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 DR. KERR'S CAREER TESTIMONY


 DR. KERR'S ARMS & TARTAN


 TULSA RACE WAR:
BACKGROUND


 TULSA RACE WAR OF 1921


 COURTHOUSE LYNCH MOB


 DR. KERR CONFRONTS MOB


 THE GREENWOOK BLACK COMMUNITY


 SANCTUARY FOR THE GREENWOOD BLACKS


. DESTRUCTION OF GREENWOOD


 MAN SAVED FROM LYNCHING


 DR. KERR REJECTS 'INTER-RACIAL COMMITTEE'


 LEGAL RIGHTS OF THE GREENWOOD BLACK


 LEGAL ANALYSIS OF RACE WAR


 DR. KERR AND THE 'COMMON PLAN'


 DR. KERR OFFERS RESIGNATION


 DR. KERR CONFRONTS TULSA LEADERSHIP


 OIL RICH TULSANS


 SCOTTISH CLANS & WHITE TRASH


 KERR REMAINS IN TULSA


 THE WORLD'S FIRST BAG PIPE OPERA


 OUTLINE


 

CHRISTIAN  TESTIMONY

of

Dr.  Charles  W.  Kerr

The Very Reverend Charles William Kerr, DD.  
2nd April 1875 to 18th July 1951
144th Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in U. S.
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church (1900-1941) of Tulsa


HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND:

Dr.  Charles  W. Kerr  and  1921  Tulsa   Race  War:

 Dr.  Kerr's  ministerial  career:

  Charles  William  Kerr was born on 2nd April 1875 to an old Scots Presbyterian Lowland family.  After his family emigrated to the western Pennsylvania in the 19th century, Charles Kerr graduated from Slippery Rock Normal Teachers College in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania , with a B.A. He studied for the Presbyterian ministry at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago , Illinois ,  graduating in 1898 and was ordained. As a young seminarian Charles Kerr made a private vow to lead one new person each week to Jesus.  This was the secret of his dynamic future ministry    which empowered him during his career to build up Tulsa 's original clapboard First Presbyterian  Church into the second largest Presbyterian  church in the United States .

'Lead one person  to Jesus each week'  

On 6th September 1898   Rev. Charles Kerr married   Anna Elizabeth  Coe,  born  on  6th  April 1876 .   The  Coes were early  day  Pennsylvania  abolitionists  who participated  in  the  pre-Civil  War  underground  railway  to assist escaping slaves.   She descends from the  armigerious  Coes of Gestingthorpe  Manor, Essex , England .  Her  ancestor,  Robert  Coe,  an  English  Puritan,  emigrated  to  America  in  1634,  and  was a  founder  of  Stamford,  Connecticut. 

                                                                                                                    Coe

Young  Scots Presbyterian  Missionaries   to  the Indians  and  Freedmen  in  Indian  Territory

 On their wedding day Rev. and Mrs. Kerr  left  Pennsylvania  for  Oklahoma,  then  Indian  Territory,  as  young Scots Presbyterian  missionaries,  to begin a life of Christian Service to the oppressed Indians and friendless Freedmen (Blacks  freed  from  slavery) living in Indian Territory  (now,  Oklahoma).   They had two children,  Hawley and  Margaret.

 

Young  Rev.  Charles  W.  Kerr  
Tulsa 's  only  Pastor  until  1906

 On  Saturday,  10th  February  1900 ,   Rev.  Charles  W.  Kerr  was 'called'  to  be  Pastor  of  the  First  Presbyterian   Church  in  Tulsa, then a  sleepy  Creek Indian village  at the crossing of the Frisco and Midland Valley Railroad  tracks.

Rev. Kerr was the first permanent Christian Pastor in Tulsa . Rev.  Kerr's  first  church  was  a  gothic-styled  clapboard  wooden  church.   He  had  no  clerical  competition in Tulsa until the Baptists obtained a resident minister in  1906.

The  1901  discovery  of  oil  transformed  Tulsa into the 'boomtown' 'Oil Capitol of the World' as well as transformed the Kerr's  original missionary  vocation to Indians and Freedmen into the  pastorate of an all-white  church.   Tulsa rapidly  grew  from 600   into an 'oil boom-town'  of 72,000 by 1921:   60,000  whites  and  12,000  Blacks.   Tulsa 's Black district was named ' Greenwood '.  Today, the population of Tulsa is  360,000.

