‘BlackSpace Oklahoma’ Project Will Highlight Historic Landmarks For Future Generations
OKLAHOMA CITY - A new project is taking shape to highlight historic landmarks across Northeast Oklahoma City. It is called BlackSpace Oklahoma, and organizers plan to merge our past with our future.
We all have memories of places that pinpoint important moments in our lives. Oftentimes, though, they are only celebrated in our minds. BlackSpace Oklahoma hopes to change that for generations of local African-Americans, starting at the old Page Woodson School, now an apartment building that maintains its character.
“The truth and the history as it is documented in historical centers, is kind of one side of the story or one piece of the story,” says architect and OU professor Deborah Richards, who is part of the project.
With grants from Oklahoma Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities, though, the group has already completed two lectures on Northeast OKC's history and the process of storytelling.
Now, they need your voice.
BlackSpace Oklahoma co-founder Gina Sofola says, “We really stand at a place in time where we have the opportunity to begin to tell the story from our perspective and to begin to document those stories.”
Richards adds, “We are planning on taking all of the stories, lectures and information that we collect and creating sort of an interactive map or field guide, if you will.”
BlackSpace will install interactive exhibits throughout the city with artifacts, art and videos, with guidance from experts like Rick Lowe, who built similar spaces in Tulsa and Houston.
Page Woodson developers are taking a page from Lowe’s book for the work starting here. Across the street, new apartment buildings called The Seven represent seven prominent figures who helped shape the neighborhood's past.
“Hopefully we’re able to do that throughout the development,” Sofola says, “and really begin to maybe even establish the beginnings of a cultural corridor.”
Bring your history to the storytelling workshop happening at the Page Woodson auditorium this Saturday, March 16 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The day will be broken into 20-40 minute sessions.
Select families will be able to create a short film of their story during a three-day intensive digital storytelling workshop at Page Woodson, March 21-23.
Lowe will give the third and final lecture of the series at Page Woodson on March 30 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
News 9 is part of a local initiative that brings all of our local media outlets together to give Oklahoma a United Voice in promoting a healthy dialogue on race. To see more stories, visit UnitedVoiceOK.org.