BTW Athletic Museum

La’Mar Burks’ passion captures Hornets’ excellence in school’s athletic collection.



La’Mar Burks, founder and curator of the Booker T. Washington High School Athletic Museum, stands in the museum’s football room.

Twenty or so U.S. high schools are named for American educator and author Booker T. Washington, according to La’Mar Burks, founder and curator of the BTW Athletic Museum.

He should know. He has visited many of them.

But thanks to Burks’ passion and hard work, none has a collection of sports artifacts to match that of the Tulsa school.

Burks, a former Hornet football player who was an All-Conference center on the school’s 1973 state championship team, has led the efforts to record and preserve the athletic legacies of arguably the most decorated school in Oklahoma history. Burks graduated in 1974.

An art teacher for 32 years and a coach for 25 years in Tulsa Public Schools, Burks has combined both disciplines in his creation and continued expansion of the athletic museum. It is housed in the BTW Historical Building, which was formerly the school’s main entrance.

Eventually, the Historical Building also will house similar collections that chronicle the school’s past academically and in music and the arts. 

Burks contemplated the athletic museum after he and two former Hornet football buddies, Gerald Hicks and Rodney Clark, produced a DVD on BTW football successes called “Hornet Football Excellence.”

Burks jumped into the memorabilia project full speed in the summer of 2010 after receiving what he calls the “orange light go-ahead” from BTW Assistant Principal Mike Mims.

“Whenever I take a vacation, I usually go visit other Booker T. Washington schools and have visited about 10,” Burks says. “Many of them have sports museums, but none can even touch ours.”

He also has visited other sports halls of fame to gain insight as to the best practices of sports museums.

Burks’ first order of business in establishing the museum was furnishing the BTW Football Hall of Fame, which he began in the summer of 2010.

With 15 state championships in football, finding appropriate memorabilia was never a problem. Jerseys, helmets, shoes, pads, footballs and various other mementos line the shelves.

The players whose framed jerseys hang on the walls all played in the NFL and could almost comprise their own All-Star team.

Established NFL players such as Reuben Gant, Jonathon Brown, Kevin Lockett, R.W. McQuarters, Demond Parker, Aaron Lockett, Mark Anderson, Felix Jones and Robert Meacham are among those enshrined.

The museum would not be complete without a tribute to longtime BTW Coach Seymour E. Williams, whose name graces the school’s football stadium. Williams’ coaching resume is impeccable:

  • Wins: 290; losses: 23; ties: 11.
  • Won 17 Oklahoma Interscholastic Athletic Association Black Football Championships and 29 Oklahoma Interscholastic Athletic Association Black Basketball Championships.
  • Won five National Basketball Championships.
  • Never lost a track meet.
  • Won six national track meets.

Burks started work on the BTW Basketball/Wrestling Hall of Fame in the summer of 2011. While it may still be a work in progress, two of the honorees are BTW’s best-known and most successful athletes: Kenny Monday (wrestling) and Wayman Tisdale (basketball).

Monday is a three-time Olympic wrestler with gold and silver Olympic medals to his credit. And an entire corner is devoted to the late Tisdale, who many consider to be the greatest Hornet of all time.

The 1942 Black National Championship game ball shows all the teams BTW defeated to win the title. Tisdale was a three-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma; 1984 Olympic gold medalist; No. 2 overall draft pick in the 1985 NBA draft; had a 12-year NBA career; and was a renowned jazz bass recording artist with eight albums to his credit and a No. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart.

Etched on the wall is a handwritten testament to the fame of No. 23 for the Hornets, in which Tisdale’s college coach, Billy Tubbs, tells the story of eating with him in a Norman café.

“Wayman goes to the restroom, and a female takes the straw from his soda (and) runs out of the cafe shouting, ‘I got Wayman Tisdale’s straw! I got his straw!’”

