Ruth (Sigler) Avery-Parker, a Tulsa Race Riot historian and writer, died Oct. 29, 2001. She was 87. We remember her today, 100 years after the Massacre, by sharing her poetry which is published in the All Souls history book, Love is the Spirit of This Church, page 25.
Tulsa, Oklahoma | May 31-June 1, 1921
we scream against all the persistent lies
we lift our pens as though they be black bones
we will offend those Whites who turn their eyes
to read the empty pages of their tomes
we hear the dour, dulcet, Southern laughter
while touching sweaty lives of dusky souls
we taste the vacuum “Civil Rights” leaves after
idleness frustrates their untouched goals
six and sixty years the fiery crosses then lit hills—
gossip of Black/White lechery so hundreds died—
but now some speak again
to “inch” the
Our Century …
—Ruth Sigler Avery-Parker
Ruth spent a good part of her life compiling personal accounts of the Tulsa Race Massacre. The Ruth Sigler Avery Archive is housed at the OSU-Tulsa Library, Special Collections and Archives.
Her interest was sparked when, as a girl, she lived near Oaklawn Cemetery and was said to have watched as the bodies of black victims were taken there for burial.
She helped integrate the Tulsa Historical Society, for which she was secretary and co-chairwoman of the Oral History Committee.
Ruth’s poetry has been published in regional and national anthologies.Read more from Tulsa World.