All-Black Towns: Brooksville

One of the thirteen All-Black towns to survive past the dawn of the twenty-first century, Brooksville Oklahoma has a rich and storied past, present, and future. Founded in 1903 as Sewell, Brooksville was renamed in 1919 after Alfred Brooks, a Black resident and the town’s first postmaster. Reverend Jedson White founded a church and encouraged Black Oklahomans to move to Brooksville. Reverend White’s church is still standing today. Located on the Santa Fe Railroad, three hotels, two mills, and a school were built. Established in 1924, Banneker school was one of the best outfitted Black schools in Oklahoma. Featuring a modern science lab, library, and three-hundred-person auditorium, the school was at the heart of the community. George McLaurin, the first African-American graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, taught at Banneker school. While the Great Depression hit Brooksville hard, the community survived and was eventually incorporated in 1972. There were an estimated sixty residents in 2019, one hundred years after the town was renamed.

Brooksville historical landmark, 2013 | Historical ...
Brooksville historical marker, photo by Kari Barber
Location of Brooksville, Oklahoma
Location of Brooksville, photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Johnson, Hannibal B. Acres of Aspiration: The All-Black Towns in Oklahoma. Eakin Press, 2002.

Larry O’Dell, “Brooksville,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture,

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