Why not W(e). H(ate). Brady?
In the moment, few backed the decision by the Tulsa City Council to add two letters to the name Brady Street -- certainly not those pushing for greater change.
The move was meant as a way to renounce an affiliation with W. Tate Brady, instead having the street name formally changed to M.B. Brady in honor of noted Civil War photographer Mathew B. Brady. Brady has no apparent ties to Tulsa.
People in the crowd who a week earlier spoke for change expressed their displeasure at the vote.
North Carolina-based law professor and historian Alfred Brophy has written about renaming controversies related to Civil War monuments, arguing that they should be left intact to preserve historical memory.
"It's a new one," he said of the council's decision, adding that he's never heard of this sort of compromise elsewhere. Brophy criticized the decision, however, calling it "intellectually dishonest."
Matthew B. Brady
The 7-1 vote in favor of the change came at the council's Aug. 15 meeting, one week after dozens spoke at a public hearing and three months after a small group first asked for the city to distance itself from Tate Brady.
While Brady was a town founder and civic booster, recent research has emphasized his ties to the Ku Klux Klan and acts of violence against workers. His role in the 1921 race riot remains unclear, but he was a member of a real estate group that sought to keep black Tulsans from rebuilding their neighborhoods.
The push for the M.B. Brady name was only revealed publicly at the Aug. 15 meeting. Earlier, the proposed ordinance called for changing the name to Burlington Street, apparently the name originally intended for the downtown street.
Councilor Blake Ewing attempted to explain the compromise.
"I truly believe that the best way for us was not to show up here tonight and have a vote on whether to rename Brady Street to Burlington Street, which would, even if it passed through the council, likely not pass it through the mayor's office, causing this divide that we've seen for a very long time continue to exist," Ewing told the crowd.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett had the power to veto the measure, which would have then gone back to the council and required passage by a two-thirds majority.
In response to a question about Bartlett's position on a possible veto of the Burlington Street ordinance, Lloyd Wright, the mayor's press secretary, didn't exactly answer the question.
Matthew B. Brady
"Mayor Bartlett made it clear from the very beginning that he was not in favor of changing the street name," Wright wrote in an email. "That being said, he feels like the council did what they felt they could do to help bring some reconciliation to those who want change. He believes this has always been more about reconciliation than changing the name of Brady Street. He would like to stay on that course going forward. As to whether he would have vetoed the council's vote on name change from Brady to Burlington, thankfully that question is now moot."
The Brady Arts District Business Association's executive board released a statement emphasizing its commitment to diversity -- as well as a desire to include the nearby Greenwood neighborhood, a once-prosperous area filled with black-owned businesses, in a campaign to educate others about the development of the area.
"In the time since May, we have embarked on a program to assemble information on the entire history of our District -- its start as a center of commerce to its present day morph into the Arts Center. We are forming an on-line presence as well as informational materials throughout the District to display the good and bad of the District's Past, Present and Future. We are expanding our program past the physical boundaries which 'Brady Business District' holds as the official listing in the National Register of Historic Places ... Making certain to acknowledge other specifically designated areas, such as Greenwood, which have overlapped in the development of our present day Tulsa. As this process evolves, we hope to enlist the participation of the entire Tulsa community to be certain the information is educational and, above all, factual."
Hundreds crowded the room at Tulsa Community College's downtown campus to hear architects describe their design for A Gathering Place for Tulsa, the approximately 50-acre park near Riverside Drive.
The June unveiling included a 23-by-10-foot model displaying the park in all its detail. Now, the same model will be on display for those who want another peek at the ambitious park plan.
Visitors can see the model at the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa's Hardesty Arts Center, 101 E. Archer St., through Sept. 27. The second-floor exhibit will be open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 1-6pm, with extended hours on Sept. 6. On Thursdays, the model will be on view from 1-9pm. On Sunday, visitors can see the model from 1-5pm.
The park's design comes from Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation has been spearheading the project.
A new school bus.
Students and employees of Tulsa Community College will ride free on Tulsa Transit buses as part of a pilot program that extends through the school's fall semester.
An ID with a color sticker indicating fall 2013 affiliation with the college is required to ride free, and part-time faculty may also ride free.
"TCC Rides Free is a green commute for college, work and life. This pilot program is designed to benefit our students and increase access to higher education by removing the obstacle of transportation for those who want to attend college," TCC Vice President for Administration and Chief Technology Officer Sean Weins said in a statement.
The project is the first such unlimited ride program in Tulsa, and funded through a partnership with Tulsa Transit and TCC. The program extends through Friday, Dec. 13.
More information for riders can be found at tulsacc.edu/tccridesfree.
Check it out elsewhere.
Visitors to the downtown library have until Aug. 30 to visit the main branch of the Tulsa City-County Library system before it closes for an extensive two-year renovation.
However, services will still be offered downtown at what will be known as the Librarium, set to open Sept. 3 at S. Denver Avenue and W. 11th Street.
The new site will feature thousands of books, as well as DVDs and Wi-Fi areas, along with a few extras. For example, plans call for the Librarium to feature a "Technology Discovery Table," where tablet computers will be available for public use.
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