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Senator Lankford Congratulates Oklahomans Selected for the 400 Years of African-American History Commission

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued the following statement congratulating two Oklahomans, Mr. Hannibal Johnson and Dr. Myron Pope, on their selection for the 15-member, 400 Years of African-American History Commission that will help coordinate the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the English colonies in 1619. Established through bipartisan legislation on January 8, 2018, the Commission, under the Department of Interior, will plan and coordinate activities throughout the US to recognize and highlight 400 years of vital African-American contributions to our nation. The Commission is expected to begin meeting in late 2018 and will help encourage civic, patriotic, historical, educational, artistic, religious, economic, and other organizations to come together to participate in anniversary activities.

“Mr. Johnson and Dr. Pope will undoubtedly provide stellar academic and personal perspectives to this exemplary panel of experts as they fulfill the Commission’s goal of telling the full and honest story of African Americans and their 400-year history in the Americas,” said Lankford. “This 400-year anniversary, as well as the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riots coming up in 2021, offer our nation an opportunity to remember our nation’s deplorable history of slavery, separation, and violence while we continue the work toward generational change and equality for every American. These moments of reflection help us acknowledge our past so we can look ahead and work on ways we can bring families, churches, businesses, academic institutions, and communities together. I look forward to reading the work of my fellow Oklahomans, Mr. Johnson and Dr. Pope, as they work with the Commission and propose ways we can partner to highlight the past achievements and help solve challenges still facing African Americans in our nation today.”

Mr. Hannibal Johnson is an attorney, author, and independent consultant who specializes in diversity and inclusion/cultural competence issues and non-profit governance, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mr. Johnson plays a very active role in Oklahoma to raise awareness of and honor the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot and to study its impact on our state and nation. Notably, he authored Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District, one of the preeminent historical works on the important role Tulsa’s Greenwood District has played in the national African American identity.

Dr. Myron Pope is the Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma and serves as an Adjunct Instructor for the Department of African and African-American Studies at the University of Oklahoma and as an Advisory Board Member for the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.