Reading Time: 19 minutes

Nate Bradford, Jr. is standing at a large round grill in his hometown of Boley, Oklahoma. It’s Memorial Day weekend, and he’s cooking up beef burgers. 

Not for your typical family cookout to celebrate the holiday, no. Nate’s cooking for hungry parade spectators. And he’s not the only one getting ready.

Close by, there are Black cowboys and cowgirls on their horses, tons of motorcycles, a marching band…these few downtown blocks are crowded. 

Nate has sunglasses on, and a matching gold chain and bracelet. He’s also wearing a leather butcher’s apron, and a fresh black and white cap with the G-line logo across it… he’s dressed for the occasion; both for the work, and for chopping it up with family and friends who stop by.

He looks right at home behind the grill, getting things ready for the day.

Nate Bradford: Right now we’re taking these fresh made patties, not patties, beef burgers. Got some of that special G-line sauce on ‘em, from the G-line ranch. I’m gonna take it inside and let the ladies do what they need to do with it, and give it to the customer.

Nate’s been going to the parade all his life, but this is his first time offering up G-line beef like this.

It’s a prime opportunity to promote the G-Line brand.

Nate Bradford: Like I said, we’re going to change this world, one piece of meat at a time. Hopefully, prayerfully, everything keep working out. We’re gonna stay positive. Gone make it do what to do. You’re on the G-line, baby.

Hours after the parade there’s the Boley rodeo–the town’s biggest event of the year.

The whole weekend is a chance for residents to show their home at its best and most vibrant…


Nowadays, the rodeo is basically the only big thing happening in Boley. The rest of the year is pretty quiet… you can walk down the middle of the street without much worry.

But it wasn’t always this way… Boley used to be a thriving hub, one of the most famous of Oklahoma’s all-Black towns… And the folks who love it, like Nate, are wondering if it can ever be that place again…


My name is April Simpson and from the Center for Public Integrity, this is The Heist. This season: a heist by the US government… of land — and wealth — from America’s Black farmers and ranchers. 

The decline of Black agriculture that we’ve looked at so far has also led to the shrinking of places like Boley.  


Boley sits about halfway between Oklahoma City to the west and Tulsa to the north. It was founded in 1903… The first Boley rodeo happened two years later.

Officially, the rodeo weekend is meant to celebrate Boley’s history… to provide space for local vendors like Nate…  and to prove who’s the best of the best in events like calf roping, steer wrestling, and bull riding. 

To me, it all felt like a big family reunion… a homecoming. 

People travel from across the state and across the country to be there. A lot of the visitors used to live in Boley…and they walk and talk and eat, catching up with old friends… maybe making new ones. 


Boley was once a prime example of what you might call ‘Black excellence.’ It was an all-Black town run by Black folks, for Black folks. There was a thriving business district, surrounded by fruitful farms and ranchland.

At the peak of its prosperity, with more than four thousand residents, Boley was basically a country version of Tulsa’s ‘Black Wall Street’, which is only about fifty miles away.

But over the last century or so, Boley’s population has dropped to less than five hundred people. Most businesses have closed shop. The schools have all shut down. Black land ownership in the surrounding areas has shrunk… and Boley’s light has dimmed. 

[BREAK 4:35-4:38] 

The rodeo weekend is the best time to get some idea of what Boley once was.

Karen Ekuban: This is the biggest event, the rodeo. This is pretty much when all the alumni come back. So it’s a big weekend for us. 

I wanted to get a real feel for Boley from someone who’s spent a lot of time there… and local folks pointed me to Karen Ekuban. 

Karen is a tall, soft-spoken woman with long locs that flow down her back. She grew up in town and graduated from Boley High School in 1988.

When Karen talks about her childhood—like riding her bike up and down a hilly side street—her face lights up. It’s easy to see how much Boley means to her. 

Karen Ekuban: I feel that every seed that was planted, um, in me, it started here. And I think it’s important to always give back to the community that made you.

It seems like almost everyone in town knows Karen. During our time together, I watched her greet friends and acquaintances with a hug and a little chit chat. I found out later that she even helped Nate create the website for G-line ranch. If there was such a thing as a Boley ambassador, Karen would fit the bill perfectly. 


Though she doesn’t live in Boley anymore, Karen is still deeply loyal to her hometown, and it’s no wonder why. 

Growing up in an all-Black town had a big impact on her. All of Karen’s teachers, all of her peers, all of the business owners in Boley were Black.