In addition to the mementos from Tisdale’s playing days, jerseys of former Hornets Richard Dumas, Ryan Humphrey and Etan Thomas, all of whom played in the NBA, grace the walls along with collages of newspaper clippings.

The Track/Baseball/Softball Hall of Fame is in the start-up phase in what was the school’s former library.

Most of Burks’ work on the museum takes place during the summer.

“When I come in here, I hate to leave because I can easily get lost in thought of all these great people,” he says.

It’s easy to tell Burks loves his hobby.

“Lots of times in the summer when I come in the morning, I’ll raise the blinds, just stand there and simply look out the window at the football field and take it all in,” he says. “It’s comforting.”

Why does Burks think the athletic museum is important to the BTW community?

“The reason the museum is important is that it gives both young and old alumni the opportunity to witness what they have seen or heard about BTW athletics,” he explains. “It gives a person the opportunity to add to the rich BTW legacy and to pass that legacy on to future generations.”

Burks says two people in particular have helped make the museum possible.

The first is the late Hicks (Class of 1975), who Burks says was instrumental in making the idea a reality.

“The other is my father, the late Sam Burks, a former BTW Stadium/S.E. Williams Stadium supervisor,” the historian says. “Having had the opportunity to work many ballgames during my early childhood gave me a firsthand insight as to the history of BTW — meeting players, watching championship ball teams and being around role models of Hornet players, teachers and coaches.”

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October 2019

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Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

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Endangered Ark Foundation
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Telephone: 580-317-8470
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View map »


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Telephone: 918-749-6006
Contact Name: Dan
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Cost: $1,250

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View map »


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Website »

More information

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View map »


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Telephone: 303-6964500
Contact Name: Kelsey Berglund
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More information

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2657 E 2070 Rd
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View map »


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Website »

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Cost: $1,250

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View map »


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Cost: $15

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View map »


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Telephone: 918-528-1507
Contact Name: Liz Medrano
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Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

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Website »

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Contact Name: Amber Whitlatch
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Cost: 0.00

Where:
Tulsa State Fairgrounds
4145 E 21st St,
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-6964500
Contact Name: Kelsey Berglund
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The Tulsa Walk to Defeat ALS is the signature fundraising event for The ALS Association Oklahoma. The Walk to Defeat ALS is the #1 way to unite and fundraise for those living with ALS. Each...

Cost: Free

Where:
Guthrie Green
111 East M.B. Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 202-464-8617

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Together OSU Medicine and OSU Medical Center have built a fully comprehensive health care team to serve families in Tulsa and the surrounding areas. One of those levels of expertise is...

Cost: Free

Where:
OSU Medical Center North Lobby
744 W. Ninth St.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: OSU Medicine

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 Harvest Hayday!  October 26, from 11am - 2pm.  Come celebrate the arrival of fall!  With hayrides, games, trunk or treating, emergency vehicles, a petting zoo, and more, ...

Cost: Free, except food items for purchase from Food Trucks

Where:
Asbury UMC
6767 S. Mingo Rd
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Asbury UMC
Telephone: 918-392-1165
Contact Name: Kim Broadhurst
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Hello, Friends!   Fall is in the air! We are excited to present the 5th Annual Hugo Pumpkin Festival, a fun-filled event featuring a variety of entertaining activities for the whole family....

Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

Where:
Endangered Ark Foundation
2657 E 2070 Rd
Hugo, OK  74743
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Sponsor: Endangered Ark Foundation
Telephone: 580-317-8470
Contact Name: Emily
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Outdoor All Day Family Friendly Halloween Event 

Cost: $0-$10.00

Where:
Downtown Wagoner
Main Street
Wagoner
Wagoner, OK  74467
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Sponsor: Wagoner Main Street
Telephone: 918-577-1772
Contact Name: Samantha Call
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Buy a Care Card and save up to 20% at more than 200 local stores and restaurants October 25 – November 3, 2018. With Care Card, you’re saving more than money – you’re saving lives....

