The Brady Arts District is a beloved area of Tulsa. Home to the Hardesty Arts Center, Guthrie Green and The Brady Theater, it’s undoubtedly an important part of Tulsa history and life. Recently, however, with the confirmation that the district’s namesake, Wyatt Tate Brady, was a known member of the Ku Klux Klan, the district’s business association has voted to rename the district The Tulsa Arts District.
This decision came as a surprise to Tulsans who were following the association’s progress of choosing a new name. As recent as last week, the business association told local newspapers that the district’s official new name would be released November 1, over a month away. In a surprise vote last week, the association decided to throw out the three previous contenders—NoDo, Boomtown and Bridge—in exchange for the recently suggested fourth choice.
“The district’s tenants and Tulsans have cultivated a diverse, culturally robust area, and we’re thrilled to have a name that encourages that momentum and energy,” says Bob Fleischman, president of the district’s business association, in a statement.
This isn’t the first time that Tulsa has had to deal with conflict surrounding the Brady name. In 2013, City Council members successfully petitioned to rename Brady Street, altering it to represent a Civil War photographer from New York City named Mathew B. Brady, with no ties to Tulsa.
While many people aren’t happy with the decision to change the district’s name, calling it an example of political correctness, this alteration should serve as pacification for those who were opposed to the Brady name. The business association hopes that the new name will create a stronger community in the area, while supporting their rebranding initiative.
The Brady Arts District is a great area that deserves a great name. Hopefully, this change will bring people together while promoting the district’s continued popularity.