Karen Ekuban: Being in a community where you felt like there was nothing that you couldn’t do or accomplish. Um, that foundation was so important. Um, I don’t know how many people really get that. 

Before all the festivities kicked off, Karen gave me a tour of the community.

Boley’s downtown is not a big place… about twelve square blocks. So Karen and I started our tour on foot, on Boley’s main drag, Pecan Street. 

Karen Ekuban:  We have a lot of pecan trees here in Boley. 

APRIL: That’s why it’s called pecan street? Is it pecan street or main street? 

Karen Ekuban: It’s main street, pecan street. So, both the same. 

There might be a lot of pecan trees in Boley, but there aren’t many trees actually on Pecan Street.

It’s a hilly two lane street, with a wide shoulder… and straight as an arrow… so standing in the middle of it, you can nearly see where the main drag begins and ends. 

It’s lined by a patchwork of one and two-story brick buildings… a lot of them have boarded up windows and doors. There are some crumbling structures that used to be buildings, and a bunch of empty lots. But some doors are still open…including the post office.

Karen Ekuban: The post office here. I can still remember my po box, 237.

From the post office, you can see the town’s tallest structure and most noted landmark, about a quarter of a mile away. It’s an old water tower, with the name of the town just barely visible through the rust on its side.

It’s one of the landmarks in town that, despite no longer being in use, local folks would like to see fixed up… but with so few residents, the town’s tax base is pretty small. Even the mayor is a volunteer. So getting money for things like repainting the water tower can be tough. 

But they’re part of Karen’s work in Boley. She founded a community initiative called Project 2020… looking to restore and revitalize the town. She’s getting money by applying for grants, gathering donations and hosting fundraisers.

Major projects take time. But Karen’s had some success with anything that can be improved or created by residents themselves. 

Like, at the south end of Pecan street, where you turn off the highway to come into town, there’s now a community garden.

Karen Ekuban: And this garden has been well received because it’s right when you enter. And I, and that was important too, because I wanted people when they come home, that they feel good about coming home.

APRIL: It’s very pretty. It’s very green. And I did notice that when I made the turn, like it was a nice welcoming into the community. 

Karen Ekuban:Yeah, it’s very green. When we do events here and we have people come from like, um, city areas, the one thing that they feel is like a sense of freedom. It’s not a lot of noise. It’s very calming, very relaxing,

It’s a very cool perk for Boley residents. They can take whatever they want from the garden, which is full of flowers, vegetables, and herbs. 

Karen Ekuban: One year we did okra. We had so much okra. Ebony was like, “I’m not growing okra ever again!” Those like back three beds were just full of okra.

Ebony is in charge of the community garden. She also runs a little coffee shop just next to it.

But for more substantial eats, Boley has one official restaurant: J and L McCormick’s. 

It’s across the highway from the community garden, and just a short walk from the J-H Lilley Correctional Center. 

The building once housed the State Training School for Incorigible Negro Boys, but in 1983 it was changed to a minimum security prison. 

The security is so minimal, in fact, that some prisoners have just walked away. Now a sign along the highway warns that hitchhikers might be escaping inmates.

Karen Ekuban: The majority of our population are prisoners. Um, they count towards our census.

These days, Boley’s total population hovers near 1200 people–of that number, less than half of them are free civilians. 

The Boley of today is very different than the one Karen grew up in. The high school that she went to, and the elementary school before that… both have both been shut down…there’s no Boley Bears basketball anymore. The grocery store is gone. 

But for times when things get a little busier, like the yearly rodeo, or founder’s day, Karen has created a few places for visitors to stay. 

APRIL: Oh, it’s pretty. 

Karen Ekuban: So this is ‘lazy bear.’ It’s one of our tiny homes and it sleeps four. So this is a queen bed and this is a full pullout sofa. It has a full bathroom with a shower…a little kitchenette…and this is a desk here and the chairs can double as end tables. 

So far, there are five tiny houses in Boley, and they don’t look like your typical ‘used to be a storage shed’ set ups. These have pitched roofs, little front porches, and round picnic tables out front. 

Of the five, Karen owns two of them, and the land they all sit on. She doesn’t charge the other tiny house owners for the space because she wants to inspire more people to come back, and to do good in Boley by making their own similar improvements.

Karen puts in all this work because she thinks Boley is worth it.

