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Eddie Faye Gates

She was born in Preston, OK. She is accomplished in the area of Historian.
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Ms. Eddie Faye Gates is an oral historian and author. She was born and raised in Oklahoma and moved throughout the United States and Europe with her family. She attended Tuskegee Institute for three years, and is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of North Dakota, at Grand Forks where she received a B.S. in Composite Social Science. She later graduated with honors from the University of Tulsa, with a M.A. in History. Ms. Gates moved back to Tulsa in 1968 where she taught high school for twenty-two years before becoming the Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator for the district. She was instrumental in implementing a much-needed multicultural curriculum.

After retiring from teaching, she authored two books: Miz Lucy's Cookies: And Other Links in My Black Family Support System, an autobiography, and They Came Searching: How Blacks Sought the Promised Land in Tulsa. She is an education consultant, a Holocaust education consultant, and an activist working at local, state, national, and international levels to make the world a better place for all mankind.

Her most recent work is centered on the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921. In 1998 she, along with ten other members from diverse backgrounds, was named to the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. The riot commission was originally called for by Oklahoma State Representative Don Ross, an African American and former publisher, who became interested in documenting the riot as a young man. Ms. Gates became Chair of the Survivors Committee of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Commission. The Commission had five major goals: obtain a more accurate death count, locate all living black survivors, establish a more accurate property loss, locate more primary sources, and make recommendations regarding reparations. Gates said. "Our task was made harder because [the riots] had been covered up and forgotten for 75 years and many pertinent primary documents and resources had been deliberately destroyed."

Ms. Gates had a major role in rescuing the narratives of more than 200 survivors of the riots as well as information from more than 300 of their descendants. In February 2001, after two years of research and analysis, the Commission recommended that the survivors and descendants of deceased riot victims be paid restitution. While the final report was well received, the State of Oklahoma rejected the Commission's recommendation for reparations prompting a lawsuit filed in February 2003. The pro-bono legal team known as the Legal Dream Team, for the Tulsa plaintiffs includes some of the top lawyers in the country including Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree Jr., Johnnie Cochran and others who were members of the Reparations Coordination Committee (RCC). The lawsuit accused the city of Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department, and the state of Oklahoma of not protecting its citizens and deputizing the white mob by supplying weapons. The lawsuit claims that officials failed to take action and further abused their power to "propagate the riot and empower the rioting white mob."

Ms. Gates was one of the strongest proponents of reparations for survivors and descendants of the riot and some of her research, which was included in the Riot Commission Report, has been cited as most helpful to the legal dream team and its efforts. Eddie Faye is one of two individuals who serve as liaison between the survivors and descendants of deceased riot victims and the legal team. She has interviewed over 200 survivors and 300 descendants, and believes that archaeology "examining mass graves"could help "give credibility to the stories of the survivors," and fill the holes in the incomplete historical record. The existence of a grave would show beyond question how blacks were treated, and could undoubtedly have an impact on both the lawsuit as well as public opinion.

Ms. Gates is also the author of the book Riot on Greenwood: The Total Destruction of Black Wall Street, and was instrumental in identifying 136 living survivors of the Tulsa race riot back in 1997 prior to her appointment to the Commission. Today, she notes, only 120 of the riot survivors are still alive. Those survivors average age is between 82 and 105 years of age. Gates has also identified over 300 descendants of deceased riot survivors who might also receive compensation.

When she is not writing or lecturing, she is one of two Greenwood/Black Wall Street specialists who give guided tours and lectures for the Tulsa Global Alliance Organization as well as to other organizations and groups that want to learn about Black Wall Street which hosts visiting dignitaries for overseas scholars, historians, archaeologists, researchers and others interested in the history of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She will also give tours to any other groups who want to learn about Black Wall Street.

Recently Mrs. Gates was featured in an article entitled "Beyonce and 25 Other Strong Women Who are Shaping the World" which appeared in the October 2005 issue of Essence Magazine, and in the November 27, 2005 issue of Jet Magazine about a meeting held in Washington, D.C. on behalf of Tulsa riot victims. Mrs. Gates was invited to Portland, Oregon to participate in a series of Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration events in January 2006 and to do a book signing at the African Drum/Reflections Book store.

Mrs. Gates, Pulitzer-prize nominated author Clifton Taulbert and Harvard educated author Hannibal Johnson have presented two Writers Workshops at Rudisill Library in North Tulsa which were taped by C_SPAN BOOK TV and aired repeatedly.

Learn more about Eddie Faye Gates by visiting her Web site at http://www.tulsa-riot.com/TR/.