W. Tate Brady

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Wyatt Tate Brady
Wyatt Tate Brady 2013-08-11 23-19.jpg
Wyatt Tate Brady
BornJanuary 20, 1870
DiedAugust 29, 1925 (age 55)
Cause of deathSuicide, self-inflicted bullet to the temple
Resting placeOaklawn Cemetery, Tulsa, Oklahoma
OccupationMerchant, Entrepreneur, Politician,
Known forTulsa Founder, Member of Oklahoma Bar Association, Klansman, Chairman United Confederate Veterans 28th Annual Reunion
Political partyDemocrat
Spouse(s)Rachel Davis
ChildrenTwo daughters
Three sons

Wyatt Tate Brady (January 20, 1870 – August 29, 1925) was an American merchant, politician, Ku Klux Klan member, and a "founder" of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Early life[edit]

Brady was born in Forest City, Missouri, in 1870. His family moved to Nevada, Missouri when he was 12, where he eventually took a job at a shoe store. Here, he was the victim of a robbery. In 1890, at the age of 20, Brady headed for Creek Nation, Indian Territory, to seek his fortune in the as-yet-unfounded Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1895, Brady married Rachel Davis, who was part Cherokee. After the marriage, Brady was adopted into the Cherokee tribe and became a strong advocate for their tribal claims against Washington. Together they had two daughters and three sons. [1]

Activities in Tulsa history[edit]

On January 18, 1898, Brady and other prominent businessmen signed the charter to incorporate Tulsa, thereby making it a city. Following the 1901 discovery of the Red Fork oil field, Brady built the Brady Hotel in 1903, hoping to take advantage of the oil boom by providing a hotel for oil executives and other traveling businessmen. It also served as a meeting ground for the Democratic Party. Active in politics, he was named to the Democratic National Committee in 1907,[1] and backed anti-Klan candidate Jack Walton in 1922 gubernatorial election.

Brady was known for hiring black people to work in his hotels and other businesses. Mabel B. Little, a survivor of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921[2] and once employed by Brady, writes in her book Fire on Mount Zion: My Life and History as a Black Woman in America: "Another man, Mr. Tate Brady had good feelings for black people. He hired several black boys as porters. But he told them up front, "Listen, boys: I'm gonna train you so you can get your own businesses someday."[3]

A contracted Investigator hired by the NCLU accused Brady, in internal documents, of being one of the organizers behind the Tulsa Outrage of 1917, in which members of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) were tarred and feathered by the black-robed Knights of Liberty.[4] According to the investigator, All 17 members of the I.W.W. identified Brady as the man who applied the tar and feathers. The investigator stated that he did not have sufficient evidence to prove this in a court of law.[5][dubious ]

On November 6, 1917, Brady physically assaulted the owner of the Hotel Fox, E.L. Fox in broad daylight.[6]

Brady served as a night watchman during the 1921 Tulsa race riots. An article in the Tulsa Daily World stated "Tate Brady, proprietor of the Brady hotel, who was a member of white men on guard duty along North Main street all night, said he counted the bodies of five negroes. One negro was dragged behind an automobile, with a rope about his neck, throughout the business district."[7]

In 1923, the Klan, established as the Tulsa Benevolent Society, paid $200,000 for the construction of a large "Klavern" or gathering hall that could seat 3,000 members. Beno Hall, as it was known, was located at 503 N. Main St. According to Tulsa County land records, that parcel of land was then owned by Rachel Brady, Brady's wife.[citation needed]

Supporting a 1923 military tribunal, Brady stated that he, like his father before him, was a member of the Klan. He stated that he had quit the Klan because he was a Democrat and would not be told how to vote.[8] Brady supported anti-Klan gubernatorial candidate Jack Walton who "engaged in an out-and-out war with the Ku Klux Klan".[9]

Brady Mansion[edit]

Brady, who was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, built a mansion known as "Arlington" that was patterned after the ancestral home of the Lee family in Virginia.[1] The Brady Mansion still stands at 620 North Denver Avenue in Tulsa.


Brady died by suicide on August 29, 1925, by shooting himself in the temple. He was said to be despondent over the death of his son, John Davis Brady who was killed in a car accident in spring 1925 while studying law at the University of Virginia.[1]


Brady was commemorated for his part in the founding of Tulsa by the names of Brady Street and Brady Heights.

A controversy arose in 2013 over the appropriateness of naming a street for Brady, because of his membership in the KKK. On August 15, 2013, following months of debate, the Tulsa City Council voted 7–1 to change the street name to MB Brady Street, honoring Mathew B. Brady rather than Tate Brady. Mathew Brady was a famed Civil War photographer, but had no ties to Tulsa or Oklahoma. Initially, The Brady Arts District, the Brady Historical District, Brady Heights, and Brady Theater were not affected by the change, as they are named after the nearby street.[10]

In September 2017, the Brady Arts District Business Association voted to change the name of the district, located north of downtown, to the Tulsa Arts District in order to sever ties completely with the street's original namesake. [11] On November 28, 2018, the Tulsa City Council voted 8–1 to rename "Mathew Brady Street" to "Reconciliation Way" effective July 1, 2019.[12] On December 6, 2018, the Brady Theater (formerly Tulsa Convention Hall and Tulsa Municipal Theater) announced that it is changing its name to The Tulsa Theater in 2019.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d Vickery, Paul S. "Brady, Wyatt Tate (1870-1925)." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.
  2. ^ http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Mabel_Little_survivor_of_riot_dead_at_104/010118_ne_a12mabel
  3. ^ Mabel B. Little; Nathan Hare; Julia Hare (May 1, 1990). Fire on Mount Zion: my life and history as a Black woman in America. Melvin B. Tolson Black Heritage Center, Langston University. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  4. ^ "Modern Ku Klux Klan Comes into Being: Seventeen First Victims; Black Robed 'Knights of Liberty' Take Prisoners from Police to Lonely Ravine". Tulsa Daily World, November 10, 1917.
  5. ^ "Correspondence-Cases By State: Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Volume 36; 1917-1918. MS The Roger Baldwin Years, 1912-1950.; American Civil Liberties Union Papers, 1912-1990". Princeton University Library, Gale Primary Resources, ACLU. Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University. From American Civil Liberties Union Papers, 1912-1990. March 29, 1918. p. 77(134-135 of folio). Archived from the original on January 4, 2019. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  6. ^ Tulsa Daily World, November 7, 1917
  7. ^ Tulsa Daily World, June 1, 1921
  8. ^ August 1923, Testimonies transcripts from the Oklahoma military tribunal, Western Heritage Collection, papers of Governor Jack Walton, University of Oklahoma Libraries, Norman, Oklahoma.
  9. ^ http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/w/wa014.html
  10. ^ Bryan, Emory (August 16, 2013). "City Council Renames Brady Street After Another Famous Brady". Tulsa, OK: KOTV. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  11. ^ https://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/business-association-makes-surprise-vote-to-rename-brady-arts-district/article_11f7d486-d37f-5c1c-94d6-d336e5f554ac.html
  12. ^ "11-28-18 Tulsa City Council agenda item 7.p: Rename "Mathew Brady Street" To "Reconciliation Way"".
  13. ^ "Brady Theater announces name change to The Tulsa Theater".