Other people think so too.  

The town’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, for its significance as a site of Black history during the first half of the 20th century… a place of business, community planning, local governance and social welfare work. 

Karen applied for Boley to host a traveling Smithsonian history exhibit and won. 

It highlighted the history of rural places like Boley, paying tribute to the importance of land, the joys and hardships of rural life, and how these places evolve as life changes around them. It was on display in Boley for six weeks.

Karen Ekuban: It’s important for us to let people know how important this history is to Oklahoma and to America. You know, my vision is just for people to come—people want to come back, but we have to give them something to come back to. And so, you know, we may not be what we were, but who says we can’t be better? So we have to start from somewhere. 

The exhibit was housed at the community center: a squat stone building at the other end of Pecan Street… During my two visits to Boley, I spent a lot of time there. On Juneteenth weekend, there was a panel of mayors from Black towns across Oklahoma. After it ended, I got to talk to two Boley officials about what life was like in town for the generation before Karen’s.

Henrietta Hicks: I’m Henrietta Hicks, I’m the municipal judge of the town of Boley.

Judge Hicks also happens to be Karen’s grandmother. And she’s the town’s historian. Judge Hicks was born in 1935 and has spent most of her life in Boley. Like Karen, she went to high school here, and graduated in 1953.

I sat down with Judge Hicks and her old friend, Dr. Francis Shelton. 

Francis Shelton: I’m the mayor for the town of Boley. 

Mayor Shelton, whose doctorate is in adult and occupational education,  graduated from Boley High School in 1964.

Back when they were growing up, the population was around nine hundred people, about twice what it is today.

Mayor Shelton says the town of Boley, and the farming and ranching land that surrounded it were interdependent. 

Francis Shelton: There was a total of 17 communities that surrounded Boley. I lived in the Rusk community. My grandfather and father raised peas, corn, raised cotton. 

Cotton was once Oklahoma’s biggest crop. In 1910, the state’s cotton farmers produced nearly a million bales.

Francis Shelton: I can remember the first time they put a little cotton sack on me. My grandfather made a bet that I couldn’t pick a hundred pounds in a day, and I did, but I didn’t know that he was just seeing how much I could, uh, do and, and expected that every day. 

By the time Mayor Shelton was a kid, cotton’s reign was waning…but she says it was still benefiting small farmers and ranchers like her family. 

Francis Shelton: So anyway, we raised pigs. Pigs, uh, hogs put me through college. So everything that you did on the farm paid off in the town, when you brought those things to the town. So they were doing better than surviving on the cotton. 

APRIL: And you had a lot of Black farm and ranch families that 

Francis Shelton: We were surrounded by

Henrietta Hicks: That’s all we were, 

Francis Shelton: um, those kind of families, the farmers. 

Land ownership was very important then. It meant political influence, economic security and wealth building, just like it does now. 

Mayor Shelton’s family has managed to hold on to their land all this time.

Francis Shelton: We still have, as a family, 320 acres. We do not sell our land. It will go from generation to generation because you can’t make any more land. But you can take care of what you have.

Education was also very important, Mayor Shelton says. Kids from the surrounding rural communities would come into town to go to school in Boley. 

Francis Shelton: Success was part of what we did every day or we were taught, by our teachers. 

And when it was time to take a break from school work and farm work, people headed to Pecan Street. 

They ate at restaurants, went to church, picked up things from the grocery store, went to the movie house, visited the millinery shop, went for ice cream, all at businesses that were Black-owned and operated. 

And at night, people headed to the juke joints.

Henrietta Hicks: Because see Boley was a rip-roaring place, honey. On a Saturday night, you could boogie all night long. 

Francis Shelton: And I can remember coming over here and, and the sidewalk was so full I’d walk on the street.

Henrietta Hicks: Walk on the street, mm-hmm. Sometimes my little friend would come by and we’d slip off and come downtown. We had a place called ‘the cotton club’ and we’d go in there and, and I loved to dance. Boy, I would dance…tell my friend to watch the door, see if anybody come in that we didn’t know. You know, just being a kid. I was 15 or 16 by that time.

It’s a far cry from how empty Pecan Street now is most days. And even their childhoods came after Boley’s peak as a pinnacle of Black success in Oklahoma. 

That story starts more than fifty years earlier, at the turn of the twentieth century. 

It’s a story of one group’s triumph, as a result of another’s tragedy. 

