Series aims at educating citizens in black community on city planning, design and architecture

OKLAHOMA CITY - "You know they say the shortest distance between two people is a story,” OSU Fellow Dr. Rachel Jackson said.

And there are a lot of stories to tell in northeast Oklahoma City, including at the old Douglass High School.

"It became the official separated school system and this was the first school in that system,” Co-founder of BlackSpace Oklahoma Gina Sofola said.

It's since been renovated into apartments, but its history lives on through former students and staff members.

“It was not written down in any history book and there again really lies why storytelling is so important,”

BlackSpace Oklahoma is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping black communities through city planning, design and architecture.

"Looking for a bridge, someone to help them come to the table, to speak the language, to understand the dynamics of development and/or just planning in general,” Sofola said.

One way they are doing that is through a lecture series with speakers who are sharing their knowledge about the impact storytelling can have on a historically black community like here in northeast Oklahoma City.

"Of course the African American community hasn't had equal voice in how history is told in our state,” Dr. Rachel Jackson said.

Dr. Rachel Jackson, a College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow at OSU is one of several speakers. She'll talk about digital storytelling, using pictures and video to present history.

"When we share these stories, we see what we have in common and we build a relationship with each other so we can move forward into the future building our city together and building our state together,” she said.

Armed with resources and knowledge -- organizers hope this history lesson will inspire new beginnings for the area.

"So that ultimately we look at storytelling as a means to building communities, to transform communities,” Sofola said.

The lecture will be tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon at the Page Woodson auditorium. One of the first sit-in participants from Katz Drugstore will be moderating.

It's free and open to the public.

United Voice mission statement: A coalition of Oklahoma’s media outlets, brought together in a united voice to promote a healthy dialogue on race.

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