OKLAHOMA CITY — Leaders from the historically black towns of Oklahoma will be honored during the Historic Black Towns Honors 13 banquet, set for 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Quail Creek Golf and Country Club.

The event is sponsored by the Coltrane Group, which has a mission of preserving and revitalizing the 13 remaining historically black towns in Oklahoma. Andre L. and Jessilyn Hall Head, who founded the nonprofit, said their goal is to “record the rich history and heritage of the present and past residents, restore and preserve feasible buildings and revitalize economic development and cultural tourism.”

Outstanding volunteers will be honored from among the towns of Brooksville, Boley, Clearview, Grayson, Langston, Lima, Redbird, Rentiesville, Summit, Taft, Tatums, Tulahassee and Vernon. 

The Build-a-Brick Walkway Campaign for the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Boley will also be launched on the night of the banquet. Sales of personalized bricks will help to preserve the building, which in November 1932 was the sight of an attempted robbery by members of Pretty Boy Floyd’s gang. Armed employees and town residents thwarted the robbery, killing two of the robbers and wounding the third, but beloved bank president and former mayor D.J. Turner was shot by one of the gangsters and later died from his wounds.

The Coltrane Group was awarded a grant to help with the cost of stabilizing and preserving the building, but matching funds and additional sponsorships are needed to turn it into a tourist destination and site of an annual re-enactment of the robbery.

Tickets for the banquet are $70 each and available by calling the Coltrane Group at 206-948-8852 or 206-949-5012 or going to HBTOK.org.

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