News from Voices of Oklahoma…

Suicide and Mental Health – Voices of Oklahoma

The mental health issue of suicide has been pushed to the forefront of our nation’s conversation. Oklahoma ranks in the top 10 per capita in suicide rates. In the early sixties, David Bernstein became the executive director of the Mental Health Association and was an early advocate for suicide prevention by bringing the concept of a suicide hotline to Tulsa. He also established the Suicide Prevention Center which was the first of its kind in the Southwest. Beth Macklin who was the religion writer for the Tulsa World was one of his first volunteers.

In his oral history interview, David Bernstein talks about suicide and comments on this sentence from a letter: “Dear Mary, I hate you, Love John”. Listen here to Chapters 10 and 11.

Be sure to share David Bernstein’s entire story with your friends and family and thank you for listening to Voices of Oklahoma.


History Byte-Voices of Oklahoma

The Tulsa Race Riot began May 30, 1921, what was then the start of a Memorial Day weekend. Widely known as one of the worst incidents of racial violence in the history of the United States, it left a mark on the city. Several storytellers at convey their first-hand accounts of the weekend in their oral history interviews and others describe the lasting impact on the community.

We are sharing portions of their comments in this “History Byte.” Listen here to these Voices of Oklahoma.

8th Anniversary of Voices of Oklahoma

It was April 10, 2010, when the oral history website Voices of Oklahoma was launched. We are very proud that our first storyteller was Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. Wilma’s story was recorded August 13, 2009, a short eight months before she passed on April 6, 2010.

Now eight years later, we have interviewed over 200 Oklahomans, fifty of whom are no longer with us. We feel an obligation to capture and publish as many stories as we can from the older generations, so they will not be lost to future generations. The website has become a valued source of unique historical information regularly accessed by students, educators, and the general public.

Voices of Oklahoma works in partnership with many foundations and individuals who have supported the mission from the very beginning. For the last three years, our relationship with the University of Tulsa and the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities has advanced the work of preserving these oral histories for all of Oklahoma.

As we observe our eighth anniversary, we urge you and your family to record your personal stories. We are preserving our state’s legacy one voice at a time and you can do the same with your family’s legacy.


Listen to Wilma Mankiller tell her story in her own words. Despite the many challenges she faced, professionally and personally, she never gave up while leading her nation and setting an example for us all to admire.

We urge you to share our website Voices of Oklahoma with your friends and family as we move into our ninth year of preserving our state’s legacy one voice at a time.