[Narrator 1:] Talented statesman of vision, that was Alex Posey, a Creek, who in 1905 wrote most of the Sequoyah Convention Constitution that became the model for the constitution later drawn up for the State of Oklahoma. And a true apostle of nature was Alex Posey too, the poet of the Creeks who so eloquently recorded the soul of his people. Properly, Alex Posey could be called a true "renaissance man" of the Creeks with a broad range of interests and talents that enabled him to make a variety of contributions to his people and earned him his place among the images of Oklahoma history.
[Narrator 2:]They came to Oklahoma from many nations. Newcomers to a new land, looking for better opportunities, a chance to begin again and what remains is their heritage. A rich heritage, that has become the Oklahoma image.
[Narrator 1:] Many of Alex Posey's accomplishments can be attributed to the influence of his parents. [Woman sings in the background] He was a son of a bright mother who skills as a storyteller were unsurpassed by any in the Creek Nation. Alex's mother spent many hours passing on not only stories but tribal legends and lore talking of the happy, free life of the Creeks before the coming of the white man. From his mother, Alex learned a deep pride in being Creek. She stirred in her young son a sensitivity and eagerness which surfaced later in both his poetry and his Creek statemanship.
[Narrator 1:] Alex only spoke Creek until he was twelve. Then his father decided his son should learn English. By the time Posey reached manhood he could not only speak but read and write with skill in both languages which enabled him to be quickly acknowledged as a poet in the white man's world as well as that of the Creek.
[Narrator 1:] During the first 34 years of his life, Alex Posey was a citizen of the Creek Nation then in 1907 Oklahoma became a state and he was an Oklahoman for less than a year. During the short but full 35 years of his life Alex Posey was a poet, a statesman, a newspaper man, a humorist, a teacher and a farmer.
[Narrator 1:] When reading the poetry written by Posey, it doesn't take long to determine that he used the image of the river frequently in his poetry. He told of the mighty Arkansas and the usually mild North Canadian but in a short poem called My Fancy he wrote:
"Why do trees along the river lean so far out o'er the tide
Very wise men tell me why but I am never satisfied
And so I keep my fancy still
the trees lean out to save the drowning from the clutches of the cold remorseless way"
In 1906, when Posey and a friend were returning to Eufaula from Muskogee by train they found a bridge washed out by a now flooding North Canadian River. A boat was provided to take the two the short distance across the river but the craft overturned in the churning water and Posey was lost. The trees along the river did not save him.
[Narrator 1:] On that spring day, Oklahoma lost a potential leader. Posey had served as a Secretary at the Sequoyah Convention. This group was the effort of the people who lived in Indian Territory to establish the State of Sequoyah instead of uniting with Oklahoma Territory to form Oklahoma. A constitution was written, most of which was penned by Posey. Although the venture was unsuccessful, the Sequoyah Convention Constitution served as a model for the one drawn up later for the State of Oklahoma.
[Narrator 1:] Alex Posey served the Creek Nation in several ways. At age 22, he was elected to the House of Warriors, the lower house in Creek government. Later he was appointed superintendent of various tribal schools, as well as, Superintendent of Public Instruction. As a teacher, Posey claimed as a student Thomas Gilcrease who later founded the world-famous museum in Tulsa. Although Alex Posey was a citizen of Oklahoma for only a short time, he furthered its growth. To his family and his fellow Creeks, he will not be forgotten. Today the citizens of Oklahoma recognize Alex Posey and his contributions to the image of Oklahoma.
[Narrator 2:] This program was produced by the Oklahoma Image Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and brought to you as a public service by this station. Oklahoma Image is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Oklahoma Library Association.
Error in recording, Alexander Posey died in 1908 not 1906. Requires one of these for listening: Quicktimewww.apple.com/quicktime/download, Windows Media Playerwww.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download or Real Playerwww.real.com.
Part of the Oklahoma Image Statewide Humanities Project, promoting Newcomers to a New Land book series and the Oklahoma Image Project.
Copyright of this digital resource, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, 2008. For further information regarding use please consult the Rights and Permissions page, http://www.crossroads.odl.state.ok.us/shell/rights.php or contact the holding institution of the digital resource.
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