Skip to content

Excerpt – Red Was The Color of The Earth

Red dirt road in Oklahoma

Excerpt – Red Was the Color of the Earth

Wetumka was a simple, somewhat secluded little town. It was rooted in the red earth that was central Oklahoma. I reflected in later years that the redness of the soil matched the bloody history of Oklahoma and the forced resettlement of Native Americans. I read that the town was named after Wetumpka, Alabama, and the Native American Creek tribe who lived there.

The Creek people resided in Alabama for untold hundreds of years until that shameful and despicable part of American history known later as the Trail of Tears. The United States government forced the Creek to leave their homes. This forced relocation was to this somewhat desolate section of the central American prairie. People thought of it as junk land for which the white colonists had no use.

Because we were of Middle Eastern descent, my brothers and I have always had a brownish tint to our skin. This was especially after a summer on the farm under the often-fierce Oklahoma sun. An olive complexion was the term used in polite circles. As a child, I never gave race much thought, as I had always considered myself Caucasian. We were always treated as white by the townspeople, at least to our faces. Such accommodation was important because Wetumka had a long history of less than generous treatment of nonwhite people. In the decades before our arrival, and to a certain extent during our time there, segregation and racism were the order of the day…”

Wetumka, Oklahoma

More essays