Charles Kerr (1875-1951)
The first Protestant pastor in Tulsa, in his over 40 years of servant leadership, this greathearted servant of Christ’s guided First Presbyterian to becoming the second largest church in its denomination. Yet, concern for the downtrodden and broken forged his enduring legacy. He tirelessly fought the iniquitous traffic of liquor he saw destroying the Creek Indians who preceded the city of Tulsa, and later the boom town’s white and black pioneers. His Saturday night street ministry to cowboys and roughnecks, the drunken, homeless, and otherwise broken under the First Street bridge, gained renown.
He tried to calm emotions among the white crowd at the courthouse before the Tulsa Race War exploded. When it did, he immediately opened his church as a haven for scores of women, children, and other refugees, in particular African Americans, ravaged by the calamity.