My Reading Brings Thoughts

Sep 07, 2023 by Gency Brown

It’s been kind of quiet lately at the cabin while I read a book that I highly recommend. If you like historical drama, murder mystery, and non-fiction that reads like unbelievable Pulitzer Prize winning fiction, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Gann is for you. You can, of course, wait for the Martin Scorsese movie which opens in theaters in October, but don’t. I feel that after much research, Mr. Gann has nailed the facts and Hollywood, being Hollywood, will have to change the story some. I plan to see it and can only hope they do the book and the story justice.

The writing is some of the finest I’ve read this year. His telling doesn’t leave a stone unturned, and he conveys the facts in such a way that I couldn’t put the book down. I finished it in less than two days. Unusual for me.

I must tell you I’m sure some of my connection with the story is because it takes place in my home state of Oklahoma. Osage County is roughly an hour and a half from where I grew up. Now, I hear of murderous treachery at the hands of white men wanting to take the land given to the red man in Oklahoma Territory. You see, the government thought they were giving the Osage people ownership of dry, useless prairie land. Only with the discovery of oil on that land which made members of the Osage tribe wealthy did scandalous businessmen in the area want it back at all costs.

It brings to memory the evening in 1993 when I stood frozen in front of my tv as scenes I had never heard or read about in my state seared the screen. A PBS documentary about the burning destruction of the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa shattered my memories of an ideally peaceful childhood. I felt embarrassed for my homeland. The area known as Black Wall Street comprised busy streets filled with prosperous black-owned businesses, banks, theaters, and homes. The questionable report that a young black man had spoken to a white woman in an elevator of a prestigious downtown hotel sparked the massacre of hundreds that night. Was it simply that the people who lost everything that night in 1921 got above their raising, as we say back home?

It’s not that I no longer love my origins. I know these things happened all over our country. And still do. What I’m mad about is that I didn’t know about them until later in life. Why were these happenings hidden and not presented in our high school Oklahoma History books? Why do we filter knowledge presented across our country? I understand in many schools only brief histories are part of the curriculum, if any at all. We’re afraid of being politically incorrect and hurting someone’s feelings. Shameful!

Many of us are vocal about banning books. This isn’t book burning. It’s knowledge burning. Are those on curriculum committees afraid to tell the truth about how we have and sometimes continue to treat our fellow man?

Think about this. The youth of today don’t enter the classroom armed with that fat pencil and Big Chief tablet anymore. Now, they sit down to a computer. Do you really think they won’t use their computer skills to research and find the truth someday? Like David Gann has done.

Thank you, Mr. Gann, for using the internet, personal visits to Osage County, countless hours of pouring over stacks of documents, and interviews with descendants. Once again, my knowledge comes better late than never, I guess.

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