Honoring OU Faculty, Students for Black History Month
February is Black History Month, and we at Landers Chevrolet of Norman, Oklahoma decided to combine our celebration of Black History with our support of the University of Oklahoma. This year we at Landers Chevy wanted to introduce two Black professors and two Black students of OU that made history here in Oklahoma. This year on our social media channels, we talked about Carol Brice Carey, Julius Caesar “J.C.” Watts, Dr. Melvin B. Tolson Jr., and Teresa Turner. Let’s take a closer look at the impact each of these people made!
Carol Brice Carey attended Juilliard, became the first Black person to win the Naumburg award, is one of the first Black classical singers to record their music, won a Grammy, all before she would have the opportunity to work at OU as a member of their staff. She joined OU’s campus in 1974 and taught music. After joining the OU staff and before her death in 1985, Carol Carey and her husband Thomas became the founders of Cimarron Circuit Opera Company, a place that still produces theater performances today.
Julius Caesar “J.C.” Watts studied journalism and played quarterback for the Sooners until his graduation in 1981. After playing professional football in Canada and being a youth pastor, Watts served as a Republican representative of Oklahoma from 1995 to 2003, during which he rose to be the chairman of the Republican Conference. He left the House in 2003 and created his own marketing business.
Dr. Melvin B. Tolson Jr. was OU’s first full-time Black professor in 1964. Dr. Tolson, after studying both the Spanish and French languages, was a French professor while at OU. Dr. Tolson also helped get OU’s Afro-American Student Union started, currently named the Black Student Association.
In the introduction, we mentioned two former OU students. Teresa Turner is the second student. She is one of the first Black women to earn an athletic scholarship at OU for basketball. Turner currently works at OU as the Director for Student-Athlete Experience.
📸: Sooner Sports