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Don Ross

Born on 3-11-1941. He was born in Tulsa, OK. He is accomplished in the area of Politics.
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Former State Representative Don Ross, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in the fall of 1982. He retired in 2002, after 20 years of service. Ross served more than 10 years as Chairman of the Appropriations and Budget Sub-Committee on Health and Social Services, expending more than $900 million annually. Ross is credited for bringing more than $45 million to his predominately African-American district. The North Tulsa Democrat also served as Chairman of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus -- 1982-1984 and 1986-1988, and as secretary and chairman of the House of Representatives Democratic Caucus and vice-chairman of the Tulsa County Democratic Party.

His passion was a 25 year effort to develop the Greenwood Cultural Center. Ross was the principal fundraiser for the $3.5 million multi-purpose, history and children's center. It was dedicated in 1995. The Center is located in the heart of the African-American community that was destroyed during the 1921 race riot. Ross was the principal organizer of the 75th anniversary commemorating the virtually unknown 1921 race riot. Oral histories of survivors and press accounts estimates upward 300 persons were killed from airplane bombing, fires and gunshot wounds. The riot was cloaked in a conspiracy of secrecy until the program. In the riots aftermath, more 7000 blacks were rounded up and locked concentration camps. The commemoration gained international media attention.

"The Black Wall Street Memorial," a ten foot granite monument with an eternal flame was dedicated during the commemoration. Nearly 300 Black businesses that were lost during the race war are inscribed on the memorial. Ross is the author of legislation creating the 1921 Race Riot Commission. The Commission formally documented the events of the riot, and made recommendation to the legislature that called for reparations for survivors and provided for $5 million to design and build a memorial and to establish scholarships programs. Having first learned about the riot was in high school, as editor of Impact Magazine; Ross was the first to publish the accounts of the disaster in 1971 and was roundly criticized by black and whites for opening old wounds.

He has developed two traveling exhibits, one on Oklahoma Jazz and the other regarding the race riot. The riot exhibit is based on a study guide he developed for high school students

Born March 11, 1941 and the father of five, he has been involved in politics since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The former 10-term lawmaker was active in the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and participated in protests in favor of fair housing, public accommodations and against job discrimination. He attended the 1963 March on Washington.

A U.S. Air Force Veteran, Ross attended Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa. Ross completed his graduate and undergraduate work at The University of Central Oklahoma (formerly Central State University), and has attended the University of Tulsa College of Law. He has studied labor relations at Rutgers and Columbia Universities. A journalist by training, he has served as Vice President and General Manager of The Oklahoma Eagle in Tulsa and was Assistant to the Managing Editor at the Post-Tribune in Gary, Indiana - and as such was among the first African-Americans to enter the management of a major metropolitan newspaper. He wrote a syndicated column called "Urban Shades" for 35 years.

As a state legislator, Ross pressed Oklahoma to become the first state to remove the Confederate Flag from the capital's grounds. Under his leadership Oklahoma was one of the early state to proclaim a state holiday honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and was responsible for naming a state highway for Dr. King.

The retired Tulsa lawmaker has served on the executive committee of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), and as Special Assistant to the NBCSL President. He received NBCSL's highest leadership award on two occasions and was named Legislator of the year 18 times by various organizations during his 20 years tenure
His firm, Ebony Partners, specializing in public relations, advertising, affirmative action, the arts and children's programs, has served as consultants to the NAACP, The City of Tulsa, The Oklahoma Arts Council and a number of private firms and non-profit organization.

A manuscript: "Memoir of an Angry Black Man", chronicles his early childhood, the Tulsa riot, Civil Rights and his adventures during the legislature and travels, is currently being reviewed by the University of Oklahoma Press.