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Dugouts at Oklahoma City high school now feature murals of local black leaders

By Lauren Daniels/KFOR,


OKLAHOMA CITY ( KFOR ) – A local high school’s baseball dugouts have received a history-filled makeover.

The dugouts at Douglass High School in Oklahoma City now feature murals of iconic black Oklahomans.

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The artist poured 15 months of hard work into the murals – hoping to inspire the next generation.

“I just want them to be influenced and be like hey these people walked the same streets you did,” said artist Tony Thunder.

Thunder says he put his heart and soul into this project, braving all of the elements Oklahoma weather could throw his way.

“Rainy, snowy, cold, it’s getting hot,” Thunder said.

His murals – titled ‘Rise Up O’ Douglassites – inspired by the school’s fight song – feature the 2010 state basketball championship team, as well as baseball legends and history-making Douglass Alum Prentice Gautt.

“He’s the first African-American to play at OU – to play football at OU,” Thunder said.

The north dugout features Oklahoma City leaders like Willa Johnson and F.D. Moon.

“We’ve got some historical figures, educators, that actually taught at Douglass,” said Thunder. “We’ve got Ralph Ellison over there, famous author, and Jimmy Rushing, famous musician.”

Thunder says creating this art was a learning experience for him as well.

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“I got to tell a story that I never really knew about,” he told News 4. “I’ve lived in Oklahoma my whole life, I lived down the street in Moore and it’s telling a story that you just don’t even hear. I was researching all these people and I was like who is this?”

He hopes the students who see his work will do the same – and learn, they too, can make an impact.

“They pretty much influenced the world,” Thunder said.

Tony Thunder was contracted by the City of Oklahoma City to create the murals.

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