 

First  Presbyterian  Church  in  1900  
When  Rev.  Charles  W.  Kerr  assumed  Pastorate

 As an early day missionary, Rev. Kerr frequently went to Tulsa 's 'skid row' on First  Street to pray, kneeling  in the gutter, with drunk cowboys on Friday and Saturday nights  to  lead  them to Christ.  

 Early on Rev. Kerr made friends with the Black  Pastors in Greenwood publicly disdained by Tulsa 's other prominent white  clergy:  

Rev. Kerr's favourite story as a guest preacher in Greenwood churches was that of the African, Simon of Cyrene, a Black man who was a gardener with two sons named Alexander and Rufus  --  common names in Greenwood :  Jesus was condemned by his own people.  The sentenced was carried out by the Romans who represented white people.  Representing all persons of African descent -- past, present, and future, Simon of Cyrene was the only person in Jerusalem willing to help Jesus carry his Cross.   As a result of the help given to Him by Simon of Cyrene,  all people of African descent have a very special place in Jesus' heart:  Now in Glory Jesus stands ready to reciprocate the help given to Him by Simon of Cyrene by answering their prayers.  The ministry of service begun by Simon of Cyrene in helping Jesus carry his Cross to Calvary is continued by helping someone with a burden.

 

Eleventh   Street   Bridge   over  Arkansas  river   in  Tulsa  
where  Rev.  Charles  W.  Kerr  ministered  to  homeless
people  forgotten  by  oil-wealthy  Tulsans

 Rev. Kerr  often brought food and clothes to, prayed with, and found jobs for the many homeless people, Black, white, Indian, living under Tulsa's 11th Street Bridge    forgotten by  oil-rich  Tulsans.

In breach of solemn international treaties between Oklahoma's various Indian Nations and the United States Government guaranteeing "in perpetuity" to the Indian Nations the lands in present-day Oklahoma to which they had been 'removed';  the Federal 1887 Dawes Act 'opened' Oklahoma for massive Land Grabs of 'free' Indian Lands by disinherited Southern poor whites ...at the expense of the Indians.  

Thereafter,  both the Federal Government and the State of Oklahoma turned a blind eye to massive thefts of individual Indian Lands , mineral rights, and oil & gas rights by déclassé poor white Oklahomans in general  and by the avaricious  oil industry  in particular.    Although originally  owing all of Oklahoma , the Indians quickly lost everything  to the usurping Southern poor whites and the petroleum  industry invading Oklahoma in the 1890's.

Having personally witnessed the gross manner in which the predatory oil interests managed to swindle Oklahoma 's naïve Indians out their lands, mineral, oil and gas rights with whiskey,   Rev. Kerr became the foremost temperance crusader in  Oklahoma .

Rev.  Kerr  supported  substantive  social justice  
for  underpaid  striking  refinery  workers
 

Rev. Kerr's  burning Scottish sense of social justice motivated him to sponsor an annual Labour Day service for all union members at Tulsa 's First Presbyterian Church to encourage democratic unionism as a vehicle for needed social, economic, and political  change.   He opposed from his pulpit  attempts by the local oilmen to bust unions.

 

Rev.  Kerr's  annual  summer  revival  tent  next  to  Courthouse:  
Complete  with  an  old  fashion  mourners'  bench  for  repentant  sinners

 Very  evangelical  Rev.  Kerr  held  annual  summer  tent  revivals   in  a  tent  on  the  vacant  lot  next  to  the  Tulsa  County  Courthouse.   He  brought  guests  speakers  such  as  Billy  Sunday,  Williams  Jennings  Bryan,  and  Carrie  Nation  to  Tulsa.   As  a  fellow   Temperance  Crusader  Mrs.  Carry  Nation  frequently  stayed  with  the  Kerrs  in  their  Manse  where  she  organised  hatched  raids  against  the  illegal  sale  of  liquor  in  Tulsa.   Rev.  Charles  W. Kerr  was  known  for  fervent   altar  calls  summoning  sinners  to  repentance:   Sinners  would  go  sit  on  Rev.  Kerr's  mourner's  bench  where  he  would  pray  for  each  of  them  individually.     Salvaged  by  Rev.  Kerr,  such  converts  were  often  transformed  into  Tulsa 's  leading  citizens.

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