Oklahoma’s Panhandle Is Home To Hidden Black History

desert land
Adé Hennis
April 21, 2023

From all-black towns to Black Wall Street, Oklahoma is rich in Black culture and history. But there is one part of Oklahoma that doesn’t get as much attention as other parts of the state.

The panhandle. It turns out it wasn’t always a part of Oklahoma. In fact, it has a direct connection to Black history.

The panhandle was once owned by Texas, which originally spread all the way up North into Wyoming. But the Missouri Compromise of 1820 changed that.

The Missouri Compromise banned slavery north of the 36º 30' latitude line, and a part of Texas was above that line. Texas gave that land away so they could continue slavery. After years of being its own independent land, the panhandle eventually became a part of Oklahoma.

Today, the Oklahoma panhandle is a worldwide attraction due to its well-preserved natural resources. But never forget it holds a connection to us. What parts of your community could be part of hidden Black history?

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