That’s after the break…

[BREAK 17:51-17:53] 

Without the Trail of Tears, there would not be as many Black folks in Boley. 

Before it was Boley, the land the town sits on was Indian Territory. It belonged to the Muscogee Creek Nation.

In the mid 19th century, the U.S. government forcibly removed the Creek nation–and four other Native American nations–from the southeast, and handed their land to white settlers. The tribes were pushed onto new land to the west, including parts of what would eventually become Oklahoma.

When they embarked on the Trail of Tears, the tribes brought with them the Black people that they had enslaved.

Years later, during the Civil War, the Muscogee Creek Nation was among the tribes that aligned with the Confederacy and lost… and the U.S. government forced them to grant Black people their freedom, as well as tribal citizenship. 

These new citizens were known as Creek Freedmen, and were eligible to hold and cultivate tribal land like the rest of the members of the Muscogee Creek Nation.

But it wasn’t long before white settlers found their way west as well, and started to encroach on the five tribes’ territory. Just as Black settlers were also making their way west after emancipation.

I talked with David Chang, a professor of history at the University of Minnesota, about what motivated settlers to seek new land. 

David Chang:  At this time, the United States is an agricultural society. So to seek opportunity, to seek economic independence, is often to seek land ownership. The great majority of white Americans that would’ve gone there, and the great majority of African Americans that would’ve gone to Indian territory, both were motivated by that. But, similarity is not equivalency because they occupied very different structure positions within the United States, and within the racial hierarchy the United States had built and was continuing to rebuild. So, white people honestly could rightfully say–not rightfully in a moral sense, but historically–say, ‘This country was made for us.’ Right? ‘Look at those founding documents. Look at those founding fathers.’ Now, African Americans also said ‘We deserve a chance to own land. And we deserve to be empowered citizens.’ So there’s a similarity, but not a historical equivalency.

In the late 19th century, in an effort to assimilate the five tribes, the U.S. government gave each head of household—both Muscogee Creek and Creek Freedman—160 acres of land to privately own.

This was a departure from the communal land ownership that tribes were used to, and it came with a new set of rules. Those rules included greater protections for people with all or mostly Muscogee Creek ancestry, while people with Black ancestry were vulnerable to losing their land.

But some Black families were able to hold on to their land…And Boley got its start on the 160 acres owned by a Black Creek girl named Abigail Barnett, who came from a freedman family.

From the beginning, Boley was intended to be an all-Black town. It was founded in 1903 and incorporated in 1905, just two years before Oklahoma became a state. It was built along a railway that connected Oklahoma and Arkansas, which gave it a big boost over other towns nearby. 

Henrietta Hicks:  This little area here was just a hamlet. 

That’s Judge Hicks again.

Henrietta Hicks: When the railroad came through here, it made it prosperous because the railroad had to stop here, ‘cause it was an old steam engine. That was why Boley became well known and why people came here. 

The railroad meant that farmers and other businesspeople could transport their goods to markets beyond the area, and make more money. 

Judge Hicks’ grandparents arrived in Boley in 1906, right as things started to take off. They’d left Louisiana in search of freedom. 

Henrietta Hicks: Most of the people, when they came, some of them had come from places where they had had businesses. Some of them had come from towns where they owned cotton gins. And the basic thing most of them did, if they didn’t stop right here in the town, they searched out property and land and they bought land. They farmed the land, they raised cotton back then. That was the thing to raise was plenty of cotton ‘cause people picked cotton and, and you could sell it. And then of course, people raised cattle. That was the bedrock for the people at that time … that was the way of making a living. And of course, naturally the ground was fertile for vegetables.

Owning and working your own land was the path to wealth and security, whether you were selling your yield or simply trading for what you needed. It was a big part of the plan for many Black people who fled the south, looking to escape Jim Crow violence and become independently successful.

Booker T. Washington visited Boley in 1905 and later wrote that it was “the youngest, the most enterprising, and in many ways the most interesting of the negro towns in the United States.”

In Boley, Washington saw evidence that Black people could build economic prosperity after slavery, despite segregation. 

David Chang: The promise of building a place where you could own land, where you could vote and because you could vote, you could avoid being exploited by the local government. 

David Chang again.

David Chang: You could face a judge who had to answer, ultimately, in some ways to a political system where you were empowered. Your land could be taxed properly. You could face a sheriff who was ultimately answerable to a system where you were empowered. It was a hope of building a black belt where they could survive and thrive. 

