A long-time educator in Sand Springs will be honored as the namesake of the new Zackery Park.
Besse Crawford Zackery was a teacher in Sand Springs for 28 years, teaching in a segregated school that once served the surrounding neighborhood.
Jeff Edwards, Sand Springs Park Director, said, “There was really a sentiment among the citizens who used to live in that area that we really want to memorialize what that area used to be."
Zackery Park is bordered by a coffee shop, hotel and restaurants, but in 2005 a young reporter found Minnie Leeks, a resident looking to move from the then-decrepit neighborhood.
The neighborhood once thrived around the Booker T Washington school, where Besse Zackery taught art and elementary students. Zackery was the first black teacher in the desegregated public schools and was later honored for a lifetime of outstanding teaching.
When it came time to consider who the park should honor, Edwards said it was an easy decision.
“And it was just hands down, no questions asked, Ms. Zackery was the namesake and the person we felt like portrayed what we wanted the property to resemble and identify now and into the future,” Edwards said.