OKLAHOMA CITY – A group of legislators are pushing to have an Oklahoma lake renamed after a Senate bill failed to move forward this session.
The Legislative Black Caucus is calling for continued efforts regarding the renaming of Lake Hudson.
Senate Bill 937 aimed at changing the lake’s name from Lake Hudson to Lake Markham. The bill was not heard in a committee, so it will not move forward this legislative session.
“We appreciate the early effort of Senator Bergstrom and Representative West but are disappointed at this time to see the bill pulled from consideration,” Dr. George Young said. “We have an obligation to future generations to confront our history and do what is right. It is the feeling of the Black Caucus that in this case, now knowing the lake was named for a Klu Klux Klansman, appropriately confronting our history must include changing the name of Lake Hudson. It is unacceptable that a place that represents so many good things is marred with the name of a racist. Lakes and public spaces should bear the name of honorable men and women, of which Oklahoma has many.”
Wash Hudson was a prominent Tulsa attorney, state lawmaker and board member of the Grand River Dam Authority. Hudson was also a founder of the Tulsa Benevolent Association in the 1920s, which established the KKK in Tulsa.
Last month, GRDA spokesman John Wiscaver told KJRH that the agency investigated Hudson’s background and determined it was “fairly clear” that Hudson was involved with the KKK.
As a result, the GRDA supported Senate Bill 937, which would have changed the name of the lake to Lake Markham, honoring a family that operated a ferry service on the lake.
“Throughout our state, there are remnants of racism etched into buildings, carved into signs and placed directly in front of our citizens. Beginning with Lake Hudson, I hope this legislature will join the Black Caucus as we purge these public displays of hate and build a better more beautiful Oklahoma,” Young said.