Fire in Beulah: Author talk and discussion about the Tulsa Race Massacre with Rilla Askew
- Wednesday, May 19, 6-7:30pm
- Crystal Bridge Visitor Center
- Pre-registration is appreciated here
Join renowned author Rilla Askew as she discusses the events of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the climate that led to this tragedy. Askew will read from her book, Fire in Beulah, a historical fiction novel about the massacre and lead a discussion afterwards about the legacy of this event. Copies of Fire in Beulah will be available for purchase thanks to Full Circle Bookstore.
Rilla Askew is the author of four novels, a book of stories, and a collection of creative nonfiction, as well as plays, articles, and essays. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Oklahoma.
Fire in Beulah is the second of her four novels and is about the Tulsa Race Massacre. It received the American Book Award, the Myers Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, and was selected as the centennial book for Oklahoma’s One Book One State program.
In 2009 she received the Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book in 2011.
Fire in Beulah
Set during the tense days of the Oklahoma oil rush, Fire in Beulah centers on the complex relationship between Althea Whiteside, an oil wildcatter’s high-strung wife, and Graceful, her enigmatic black maid. Their juxtaposing stories, and those of others close to them, unfold against a volatile backdrop of oil-boom opulence, fear, hatred and lynchings that climax in the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, during which whites burned the city’s prosperous black neighborhood to the ground.
A unique art installation – Love & Harmony Oklahoma – on display in the Visitor Center of the Crystal Bridge Conservatory is dedicated to the citizens of Oklahoma, and celebrates the ethnic diversity and beauty of cultural differences. The exhibit, which opened May 1, is a message of hope and resilience through the expression of photography, mural paintings, messages and sound.
Central to Love & Harmony are two large-scale murals. “Instilled Dream” was created by four Tulsa artists, each from different cultural backgrounds and creative spaces, who came together during a 10-day period to make a statement of what unity and race looks like, while “Golden Reciprocal” was painted by Tulsa artist Alexander Tamahn.
Woven into the exhibit are photos, as well as inspirational narratives from Tulsa community members and leaders, lending their images and voices to share their perspectives of what “love and harmony” truly means. This art installation will provide Oklahomans with a thoughtful reminder of the common bond as one state, one people and one human race.
“Love & Harmony is a timely art exhibit for the Gardens to celebrate how differences between people can lead to dialogues and appreciation that knit communities together,” said Maureen Heffernan, CEO of Myriad Gardens Foundation. “It’s an exhibit that inspires the viewer to deeply look at ‘the other’ and with your heart. When you do that, you see how you are more alike than different. And where there are differences, those differences can enrich and enliven our daily lives and our culture.”
The exhibit was curated by Tulsa’s Gathering Place and is on loan to the Gardens. It is free for viewing through July 31.
Visitor Center hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays.