Tulsa couple's ' Black History' collection

Wednesday, August 24th 2005, 10:18 am
By: News On 6

There is a saying if you believe your history is incomplete, you either accept it or decide to complete the picture. On display right now at TCC's Southeast campus is an exhibit that shows what two people can do when they put their minds to it.

As News on 6 reporter Rick Wells explains, they did it for the love of history.

Brenda Cleveland: "I really believe it's been inspired by our parents and grand parents and stories that have come down to us." The things you don't always read about in history books, Brenda and Eddie Cleveland found to their own disappointment young African American kids just don't know much about their own history.

Brenda Cleveland: "Someone needs to be responsible to get that information out." So for 20 years they have gathered bits and pieces, items that would help tell a story of blacks from Africa to America. In fact, that's the theme of this exhibit they've put together, 400 years of African-American History and Progress.

"I think it was our fate to do this." Folks who stop by to look will see some history of the slave trade and lots of evidence of African American contributions to life in America. "One of the ones we are most proud of is that Pullman Porter suit over there." They had been looking for one for several years, and finally found it in Tulsa and traded for it.

There are pieces showing black's contributions to the taming of the American West. Uniforms worn by African Americans in all our wars, including one worn by her son. "He's one of the few African American men who fly Black Hawk helicopters." An inspiration to someone who sees it she hopes.

This is only part of their collection, designed to educate and to inspire, by learning where we have been she says we may have a better idea of where we can go. They would like to take their exhibit other places, but would need some financial support to do that. In the meantime it's on display at TCC's Southeast campus in the Student Union through September 10th.