All-Black Towns of Oklahoma: Rentiesville - Rentiesville, OK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member QuarrellaDeVil
N 35° 31.367 W 095° 29.804
15S E 273604 N 3933888
Rentiesville is one of the few surviving All-Black Towns of Oklahoma, and this interpretive sign stands in front of the Rentiesville Town Hall, 101 N McIntosh St, providing some history.
Waymark Code: WMYFY8
Location: Oklahoma, United States
Date Posted: 06/11/2018
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 3

Insets show:

A map of Oklahoma, broken down by county, with a key to African American settlements that are still incorporated, as well as those that belong to the ages.

A photo of the town's first mayor, F.P. Brinson, with his wife, Elizabeth.

A town plat.

A c. 1910 class photo from the Rentiesville School.

A reproduction of a 1904 ad for Rentiesville from the Muskogee Cimiter.

A photo of Buck C. Franklin, second town postmaster and father of John Hope Franklin.

The sign reads (slight edits):

All-Black Towns of Oklahoma

The All-Black towns of Oklahoma represent a unique chapter in American history. No where else, neither the Deep South nor the Far West, did so many African American men and women come together to live in and govern their own communities. By 1920, Oklahoma had more than 30 towns considered All-Black.

All-Black towns grew after the Civil War when the former slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes settled together for mutual protection and economic security. When the lands of the tribes were allotted to individuals, most Indian "freedmen" chose land next to other African Americans. This created prosperous farming communities that could support towns.

When the land run of 1889 opened yet more land to non-Indian settlement, African Americans from the Old South rushed to the new territory for free land. Edwin McCabe founded Langston and encouraged African Americans to settle in his All-Black town. He even had a vision for an All-Black state. Although his dream was never realized, many All-Black communities were established on the rich topsoil of the new territory and state.

The All-Black towns of Oklahoma prospered until the 1920s but gradually declined under the pressure of Jim Crow laws that denied African Americans the right to vote, the Great Depression, and population flight from the farm to city after World War II. Today, a few All-Black towns still survive, but all are remembered, a legacy of economic and political freedom.

Rentiesville, founded in 1903, was developed on twenty acres owned by William Rentie and twenty acres owned by Phoebe McIntosh. Rev. N.A. Robinson, I.J. Foster, W.D. Robinson, and Rentie organized the townsite company with Rev. Robinson elected president. J.J. Hudson opened the first mercantile business and became the first postmaster. By 1904, as a flag stop on the M.K. & T. Railway, the town had five businesses along Main Street and eighty-one children were enrolled in the school. William Rentie, the town's only lawman, arrested a man for drunkenness and disorderly conduct in 1908. An uncle of the man shot and killed William Rentie for revenge. By the late 1930s the population of Rentiesville dwindled to 154 and on the 1990 census there were 66 residents. A famous site in town today is the Down Home Blues Club of nationally famous Blues artist, D.C. Minner. Rentiesville is also the birthplace of Dr. John Hope Franklin, dean of African American history and the author of the award-winning book From Slavery to Freedom.

Some early business owners and leaders of the community included: J.P. Pointer (grocer); M.T. Williams; Mrs. M.L. Bryant (schoolteacher); J.D. Chambers (blacksmith); T.M. Fullbright (carpenter); H. Warren (carpenter); Rev. David Green (AME church); Prof. C.R. Ross (teacher); G.W. Cooksey (mercantile store); Daniea Paul; Dr. J.J. Lowe; Danzy Pugh; Julius Morris; Dr. Durham; Charles Banks; William Hill (principal); H.O. Frederick (cotton gin); Jerry Alberta (depot agent); D.C. Martin; C. Roberts (carpenter).

County: McIntosh

Record Address::
101 N McIntosh St
Rentiesville, OK USA

Web site if available: [Web Link]

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Sponsor (Who put it there): Oklahoma Historical Society

Date Erected: Not listed

Visit Instructions:

1 - Must visit the site in person.
2 - New Photo required.
3 - Give some new insight to the marker/site.

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