Taft

This community began as an all-black town on land allotted to freedmen of the Creek Nation. It was originally named Twine, for local resident William H. Twine, and had a post office by 1902. Twine moved to nearby Muskogee, and the citizens voted to rename the town as Taft, for 27th U.S. President William Howard Taft, who was then Secretary of War in the Theodore Roosevelt administration.

Early in the town’s history the citizens promoted their community throughout the South. Taft was advertised as the “fastest growing Colored community in Oklahoma.” Taft had two newspapers, the Enterprise and the Tribune. Before 1910 the community supported three general stores, one drugstore, a brickyard, a soda pop factory, a livery stable, a gristmill, a lumberyard, two hotels, a restaurant, a bank, and a funeral home.

Like neighboring Red Bird, it was a market for many black rural farmers. Many Creek Freedmen lived in or near Taft.

In 1973, the citizens of Taft elected Lelia Foley Davis as the first African American female mayor in the United States.

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