Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Controversial figure found a home in an Oklahoma library

Norman Transcript Debo writings challenged some accepted ‘truths’
Oklahoma writer Angie Debo became something of a controversial figure early in the 20th century. She was a scholar who, as she once said, sought “to discover the truth and publish it.” She did and not everyone liked it.
There was no high school for her to attend until one opened at Marshall. She rode her pony three and one-half miles to high school, but classes lasted only one year. As Debo later recalled, “there was no library, no magazines, and only the one book our parents managed to buy for each of us children as a Christmas present
Her next book was The Road To Disappearance: A History of the Creek Indians published by the OU Press in 1941. It was a carefully researched book telling the story of the Creeks from their aboriginal beginnings to the loss of their political independence during the first decade of the 20th century.

Her book served as a basis for a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in which important land rights for the Creek nation were recognized. Debo’s next book was Still the Waters Run describing the theft from Indians of their lands in Indian Territory. State officials refused to permit the book to be published in Oklahoma.

In 1940, it was published by Princeton University Press. Debo was then 50. Debo recalled that from that point on no state university would hire her. She returned to teaching in rural Oklahoma schools. During World War II she served as pastor of the Methodist church in Marshall. In 1947, however, Oklahoma State University hired Debo as curator of maps in its library, a position she held until 1955.

Check out the Angie Debo Collection, at OSU, website.

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