Dale F. Hogg
The first newspaper clip found on Dale Hogg is from Nov. 21, 1958, and features contrasting portraits of the 16-year-old Booker T. Washington High School student: finely tuned athlete and serious student.
“The post-Sputnik era of increased respect for learning takes concrete form in Tulsa schools, where good scholars, as well as varsity athletes, win acclaim,” the article states.
Hogg, who had been named “Boy of the Month,” was a first-string quarterback and student council member. The article listed his home address, parents, and an impressive class schedule.
Those formative years took Hogg into a lifetime of civil rights and human resources work that changed laws and culture in Tulsa and Oklahoma. He was inducted last week into the Booker T. Washington High School Hall of Fame.
Coming back to town for the festivities, Hogg reflected on the work he and others contributed while also considering the current state of racial equality.
“Tulsa is a really fine city. Obviously, like all cities, it’s had its ups and downs. It’s very interesting,” he said. “Tulsa is to be, frankly, admired in terms of its accomplishments. The city has done wonders in many respects. At the same time, I say that, gosh, more could be done. I’d like to see more equal footing.”
Call for civil rights: Thinking back on his youth, Hogg said establishing confidence was an integral part of the BTW education.
“If any football player on our team said they can’t, that was not to be tolerated. We were told that in no uncertain terms,” Hogg said.
Funny thing about being a kid is that dreams often change. Hogg wanted to be a dentist.
He ended up with a biological sciences degree from Colorado State University and returned to Tulsa in 1964 to take a job as a research analyst in the chemistry department at North American Rockwell.
“After burning holes in enough shoes and pockmarks in my clothes, I had had enough of this,” he said, laughing.
The company noticed he had a way with co-workers and offered to move him to what was the human resources office.
“I felt very comfortable and able to establish rapport with a lot of people,” Hogg said. “That was the beginning of my career in personnel.”
The call for civil rights within his hometown couldn’t be ignored.
It was the charismatic leadership of Whitney Young at the National Urban League, a civil rights organization advocating on behalf of African-Americans and against racial discrimination, and the focus on equal employment opportunities that drew Hogg into the Tulsa Urban League in July 1969. He began to make some changes.
In hindsight, the most important move was broadening the composition of the board of directors. Hogg pulled in top-level administrators from major companies and influential leaders from area organizations.
“I had a taste of the corporate world, and it seemed to me we needed to change the structure at the Urban League to get involved in the community at a much more diverse level,” Hogg said. “I set out with some very specified objectives and made an impact on a community that had longed for it. … There are many things from the Urban League years that one can look back and point to and feel good about.”
Among the job programs was the Labor Education Advancement Program to provide apprenticeships with labor unions and connections with companies through college counseling services.
Hogg recalls boldly approaching the wife of philanthropist and Arkansas Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, Jeannette, at a conference and asking her to speak at a Tulsa dinner. Impressed by the event, Rockefeller sent Hogg and his wife, Faye, tickets to New York City for a National Urban League conference and a personal dinner.
“We talked about her involvement with the Urban League and things we could do. She was encouraging of our work in penetrating the job market,” Hogg said. “She stressed the importance of diversity on the board. I never forgot that.”
‘This is not right’: Civil rights meant challenging authority in ways that made Hogg unpopular in certain circles. It also meant a lawsuit.
Although he grew up in Tulsa, Hogg and his wife faced a petition from residents in a neighborhood to keep them from buying a house in east Tulsa near 21st Street and 107th East Avenue. The real estate agent was almost run down by a neighbor. Residents asked the out-of-state owner not to sell to the black couple.
The Hoggs purchased the home anyway.
“It was a little frightening to us, but we shouldn’t be denied the right to purchase a home,” he said.
Then, a flier arrived advertising a nearby preschool. In 1972, his wife went to enroll their 3-year-old daughter, Trina, at the Little Pre-School near 31st Street and Mingo Road.
The director, Lynda Vantine, told them black children were not accepted into the program. The city’s Community Relations Commission investigated and found the complaint had merit and filed a lawsuit against the business. A judge ruled the preschool was guilty of discrimination. Appeals went all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which upheld the ruling.
Hogg said their family discouraged them from filing the complaint.
“Both my wife and I felt this is not right. We have to pursue this,” Hogg said. “I remember Ms. Vantine standing in front of the school and saying, ‘I know you must be used to being rejected, but it’s not me, it’s the parents.’
“I told her that to the contrary, I have been accepted in an integrated college and in my career and will do everything possible to ensure this doesn’t happen to not only me but anyone following me.”
Their daughter found another school that treated her with open arms and respect. She excelled in school and is now a manager of human resources at a Texas bank. The couple also has a son who is an entrepreneur.
Further to go: Hogg eventually became a known local television personality, appearing on KOTV, channel 6 by the mid-’70s reporting on weather and occasionally holding down the anchor desk.
With his friend Millard House, who was director of human relations for Tulsa Public Schools, they created a television series titled “All About Integration” that appeared on public TV and served as magnet school training.
As editor of Impact Magazine, Hogg published the first commemorative stories on the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, and he was the first black member of the University of Tulsa board of trustees. He was a member of many other local boards, including the Catholic Advisory Council and American Red Cross.
Eventually, Hogg went back into the corporate world and lived in several cities across the U.S. He became vice president at Time Warner, regional director at Coca-Cola Co., corporate manager at W.R. Grace and Co., and vice president and corporate officer of Iridium.
Hogg and his wife still visit Tulsa and will drive by their old homes. At a funeral not long ago, they were at a residence on the north side of Tulsa and needed groceries. The nearest store was 15th Street and Lewis Avenue, at least half an hour away.
“Do you mean we have to drive that far to go to the grocery store? That seems like a terrible inconvenience,” he said. “It amazes me that in spite of the fact the city has blossomed, it hasn’t blossomed on the north side. There is still stagnation — a refusal to go in that direction.
“As I once told the Tulsa World years ago, Tulsa has come a long way, but there’s a hell of a long way to go.”