Having Black leadership across all channels of daily life made the difference for Black people who lived in Boley, whether rural or townie. 

David Chang: It might be a grocer who’s willing to extend credit to you. Whereas a white grocer might not extend credit to you. It might be somebody who can sell the inputs that you need for your farm. It might be a small bank. And the idea of, of a small financial institution, is very, very important in this situation. Because of course, capitalism is about capital, and you have to have access to capital, and who has the capital? The banks.

And Boley? It had banks. Eventually it also gained three cotton gins, its own electrical plant, and a business district full of Black-owned businesses. It even had several colleges, notably the Creek-Seminole College and the Methodist Episcopal College.

By 1911–just eight years after it was founded–Boley had four thousand residents… and was the largest of fifty all-Black towns across Oklahoma.

There was a Masonic Temple, grocery stores, hotels, department stores, a barbershop, the water tower … and so much more.

Boley’s success opened up a world of opportunities for residents, who wanted the town to keep growing… and to make those opportunities available for as many other Black people as possible. 

They sent word to family and friends who were still out east, telling them how great things were… how living in an all-Black town was a major improvement for their safety and livelihood.

They took out ads in newspapers in the south, beckoning other Black people to make the trek west. The ads promised land to build homes and farms, community and social status, and freedom…economic and otherwise.

There were people whose entire jobs were to travel to cities in the south and ‘recruit’ folks to Boley.

David Chang: It was a project that was generations in the making, um, for these African American people. Um, this kind of institutions, sovereign institutions, whether it be a farm or a church or a grocery store or a small bank…that are an effort at taking away the fragility of, um, many African American lives at this time.

As soon as Oklahoma became a state in 1907, lawmakers began passing the kind of Jim Crow laws that were common in the former Confederate states—laws like segregated schools and railway coaches. Laws that made it harder for Black folks to vote, that made marriage illegal between Blacks and whites. 

It was precisely those kinds of laws that Black people who’d migrated from the South were trying to escape. 

But despite that, historians like Judge Hicks say Boley felt protected in a way…Because it was pretty much isolated from white people, the residents didn’t experience as much racism or discrimination, as long as they stayed within its bounds. 

This was a huge deal, when other places in America were wholly uninhabitable for Black people. Boley wasn’t just an all-Black town built by Black people for Black people—it was an incredibly successful one.


But this bubble of safety, this Black utopia, would not last.

Henrietta Hicks: The population started declining in the twenties when the boll weevil came along, which is a bug, and it chewed up the cotton. It just, that’s just a simple way of putting it: it cut the cotton. 

Judge Hicks again.

Henrietta Hicks: Plus the fact, the government stopped the farmers, especially Black farmers, from growing the amount of cotton that could feed a family. 

The boll weevil, mechanization, a major drought and other factors had sunk cotton prices. And the federal government thought farmers were over-reliant on cotton, and needed to diversify their crops. So it passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, which paid farmers to limit the acres of cotton they grew. If a farmer had already planted their crop when the law went into effect, they had to plow up a portion to qualify for the payments.

Henrietta Hicks: And if Black folk, for instance, had been planting and growing cotton, maybe 40 acres of it, they cut you and told you you couldn’t grow but 15. Well, you can’t feed 11 kids on 15 acres of cotton.

Many Black farmers–especially those on former tribal lands–no longer had enough crop to make ends meet. And the state’s tenant farmers and sharecroppers were left out when landlords didn’t distribute the share of payments that belonged to them. The system also pushed up land prices, making it more difficult for people to get into farming. 

Couple that with a drought and the Great Depression, and soon enough cotton was no longer Oklahoma’s king crop.

And it wasn’t just cotton. America’s agricultural economy as a whole was suffering, which was bad news for farmers and the towns that depended on them.

In Boley, by the end of the 30s, the railroad went bankrupt… leaving the town cut off from other markets and business opportunities. The railroad, which was key to Boley’s success, was no more. Its Black farmers and ranchers were left isolated.

David Chang: And then on top of that, there’s the increasing rabidity of white supremacy across the nation, and especially in Eastern Oklahoma. The rise of outlaw elements of white supremacy, –like a Klu Klux Klan–and very much legal instruments of white supremacy–like much of the government of the state of Oklahoma and all of its counties–made it difficult for these towns to really survive. 

