A redbud controversy
I must admit I never knew. I was doing research on soil conservation for a reporter and came upon a short item titled “Judas” in the March 28, 1937, Daily Oklahoman. I was hooked. I had to know more.
It discussed the battle that was ongoing in 1937 when the state was planning the adoption of the redbud as the state tree.
Mrs. Roberta Lawson of Tulsa, who was the national president of the Federation of Women’s Clubs, was objecting to its “adoption as the state tree on grounds it was the tree on which the disciple, Judas, hanged himself.”
A bill, sponsored by the local Daughters of the American Revolution, had made it through the Legislature and was on Gov. E.W. Marland’s desk for signing, when a telegram arrived from the above Mrs. Lawson declaring that “it would be most unseemly to have such a tree as Oklahoma’s state symbol.”
After a five-day delay, the governor signed the bill commenting, “This resolution is signed at the earnest request of the good women of Oklahoma, and I hope they plant enough redbud to hang every Judas in the state.” He went on to say, “What is the date–the 30th? I couldn’t put this off until the first of April could I?”
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