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SUMMIT

Summit, platted as South Muskogee in 1910, had a post office as early as 1896. One of more than fifty All-Black towns of Oklahoma, Summit is one of thirteen Black towns still existing at the end of the twentieth century. The town is located in Muskogee County six miles southwest of the city of Muskogee. The Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway had a depot in the community. The town may have been named Summit because it was the highest point on the railroad between Arkansas and the North Canadian rivers. Rev. L. W. Thomas organized the St. Thomas Primitive Baptist Church in 1923; in 1929 the congregation constructed a church building that still stands. The many businesses in Summit before World War II included a cotton gin, filling station, grocery, and garage. Although not incorporated until 1980, the town has always been self-governed.

Summit's W. E. B. DuBois School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places before burning to the ground in 1991. The St. Thomas Baptist Church is listed in the Oklahoma Landmark Inventory. Like many rural communities, Summit suffered during the Great Depression, and after World War II flight to urban centers added to the decline. The 1990 census listed 162 residents; in 1999 the town completed a new community center and remained optimistic about future growth.

SEE ALSO: AFRICAN AMERICAN FRATERNAL ORDERS, AFRICAN AMERICANS, ALL-BLACK TOWNS, BOLEY, CLEARVIEW, NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES, SEGREGATION, TAFT, URBAN DEVELOPMENT

BIBLIOGRAPHY: George Carney, "Historic Resources of Oklahoma's All-Black Towns: A Preservation Profile," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 69 (Summer 1991). Jimmie Lewis Franklin, Journey TowardS Hope: A History of Blacks in Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982). Arthur Tolson, The Black Oklahomans: A History, 1541-1972 (New Orleans, La.: Edwards Printing Company, 1972).

Larry O'Dell

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