Outside the south, Oklahoma had the highest numbers of documented terror lynchings between 1877 and 1950. Nearly half of the seventy-five documented killings were in Tulsa County, only forty miles northeast of Boley. And several were clustered in the counties around it. 

Boley might have been relatively safe, but it was close to sundown towns—like Okemah, just twelve miles away—where white mobs were known to violently attack Black people after dark.


All of this led to a migration out of all-Black towns, as people went looking for better odds elsewhere.

David Chang: Most African Americans who left Eastern Oklahoma, as far as I can tell, in the 1930s, um, some went into agricultural harvest labor, like further west, right in Arizona or California. Many of them moved to cities. They moved to St. Louis. They moved to Oklahoma city. They moved to Chicago, in search of another economic opportunity.

Some of Mayor Shelton and Judge Hicks’ family members made the move. 

Henrietta Hicks: There was nothing else for ’em to do.

Francis: Right. That’s why my parents moved to California. 

Henrietta Hicks: Well, my dad went to California because we had a big farm, and you could no longer raise enough cotton. He had to leave and go to California to take care of four people. 

Judge Hicks stayed behind in Boley with her aunt and uncle.

By the end of the 1950s, Boley’s population was less than six hundred people.

People who did stay in Boley faced another battle as farming practices changed. 

Henrietta Hicks: Years ago when farmers used to farm with a mule and a plow… times changed, they wanted to buy tractors.

But by the late 50s and 60s, Boley didn’t have its own banks anymore…Local farmers had to go outside its bounds to look for funds.

Henrietta Hicks: Many of them could not get a loan to buy a tractor. Because they wouldn’t loan it to ’em in Okemah because they were Black. The banks wouldn’t loan money. So there was a lot of discrimination with the Black farmers. Consequently, that’s another reason why some of them had to leave the farm. 


Today, Boley couldn’t thrive the way it did a hundred years ago. The town’s suffering from many of the problems you see across rural America: the small number of people still there are aging. Without schools it’s hard for families to stick around. And without sustainable work, there’s nothing to draw new folks in.


There aren’t a lot of people like Nate, who are committed to staying in Boley… to try and reignite the town’s fire.

After all, the rodeo is only one weekend a year…it can only do so much. 

But it didn’t have to be this way…

David Chang: It’s easy for us when we look at the present, to understand it as an inevitability, rather than a historical product. Of course, the countryside is largely white. Of course, most land is mostly owned by white people. Of course, Native American people lost their land. But once you start to look at the details of how this happened, there’s not an ‘of course’ to it. It took policies. It took laws, it took public officials. It took the enforcement of certain laws. For example, preventing Black people from voting. It took the non-enforcement of other laws, the laws protecting the lands of Native American people, and of, of Black allottees, right? So it took policy to create the Oklahoma that we look at today. It took policy to create the America that we look at today. I think that if you want to understand racial hierarchy, if you wanna understand anti-blackness, if you wanna understand Native dispossession, if you wanna understand American capitalism…you need to understand how this was created through a historical process.

…It’s the kind of process that some Black farmers and ranchers say still occurs to this day. The dispossession of Black-owned land is not an accident. Federal policies and practices shaped this reality.

For decades, farmers and ranchers had attempted to fight back with little success. But in the late nineties, they organized a national effort and took the fight to Washington, D.C.

Next time on The Heist, a big push to hold the USDA accountable for discriminatory practices.

Eddie Slaughter: What is the sin of the Black farmer that he can’t go to court and receive justice? What about us? We’re God-fearing, hardworking, law abiding, tax paying citizens. So why can’t we receive justice in this country?


This season of The Heist is hosted by me, April Simpson. And brought to you by the Center for Public Integrity.

This episode was written and produced by Kiarra Powell.

Our team includes Camille Petersen, Wilson Sayre, Sara Nics, Keishel Williams, Dan O’Donnell, Mc Nelly Torres, Matt DeRienzo, Jamie Smith Hopkins, Lisa Yanick Litwiller, Ashley Clarke, Vanessa Lee, Charlie Dodge, and Janeen Jones.

Our fact checker is Peter Newbatt Smith.

This episode was mixed by Louis from Story Yard.

And this podcast was produced in partnership with the McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.

If you’d like to learn more about David Chang’s work, you can check out his book ‘The Color of the Land: Race, Nation, and the Politics of Land Ownership in Oklahoma, 1832-1929.’

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