Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Word Up Wednesday: Legacy of Napoleon Davis

This photo is an image of the former Creek Freedmen Shrine built by Napoleon Davis, a Creek Freedmen Descendant. The shrine was built by Mr. Davis with the majority of work done by his own hands. 

Photo courtesy of Angela Walton-Raji

His vision was to erect a building that would house the artifacts and history associated with the Creek Freedmen and from all accounts the building was an engineering feat for one man to erect.

Photo courtesy of Angela Walton-Raji

Unfortunately following Mr. Davis' death his property became abandoned and subsequently his children sold the property. During that time the building was allowed to deteriorate and the new owner gutted the interior.

Photo Courtesy of Debra Jane Seltzer

It would have been the ideal facility for preserving the history of Creek Freedmen and their descendants had someone reached out to preserve the legacy of Napoleon Davis.


  1. Thanks for sharing my photos, (top 2 photos) I visited Mr. Davis twice before he died. About 6 or 7 years ago I suggested that his site be visited and mentioned it on the message board, but not one living in OK at the time took an interest.

    It has subsequently been sold, and destroyed. (see third photo).

    This would have been the perfect place for the Freedmen descendants of ALL of the tribes to have a home.

    The shrine was located in a historically black town--Taft--and it lies in the Creek Nation.

    Sadly, no one, not even the advocates and and lobbyists for the Freedmen even gave a cursory glance. There was just no curiosity or interest from anyone.

    I understand that this year, someone did visit the shrine with an interest, but it was too late---as you can see it is now destroyed.

    The beautiful plaques inside are are gone. Many are smashed and pie outside in ruin. He personally had the names of every Creek Freedmen put on over 120 plaques. It was beautiful---but the community looked away with their focus on other things.

    The tragedy is----history does not cost lawyer's fees. History will not involve collecting money or forming committees and schmoozing with politicians, creating groups or being in the press.

    Right there on the soil where the remains of untold stories fade away and crumble.

    The efforts of this site represent the efforts of an elder trying to preserve the past---but no one cared.

    So very sad, indeed.

  2. Very happy that I came across this website as I googled it once I watched the documentary by Sam Ford: Black Slaves, Red Masters: