Huretta Dobbs remembers the conspicuous white signs dotting the lawns of many homes in the neighborhood where she hoped to live.
It was several decades ago and Dobbs, who is black, said she and her husband wanted to live in the majority-white Creston Hills housing addition. She said the signs in front of some of the houses essentially expressed the homeowners' pledge that they would not sell their homes to blacks.
Nevertheless, Dobbs, 79, said she and her family eventually moved into the neighborhood in northeast Oklahoma City, and she was immediately drawn to a small Presbyterian church nearby.
The church was Trinity Presbyterian, a multiracial house of worship made up of two congregations that had merged together in the era of “white flight,” the mass exodus of whites from certain neighborhoods after whites-only restrictions were lifted.
Dobbs and her fellow church member, Jean Crockett, who is white, said the church's pastor at the time of the merger, the late Rev. David Shields, was a caring person who seemed perfect for the joint venture.
They said it is fitting that Trinity — a blending of the all-black Bethel Presbyterian Church and the all-white Creston Hills Presbyterian in the mid-1960s — will be the site of a forum and workshop focusing on combating racism.
“Becoming an Anti-Racist Community: First Steps” is a forum set for Friday, and the “Becoming an Anti-Racist Community Worship” will be Oct. 5 at the church, 2301 NE 23. The forum and workshop are being sponsored by Pax Christi Oklahoma City and Joy Mennonite Church.
Susan Lee and Chris Houk, both of Oklahoma City, said they are members of Pax Christi Oklahoma City, a Roman Catholic “peace with justice” movement. Lee, 62, said combating racism is an issue that Pax Christi USA has encouraged
Lee said the forum and workshop will be presented by Cathleen A. Crayton and Alex Mikulich, members of the Pax Christi anti-racism team. Crayton is co-founder of the anti-racism team and is project administrator of the Brain Architecture Center at the University of Southern California. Mikulich is a research fellow on race and poverty at the Jesuit Social Research Institute of Loyola University in New Orleans, and an assistant professor at Loyola. Both have written several articles on efforts to combat racism.
Lee said Oklahoma City Pax Christi members think the issue is relevant, and they hope local community members will be willing to open their hearts and minds to the idea of having an anti-racist community.