Cost: $60

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: Family & Children's Services
Telephone: 918-560-1115
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Abersons presents Pink Ribbon -- an exclusive, high-fashion fundraiser featuring a runway show by one of the world's hottest designers. Cocktails 6 p.m. | Dinner & Live Auction 7...

Cost: $1,250

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st St.
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Abersons
Telephone: 918-834-7200
Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
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Go into the woods and experience the return of this fantastic family production with performances in both Tulsa and Broken Arrow. Tulsa Ballet's Hardesty Family Foundation Children's...

Cost: $15

Where:
Studio K (Tulsa) and Zarrow Studio (Broken Arrow(
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
Telephone: 918-749-6006
Contact Name: Dan
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America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
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Mummies of all ages! Bring your goblins, witches, and super heroes to our fun and food filled Halloween Dance! Saturday, October 26th, 2019 6-9 pm $5 per person (check or cash)  

Cost: $5 per person

Where:
Bixby Community Center
211 N Cabaniss Ave
Bixby , OK  74008
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Sponsor: Bixby Community Center
Telephone: 918-366-4841
Contact Name: Victoria Smith

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For the first time, the Oklahoma Aquarium will host seven nights of indoor trick-or-treating for kids of all ages from Friday, October 25 to Thursday, October 31! Guests can follow the...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74107
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Telephone: 918-528-1507
Contact Name: Liz Medrano
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Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
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Telephone: 918-813-6514
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Tulsa Metro Sound Chorus presents: "As Seen on TMS". A comedic review which will keep you in stitches, including music of Iconic Women of Song . Come enjoy the music of Karen Carpenter,...

Cost: 15.00

Where:
Memorial High School
5840 S Hudson Ave,
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Tulsa Metro Sound
Telephone: 918-352-6091
Contact Name: Marlys Fallen
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Choral Music from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Down Under

Cost: $20

Where:
Cascia Hall
2520 S Yorktown Ave
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Sponsor: Tulsa Chorale
Telephone: 918-625-1527
Contact Name: Anastasia Howard
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Are you looking for a night of Halloween hilarity, ghoulish guffaws, and spooky silliness? Then come and see the spirited stylings of Laughing Matter… Oklahoma’s longest-running...

Cost: $8.00 ($4.00 for children under 12)

Where:
pH Community House
306 S Phoenix Ave
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
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Luchadores go head to head in the ring to see who really is The Great Pumpkin!

Cost: Free

Where:
Elote Cafe & Catering
514 S Boston Ave
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Elote Cafe & Catering
Telephone: 918-582-1403
Contact Name: Elote Cafe & Catering
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Seymour, a nerdy worker at a run-down florist is romantically pining for a seemingly unattainable beauty named Audrey, when he discovers an unusual plant that only thrives when it is fed human...

Cost: $15-$25

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 East Second Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Project Theatre
Telephone: 918-596-7122
Contact Name: Amber Whitlatch
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No tricks, just treats! Gathering Place is casting a spell for all not-so-scary ghosts and ghouls to make their way to the park for sweets and treats. Meet us on Spooky Street for a kid-friendly,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gathering Place
2650 S. John Williams Way E.
Tulsa, OK  74114
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What's New


McDazzle Fun Ball

“Lighting the Path of Hope” benefitted Ronald McDonald House, a temporary home for families of critically ill or injured patients

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Try not to smile at this happy puppy painting...

Talitha B. Jacobs' art will be featured at Utica Square’s Art in the Square from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Oct. 5.

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2 new local music releases for your listening pleasure

Brad James Band, “At Fellowship Hall” and Weston Horn and the Hush, “Vol. II: Don’t Give Up”

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3 new downtown restaurants you need to try

These three downtown restaurants are all waiting for you and, with one bite, will secure your place “in the know” about the Tulsa food scene.

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Grandma’s Pure and Natural is a local soap success

In 2002, Tulsa-based Remwood Products created a line of natural soaps and detergents which is safe for sensitive skin.

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