IQC and OU Students Develop Pathways for Growth for Tullahassee, Oklahoma

This past spring the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Quality Communities (IQC) worked with twenty-one students in the Environmental Design Practicum class in order to collaborate with community leaders of Tullahassee, Oklahoma and develop a plan for revitalization and growth. 

The town of Tullahassee has a population of just over 100 residents. While small, the town has a large history; it is considered to be Oklahoma’s oldest surviving Black township. Tullahassee is also well known for its history of providing educational opportunities to Black Oklahomans. Flipper Davis College, the only private education institution for Black students in Oklahoma at the time, was established by community leaders in 1916. 

Tullahassee also housed the Carter G. Woodson school for younger Black students. When designing a vision for the town’s future, Tullahassee community leaders, the IQC, and OU’s Environmental Design Students made sure to take the town’s cultural heritage and history into account. IQC project leaders also toured Tullahassee with community leaders.

Pictured during town tour from left: Charity Marcus, strategic consultant to Tullahassee; Cymone Davis, city manager of Tullahasse; Vanessa Morrison, associate director of OU IQC.

The student team was divided into five working groups that focused on individual themes of revitalization and growth. Within these themes the students developed pathways from the town’s current state to their eventual goals. You can explore these themes and the students’ work below. 

Developing pathways for Tullahassee’s growth allowed the students to learn how built environment professionals like themselves can better serve and support Black rural communities like Tullahassee. By doing research on Black communities and on Tullahassee’s specific history as well as engaging consistently with community members, students were able to approach the town’s goals with the context needed to understand the specific needs of the town. The town of Tullahassee now has a clear set of goals for growth and revitalization as well as the pathways necessary to reach those goals.

OU Students involved in the Tullahassee Project:

Taylor Agee 

Jarod Andrews 

Nicholas Atteberry 

Simon Balleux-Springer 

Alisa Barzellone 

Marshall Berry 

Justin Blunt 

Grace Broussard 

Natalie Burlew 

Emily Elmburg 

Lauren Kennedy 

Jacob Lange 

Emily Pendergrast 

Robert Potts 

Reid Richardson 

Karina Salazar 

Bryce Sanders 

Baylor Simmons 

Bryce Ulm 

Harris Youngblood 

Leo Zombolo 

Watch a typographic video on the project below.

View the full “Pathways to Hope – Tullahassee, Oklahoma” report below.