History on display at Tulsa's Lacy Park community center

Thursday, February 17th 2005, 10:30 am
By: News On 6

This is Black History month and the mural at Lacy Park Community Center in Tulsa is a remarkable reminder of African American struggles and triumphs.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells took a tour of the mural Thursday with someone who knows it almost as well as the artist who painted it.

Vinita Thompson was the director at Lacy Park for 23 years. It was Lincoln Park back then, and when the community center building at 2134 North Madison Place was built.

A young Tulsa artist named Felix Cole was commissioned to paint a mural. “You see familiar faces, you see history." African Americans throughout history, the famous and the infamous. "He's done a wonderful job of including big names and small names and no names. Some images depict an idea."

People from every segment of society. Take Vanessa Williams, the first black Miss America. "He put her between two of my favorite people, Oprah Winfrey and Rev Ben Hill."

Felix Cole began the work in the spring of 1975 it took nearly two years to finish. Actually it's still a work in progress; in 2002 he came back to town and added some images. "Bernard McIntyre the first black senator from Tulsa. Thurgood Marshall, Niki Giovanni, Muhammad Ali, Frederick Douglass."

Some of these are so life-like they can be disconcerting. Vinita Thompson retired nearly a decade ago, but she truly loves this mural and what it says. “It always thrills me just to see the history on the wall." And it really makes this a special place.

More information on the mural and the subjects in it is available on the Lacy Park Community Center web site.