-authored by Senate Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater; Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City; Sen. Constance N. Johnson, D-Oklahoma City; Sen. Judy Eason-McIntyre, D-Tulsa and Sen. Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City. The House author is Rep. Wade Rousselot, D-Okay and co-authored by Rep. Anastasia Pittman, D-Oklahoma City; Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton and Rep. Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa.

The resolution denounces Oklahoma’s Jim Crow laws which began with Senate Bill No. 1 in Oklahoma’s first State Legislature. The law required separate facilities for blacks in public transportation, public education and other public facilities. This practice spread throughout the South and border states becoming a pervasive part of the culture.

“As we begin a second century in Oklahoma, it’s important that we as legislators and our fellow Oklahomans recognize and learn from the mistakes from this terribly dark era of our state,” Garrison said. “With February being Black History Month, I think this sends the timely and correct message that prejudice and racial bias won’t be tolerated by this legislative body. It’s time we disavow any vestiges of the Jim Crow laws.”

Rep. Rousselot added “It’s about time. I was taught at an early age we are all created equal and I believe strongly in that philosophy today. I’m proud to be part of co-authoring this important resolution.”

Garrison said Oklahoma’s racial history hasn’t gone without a fight for justice and equality through the court system and by the actions of civil right organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which was founded in 1909.

The NAACP took root in Oklahoma in 1913 when black leaders founded a local chapter in Oklahoma City. By the 1920s there were more than 12 chapters in the state and in the 1930s Oklahoma became the first state to form a state branch. Led by such famous black Oklahomans as Roscoe Dunjee, Arsula Mence Sanders, Ada Lois Sipuel-Fisher,Clara Luper and others, the NAACP after decades of struggle eventually triumphed with the repudiation of racial segregation and the end of Jim Crow in Oklahoma.
Carolyn Wade, president of the Muskogee Branch NAACP, said she strongly supports Senator Garrison’s resolution.

“We really appreciate his efforts and we want people to understand what Senator Garrison is trying to do,” Mrs. Wade said. “He’s doing this from his heart. He saw the need for change and wants to help this state move forward. He is a very special person.”

Garrison said copies of this resolution will be sent to the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission; CarolynWade, President of the Muskogee Branch of the NAACP ;Derrick Reed, Youth Advisor of the Muskogee Branch NAACP Youth Council ;Anthony R. Douglas, State President of the NAACP Oklahoma State Conference of Branches; and Oklahoma civil rights pioneer Clara Luper, who established the Freedom Center and the Freedom Center Monument.

Senator Judy Eason McIntyre, D-Tulsa, commended her Democratic colleague for his vision and dedication to equality for all Oklahomans.

“I think most Oklahomans are clearly aware of that chapter not only in Oklahoma’s, but America’s history,” said Senator Eason McIntyre. “While this action does not erase the past, it serves as a reminder of the depths we have endured and overcome in our state’s first 100 years and, more importantly, the heights we can achieve in our next 100 years.”

For more information contact:
Senator Garrison's Office: (405) 521-5533

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