REDBIRD

NAME: Redbird
COUNTY: Wagoner
ROADS: 2WD
GRID: 4
CLIMATE: The usual
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Daylight, when it is dark it gets kinda creepy!!!
COMMENTS: The population of Redbird is not available but just guessing probably 50-100 people. The houses are all boarded up. There are 2 Baptist churches that are attended still. There is an old abandoned bar with boards and bars on the windows and door. There are no gas stations, stores or anything other than the churches. They have to drive about 15 miles to the nearest town post office. The addresses can only be P.O. Boxes. They do not have schools here either, they have to go to either Porter,OK or Muskogee,OK schools.
REMAINS: Some residents, 2 churches(still attended), abandoned buildings and foundations, oh and there is about 3 picnic tables too!!

Redbird is an All-Black community. All-Black towns grew in Indian Territory after the Civil War when the former slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes settled together for mutual protection and economic security. When the United States government forced Native Americans to accept individual land allotments, most Indian "freedmen" chose land next to other African Americans. They created cohesive prosperous farming communities that could support businesses, schools, and churches, eventually forming towns. Entrepreneurs in these communities started every imaginable kind of business, including newspapers, and advertised throughout the South for settlers. Many African Americans migrated to Oklahoma, considering it a kind of "promise land."In these towns African Americans lived free from the prejudices and brutality found in other racially mixed communities of the Midwest and the South. African Americans in Oklahoma and Indian Territories would create their own communities for many reasons. Escape from discrimination and abuse would be an important driving factor. All-Black settlements offered the advantage of being able to depend on neighbors for financial assistance and of having open markets for crops. Arthur Tolson, a pioneering historian of Blacks in Oklahoma, asserts that many African Americans turned to "ideologies of economic advancement, self-help, and racial solidarity."Marshalltown, North Fork Colored, Canadian Town, and Arkansas Colored existed as early as the 1860's in Indian Territory. Other Indian Territory towns that no longer exist include Sanders, Mabelle, Wiley, Homer, Huttonville, Lee, and Rentie. Among the Oklahoma Territory towns no longer in existence were Lincoln, Columbia, Cimarron City, Bailey, Zion, Emanuel, Udora, and Douglas in old Oklahoma Territory. Towns that still survive are Boley, Brooksville, Clearview, Grayson, Langston, Lima, Redbird, Rentiesville, Summit, Taft, Tatums, Tullahassee, and Vernon. The largest and most renowned of these was Boley. Booker T. Washington, nationally prominent African American educator, visited Boley twice and even submitted a positive article on the town to Outlook Magazine in 1908.White distrust also limited the growth of these All-Black towns. As early as 1911 whites in Okfuskee County attempted to block further immigration and to force African Americans into mixed but racially segregated communities incapable of self-support. Several of these white farmers signed oaths pledging to "never rent, lease, or sell land in Okfuskee County to any person of Negro blood, or agent of theirs; unless the land be located more than one mile from a white or Indian resident." To further stem the black migration to Eastern Oklahoma a similar oath was developed to prevent the hiring of "Negro labor." That is really the only type of history I have right now but I'm going back for more and get some photo's. I have been there 3 times and seen about 10 people total and one operating car. Submitted by: Courtney and Corey

Correction to the Red Bird Information. Red Bird has 4 churches, 2 Baptist,
1 Church of God and 1 Christian Methodist Episcopal. You'll pass the CME church when you first enter the town from Highway 51B. Red Bird has it's own Post Office, City Hall (recently refurbished) and Water Office. There are yearly tours of Red Bird through the Tulsa Rudisell Library that features the Black Towns of Oklahoma. Recent renovations and planned renovations include paved streets, to be completed 2004, new playground for our children, updated sewer and water system as well as remodeling of the historic Miller-Washington High School. Until the late 1970's the only school for blacks in Wagoner County. Red Bird celebrated their 100th Anniversary last year on the 4th of July. Previous residents, local politicians and the greater Wagoner County Community attended with over 400 people. Red Bird population is closer to 200 rather than the 50-60 noted in your information packet. Red Bird uses Porter or Coweta Schools, not Muskogee. Although there are many boarded houses, there are a number of new houses and new buildings.

Rev. William T. Janey, Pastor
First Baptist Church, Red Bird, OK

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