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A Little Bit of History

by Jim Beckel and Nate Billings and David McDaniel Modified: April 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm •  Published: January 10, 2013
T. W. Shannon thanks Chief Justice Tom Colbert after he was  sworn in as Speaker of the House. At his side is his wife, Devon.  Shannon was elected by his colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives as their Speaker for the upcoming legislative session. Shannon, a Republican  from Lawton, is Oklahoma's first black Speaker of the House. He was sworn in on the floor of the House by Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.  Colbert became  Oklahoma's first black chief justice when he was sworn in last week.    Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
T. W. Shannon thanks Chief Justice Tom Colbert after he was sworn in as Speaker of the House. At his side is his wife, Devon. Shannon was elected by his colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives as their Speaker for the upcoming legislative session. Shannon, a Republican from Lawton, is Oklahoma's first black Speaker of the House. He was sworn in on the floor of the House by Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Colbert became Oklahoma's first black chief justice when he was sworn in last week. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

 

I’m usually not a fan of photos of people being sworn into offices, but there were some historical firsts recently that deserve a mention.

Tom Colbert became the first African American chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday, Jan. 4. Retired Oklahoma County District Judge Charles Owens issued the oath of office to Colbert. Owens was the first black judge in Oklahoma when he was appointed in 1968.

The next week, Colbert administered the oath of office to T.W. Shannon to become the first black Speaker of the House in Oklahoma.

And, all of this happened close to the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863.

 

Tom Colbert takes the oath of office as as the first black chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Friday, January 4, 2013.  Judge Charles Owens, with his back to the camera, did the swearing in. Photo By David McDaniel, The Oklahoman
Tom Colbert takes the oath of office as as the first black chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Friday, January 4, 2013. Judge Charles Owens, with his back to the camera, did the swearing in. Photo By David McDaniel, The Oklahoman

 

T.W. Shannon is sworn in as Speaker of the House. At his side is his wife, Devon. Shannon was elected by his colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives as their Speaker for the upcoming legislative session. Shannon, a Republican from Lawton, is Oklahoma's first black Speaker of the House. He was sworn in on the floor of the House by Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.  Colbert became  Oklahoma's first black chief justice when he was sworn in last week.    Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
T.W. Shannon is sworn in as Speaker of the House. At his side is his wife, Devon. Shannon was elected by his colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives as their Speaker for the upcoming legislative session. Shannon, a Republican from Lawton, is Oklahoma's first black Speaker of the House. He was sworn in on the floor of the House by Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Colbert became Oklahoma's first black chief justice when he was sworn in last week. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

 

Tom Colbert takes the oath of office to become the first black chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Friday, January 4, 2013.  Photo By David McDaniel, The Oklahoman
Tom Colbert takes the oath of office to become the first black chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Friday, January 4, 2013. Photo By David McDaniel, The Oklahoman

 

T. W. Shannon is hugged by his wife, Devon, as their daughter, Audrey Grace, joins in the group hug after Shannon took the oath of office when he was elected by his colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives as their Speaker for the upcoming legislative session. Shannon, a Republican from Lawton, is Oklahoma's first black Speaker of the House. He was sworn in on the floor of the House by Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.  Colbert became  Oklahoma's first black chief justice when he was sworn in last week.    Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
T. W. Shannon is hugged by his wife, Devon, as their daughter, Audrey Grace, joins in the group hug after Shannon took the oath of office when he was elected by his colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives as their Speaker for the upcoming legislative session. Shannon, a Republican from Lawton, is Oklahoma's first black Speaker of the House. He was sworn in on the floor of the House by Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Colbert became Oklahoma's first black chief justice when he was sworn in last week. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

 

-Nate Billings

 

 

 

 

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by Jim Beckel
Photographer
Jim Beckel been a member of The Oklahoman's photo staff for 25 years. During that time, he and his cameras have covered virtually every type of news and feature story imaginable, traveling to all regions of Oklahoma to document events and provide...
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by Nate Billings
Photographer
Nate Billings never planned to become a photojournalist. He took pictures as a hobby growing up and worked as an assistant for his father, a commercial still and video photographer, but chose to study English Literature in college. Billings did...
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by David McDaniel
Photographer
David McDaniel graduated from UCO with a degree in journalism in 1978 and began working at The Oklahoman the following year. David has covered sports and major news events throughout the years at the newspaper, but he prefers photographing people...
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