TULSA, Okla. - A memorial honoring the first principal of Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa finally went on display Friday.
Organizers have been working on the Ellis Walker Woods Memorial on the OSU-Tulsa campus for several years to celebrate his life and work. They broke ground in October 2018.
Ellis Walker Woods was the first principal of Booker T. Washington High School after walking 500 miles from Memphis to Oklahoma to answer the call for more black teachers in the area.
“Woods was more than a principal,” said Captola Dunn, E.W. Woods Memorial Committee chair. “He answered a calling when he came to Tulsa. He was shelter in the darkest of times and he provided hope to his students because he genuinely believed in their goodness, their strength and their abilities.”
In addition to his work as principal, Woods is credited with working with the American Red Cross in opening the high school to shelter children during the 1921 Race Massacre.
He served as the principal from 1913 until 1948 and helped push for the opening of the current site of the high school in the 1950s.
The memorial is located on campus near Archer and Greenwood Avenue -- the original site of the high school.
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