Recognition 1440 North Everest St Black Historical Building in the National Register

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On Friday, April 26, 2019, the Capitol-Medical Center Improvement and Zoning Commission will be considering a permit to demolish the property at 1440 North Everest. The CARE Center, which purchased the building in 2018, is proposing to construct a new and substantially larger building on the site. Although the Center claims the building is dilapidated, it is structurally sound and of high historic integrity. Concerned citizens and organizations, including those that specialize in the rehabilitation of historic properties, have offered to volunteer their time to assist CARE Center in developing alternative and more imaginative plans for the future of the property. The CARE Center has ignored these offers.

Given the historic significance of the property at 1440 North Everest Street, we are asking you to sign this petition asking the Capitol-Medical Center Improvement and Zoning Commission to make the Brockway Center a historic landmark.

We are petitioning to recognize 1440 North Everest Street Oklahoma City, OK as a National Historical Landmark. This property is known historically as the Brockway Community Center and served as the headquarters of the Oklahoma Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs from 1968 to 2011. As such, this building was a centerpiece for a politically active and culturally vibrant African American community in northeast Oklahoma City.

The women of The Brockway Center & National Association of Colored Women have been active in forming political organizations and promoting the advancement of our communities in Oklahoma for over a century. In 1906, Judith C. Horton founded the first African American women’s club in Guthrie. A state federation of women’s clubs, known as the Oklahoma Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, was organized in 1910. By 1956, 96 communities in Oklahoma had an active club chapter. In the face of intimidation, violence, and political disenfranchisement, club members actively protested lynching, endorsed women’s suffrage, founded chapters of the YWCA, Red Cross, and the NAACP, and marched on behalf of civil rights.

The Oklahoma Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs acquired the property at 1440 North Everest Street in 1968. Club members soon designated the property as the Brockway Center in honor of one of the organization’s founders and leaders, Maude Brockway. Originally from Curtis, Arkansas, Brockway was active in the founding of the Oklahoma Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs in 1910. Alongside other notable members, including Drusilla Dunjee Houston (sister of Roscoe Dunjee, who edited Oklahoma City’s only black newspaper), Brockway organized the OFCWC into a positive, active organization that operated under the slogan “Lifting as We Climb.” The Brockway Center was a structural embodiment of this philosophy by providing meeting space, an auditorium, a library, and other services to protect young women and children, improve community life, and to promote equality and racial harmony.