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Convention Participants Clamor for Statehood
(Rebroadcast on July 16, 2003)

July 18, 2001

Historian's Notes

Oklahoma has, in my opinion, one of the wackiest histories of any state in the Union. The progression from Native American land, to Indian/Oklahoma Territory, to Statehood was a complex and odd journey. Any standard Oklahoma history text will lay out this evolution (or de-evolution, as some might see it) in an orderly fashion.

Resources

Scales, J. R., & Goble, D. (1982). Oklahoma Politics. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

Baird, W. D., & Goble, D. (1994). The Story of Oklahoma. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

The Stillwater Daily Democrat. July 14, 1905 and July 19, 1905.

Almanac Transcript

Convention participants clamor for statehood this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, I’m Steven Kite.

Oklahoma became a state in 1907, but the deed wasn't accomplished easily. Much political wrangling had to occur before the 46th star could be added to the flag. For the citizens of Oklahoma one of the first questions to be answered was whether to come into the union as one state or two.

Both Oklahoma and Indian Territory had at various times petitioned for separate statehood. By 1905, however, it was clear that leaders within the state as well as in Washington, DC would only promote and approve of the single state option. It was in this week of July 1905 that county and district representatives from across the state convened in Oklahoma City attending there the largest statehood convention in the history of the territory. Every seat in the meeting hall was filled and according to reporters at the scene there were thousands more spectators and hopeful participants waiting on the grounds around the building for news of the events.

Politicians from around the country attended the event making clear to Oklahomans that they were indeed supporting the territories bid for statehood. Senator W. W. Blair from New Hampshire addressed the crowd for a lengthy period expounding on his desire to see Oklahoma admitted as a state. Stated Senator Blair, “The people down east desire your admittance to the union. You have the ability and intelligence to deal with any question. Already you have earned your wealth, while many states got their wealth after statehood. I will be a witness for you in Washington, because you are to be the great eastern state of the great middle-west.” With the end of Senator Blair’s address the crowd now pumped with the enthusiasm of statehood rose to their feet and sang “America.” Later in the afternoon, the convention delegates passed various resolutions and reasons justifying Oklahoma’s admission to the union. The delegates stated that in both geographical size and population Oklahoma was more than suited to join the ranks of US states. The industries within the state, natural resources and income potential all boded well for future prosperity. For these reasons, and many more listed by the delegates, Oklahoma, they argued was in a perfect position for immediate statehood. Alas, all did not work as planned or hoped by the convention attendees as citizens were forced to wait two grueling years before they could indeed claim themselves residents of the STATE of Oklahoma.

I'm Steven Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a production of the OSU Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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