O.W. Gurley

By Amanda Quartey

  • Rourke Educational Media, 2021
  • Lexile: 550L
  • Suggested Age Range: 6–10
  • Pages: 24

CITATION: Quartey, Amanda. O.W. Gurley. Rourke Educational Media, 2021.

This book provides an excellent summary of O.W. Gurley’s vision for what would later become Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood. It gives students some context about Indian Territory, segregation, and black towns. It details how Gurley designed for the land to be sold to other black individuals like himself and further explores how entrepreneurs worked together to turn the the land that O.W Gurley purchased into a successful neighborhood where members of the community supported each other. A brief page is dedicated to the Tulsa Race Massacre and Gurley’s subsequent move to California.

This book begins with an excellent section on reading strategies that could help to integrated it into some lessons on how to read actively. It also has an excellent glossary at the end of the book that goes over terms like “entrepreneur” that may be challenging for younger elementary students to understand.

One critique of this book is that it does not give Gurley’s wife Emma enough credit in the founding of the Greenwood district. Teachers will want to mention that the land purchase for this area was made in Emma’s name.