We are Tulsa's classroom for social change.
We engage the community in place-based learning through educational programs, workshops, events, and exhibits. These programs are developed and facilitated by the community. Our programing is designed for people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities.
To give Tulsans access to the hidden, neglected, and misunderstood history of our city.
We are committed to bringing hidden stories to light through exhibits, media projects, community platforming, and educational experiences. Our stories and conversations will be curated by local artists, journalists, and musicians and told by community leaders.
Inspire, engage, and nurture the next generation of history recovery specialists by learning from our past to impact a better future.
We believe we need the next generation of history specialist to find and tell stories surrounding our community and beyond. The Center will be a place to bring this group of people together, create a community and give the a platform to share their work.
"So, this is what I do. I read about this stuff, research it, and drive around and find this stuff. Some people care. Some people don’t care. It doesn’t pay. It’s like horrible. I’m chronically unemployed. I’m obsessed…." - Lee Roy Chapman
Founded in 2008 by “History Recovery Specialist” Lee Roy Chapman, The Center for Public Secrets is a collection of research, journalism, and artifacts that explore the sub-popular culture of Oklahoma.
A longtime student of Oklahoma history, Chapman’s work focused on race relations, art, music, and radical histories. Chapman authored several articles that received global attention. In 2011, he published "The Nightmare of Dreamland: Tate Brady and the Battle for Greenwood" in This Land magazine, which revealed that a founder of Tulsa was also an architect of the city's most violent hate crime--the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. The article was lauded by historians such as Alfred Brophy and Scott Ellsworth and has been cited by media companies ranging from National Public Radio to The Guardian. Chapman was instrumental to the work happening today to rid the city of the Brady name on streets, businesses, and entire districts.
Aside from his writings, the controversial Chapman also produced documentaries and art installations that address topics ranging from Bob Wills, the New York School of Poets, the art of Larry Clark to the Creek Freeman mass graves in South Tulsa. As a curator, Chapman also located and acquired a number of important historical artifacts and artworks that now reside in the Smithsonian NMHHAC, Yale, Duke and Tulsa Universities Library’s as well with private collections.
Through events, exhibits, and content, the Center will carry on the spirit of Chapman’s work and passion for Tulsa. We will delve into aspects of our collective history that others may dare not tread. We will listen to the community. We will investigate to find the truth. We will elevate voices of those who are too seldom heard. We will reveal our secrets. Join us as we embark on this journey. One towards understanding, justice, and reconciliation. Let’s spread the good vibes together.