A conversation With... Episode Archive

A Conversation With...George Nigh

George and Dick

As an 8th grader in McAlester, George Nigh announced he wanted to be Governor. And, he achieved his goal - by the age of 35. That's just part of the story of the remarkable career of George Nigh - one of the most influential Oklahomans in state history. Armed with a quick wit and keen political skill, Nigh was famous as the "good guy" who wore a white hat, and became the first Oklahoma Governor elected to successive terms.

During the hour-long program, Nigh talks about the repeal of prohibition, expansion of the state highway system, economic development and tourism, the collapse of the Penn Square Bank, making "Oklahoma!" the official state song, his life in politics and much more.

Governor Nigh discusses his six decades of service to Oklahoma with Dick Pryor on A Conversation With ...George Nigh.

A Conversation With...Wilma Mankiller

WilmaWilma Mankiller rose from dirt poor beginnings in rural Adair County to become one of the most respected leaders in the United States as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

In the new OETA production, A Conversation With...Wilma Mankiller, she tells Dick Pryor about her struggles and triumphs in a remarkable personal journey that led her to worldwide recognition and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Mother, author, leader, activist and role model - Wilma Mankiller's incredible story of perseverance, courage and commitment is deeply personal and inspiring. Her words soar, and her unrelenting spirit is a tribute to her Nation and its people.

Excerpt from A Conversation With...Wilma Mankiller, discussing her life in San Francisco before returning to Oklahoma:

Chief Mankiller: I LEARNED A LOT OF LESSONS IN SAN FRANCISCO AND MADE A LOT OF VERY LASTING AND IMPORTANT FRIENDSHIPS THERE. I THINK THAT THEY... I LEARNED A LOT FROM THE PEOPLE I MET AT THE SAN FRANCISCO INDIAN CENTER, AND IT WAS A SOCIAL CENTER AND, ALSO, AN INFORMATION REFERRAL CENTER FOR PEOPLE WHO NEEDED VARIOUS THINGS-- REFERRALS FOR JOBS OR SOME MEDICAL CARE, OR HOUSING, OR SOME OTHER SERVICE.W2

BUT I GREW UP DURING A TIME OF GREAT POLITICAL CHANGE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND SO THERE WAS A HUGE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT GOING ON AT BERKELEY. THERE WAS A HUGE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT GOING ON RELATIVE TO VIETNAM, AND A CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT WAS GOING FULL-SWING. NATIVE AMERICAN PEOPLE WERE BEGINNING TO STAND UP AND ADVOCATE FOR RECOGNITION OF TREATY RIGHTS AND TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY, AND SO IT WAS, YOU KNOW, IT WAS AN INCREDIBLE TIME.

THE MUSIC WAS CHANGING. I LIVED IN SAN FRANCISCO WHEN YOU COULD LITERALLY GO TO A PARK AND HEAR JANIS JOPLIN OR JIMI HENDRIX, AND PLAY. SO IT WAS THAT KIND OF ERA WHERE THERE WAS CHANGE-- CHANGE WAS IN THE AIR. AND A LOT OF YOUNG, JUST REGULAR, EVERYDAY MIDDLE-CLASS PEOPLE, YOUNG PEOPLE WERE QUESTIONING WHAT WAS GOING ON AROUND THEM AND THINKING THEY MAY WANT TO DO SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT. SO GROWING UP IN THAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT, WHERE AT SAN FRANCISCO STATE THERE WERE MEETINGS FOR THE EARLY CONTEMPORARY WOMEN'S MOVEMENT-- JUST SO MANY THINGS WHIRLING AROUND, SO MANY THINGS TO THINK ABOUT AND SEE AND DO, HAD A PROFOUND IMPACT ON ME AND MY ENTIRE FAMILY.

Pryor: YOU WERE EXPOSED TO MANY CULTURES THERE.

Chief Mankiller: RIGHT.

Pryor: ALSO POVERTY, AND A DIFFERENT KIND OF POVERTY, PERHAPS, THAN YOU HAD BEEN USED TO.

W1Chief Mankiller: RIGHT. I CAME TO THE CONCLUSION BY LEARNING ABOUT POVERTY IN OUR HOME-- ECONOMIC POVERTY-- IN OUR HOME IN ADAIR COUNTY IN A CHEROKEE COMMUNITY, AND POVERTY IN AN URBAN AREA, AND POVERTY WITHOUT COMMUNITY IS VERY DIFFERENT THAN POVERTY IN A COMMUNITY WHERE THERE IS A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE A SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHIC SPACE, BUT ALSO SHARE A COMMON HISTORY AND A COMMON LANGUAGE AND COMMON VALUES, AND SOME SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONE ANOTHER.

SO WE LEFT A COMMUNITY WHERE PEOPLE STILL HAD AND CONTINUE TODAY TO HAVE A SENSE OF RECIPROCITY AND A SENSE OF INTERDEPENDENCE AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONE ANOTHER, AND WE WENT TO A COMMUNITY-- A LOW INCOME COMMUNITY-- WHERE EVERYBODY WAS FROM SOMEPLACE ELSE. THEY DID NOT HAVE THAT SHARED HISTORY OR VALUES OR LANGUAGE. THEY JUST SIMPLY SHARED A SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHIC SPACE. SO THERE ARE COMMUNITIES OF VALUES AND CULTURE, AND THEN THERE ARE COMMUNITIES OF PLACE. AND SO IT'S A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF POVERTY.

A Conversation With...Wilma Mankiller - originally aired November 23, 2008.

A Conversation With...Clara Luper

LuperClara Luper decided to take on segregation while on a bus ride across the Jim Crow south in 1957. When the young Oklahoma City history teacher returned home, she organized a group of students to sit down at the all-white Katz Drug Store and order a soda. With that, the American "sit-in" movement was born.

Mrs. Luper's courageous acts of civil disobedience led to the integration of businesses and public accommodations in Oklahoma and launched a lifetime of non-violent activism that helped bring racial equality to the United States.

Luper2Clara Luper discusses the sit-ins, civil rights and her life's work as a leading social reformer with OETA's Dick Pryor in A Conversation With...Clara Luper, debuting Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.

A contemporary and friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Clara Luper marched with him in places like Selma, Alabama and at the epic March on Washington in 1963. She led the Oklahoma sit-in movement for six years, until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

ClaraLater, she led efforts to integrate the Oklahoma City Public Schools and Doe Amusement Park in Lawton and organized and led the Oklahoma City Sanitation Strike and the Tulsa Freedom March to integrate public accommodations.

Mrs. Luper was arrested 26 times while spreading her message of brotherhood and breaking down the walls of segregation, discrimination and hatred. She has come to be known by many as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.

A Conversation With...Lee Allan Smith

OETA’s Dick Pryor talks to Lee Allan Smith about his remarkable life and the people and events that have promoted arts, culture and civic pride in our state.

Read more: A Conversation With...Lee Allan Smith