Welcome to Taft!

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Red Leg

Taft was originally known as “Twine Indian Territory” beginning in 1903. Many Creek Freedman lived in Taft. The name came from W.H. Twine a prominent black lawyer in the area. The name was changed to honor President William H. Taft in 1908. Mr. Twine was well known for a number of reasons. He was a hard worker for the republican party leading a Black Delegation at a Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1906. Although a white delegation had been sent from Muskogee, he successfully challenged them attaining the right for his group to vote during the convention. Even as an editorialist for the newspaper he founded, the Muskogee Cemiter, he challenged black inequalities. Once, after visiting Oklahoma City, he received word that the Ku Klux Klan warned him not to return to Muskogee. Twine issued his own ultimatum using the Black Dispatch, an Oklahoma City newspaper. He alerted the Klan to the specifics of his return to Muskogee, listing the time, date and train he would be arriving on. He was a bold fearless advocate for black people. Taft grew to about 300 people by 1907. With Twine’s leadership several other black towns were founded in the area. In 1973, America received its first black female mayor when Lelia Foley-Davis was elected in Taft. Soon after, television star comedian Redd Foxx “adopted” Taft and became its honorary police chief. Taft has one of the most vibrant atmosphere of the black towns considered to still be in existence. Located 45 miles Southeast of Tulsa and 10 miles straight West of Muskogee, it is one of the stops on the Red Leg of the Black Towns Motorcycle tour.

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