Capp Jefferson - Lionhearted Pioneer & Entrepreneur
Capp Jefferson (1877-1946) came across Red River to Oklahoma City a decade before statehood. An African-American, he toiled and persevered his way to a successful real estate and oil career in a city where Jim Crow still ruled in everything from segregated neighborhoods to trying on clothes in department stores. In doing so, he overcame the opposition of jealous blacks and those who called him an Uncle Tom, even as he risked reprisals from whites angry over his public calls for racial tolerance. When no whites would buy or even lease a vacant, dilapidated home he had purchased and restored to sell in a whites-only neighborhood, Capp leased it to his daughter Dolly and her husband. The empty house was dynamited the night before the new tenants moved in.
Courtesy Brenda Lewis (Capp's great-granddaughter)
Many of Jefferson's erstwhile black enemies came to support and even revere him as they, their children, and their friends benefited from the various projects he championed for the "Negro" community, often from his own pocket. These included a Boy Scout camp for black children, a library for the Junior College adjacent to Oklahoma City’s all-black Douglass High School, and his two runs for United States Congress (as a Republican) against fields of well-financed whites.