M-A alumni

Menlo-Atherton alumnus Reggie Turner will be returning to the high school on Feb. 6 screening his documentary Before They Die —and talking a bit about the race riots that occurred the fall of his freshman year.

Initially released in 2008, Before They Die chronicles the survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot and their quest for justice. “There was a constructive, conscious effort to hide this event from history,” says Reggie. “The conspiracy to cover up the story continued until we started throwing some light on it

The “we” is attorney and Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree, who had been approached by Tulsa survivors to represent them as they had been unable to find any other attorney to take their case. Reggie and Charles had worked together previously on activist and civil rights projects.

“Working with Charles, it became clear from interviews with survivors they wanted closure or reparations,” said Reggie. “2021 will be the 100th commemoration to what is now being refereed to as the Tulsa Massacre. Back in 2003 when we put the class action together, there were 151 survivors. Now there are none.”

The Tulsa Massacre occurred in a 24-hour period beginning on May 31, 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when a white mob bombed, burned, looted and destroyed America’s most prosperous African-American community, known as “The Black Wall Street.” Through intimidation and with the support of state and local governments, a conspiracy of silence covered up the loss of more than 300 lives and the displacement of more than 10,000 law-abiding citizens.

“We recently identified three different locations of the mass graves. My film was one of the first to document the existence of these graves.

“My hope is that with the current leadership in Tulsa, there will be some closure for the heirs. It’s not all about property or money, there’s lost heritage and lineage. A good part of our motivation is to bring about healing. Checks don’t heal the world.”

Circling back to his time at M-A, coming to the Atherton high school from East Palo Alto, he cites that the wealth gap was second only to the culture gap. “There was the soul side and the rock side,” he says with a chuckle.

Reggie was eventually able to bridge the gap, becoming senior class president, graduating in 1971 and enrolling at Stanford. And while at M-A, the seeds of his lifetime of activism were sown, partially as a result of the race riot that occurred the fall of his freshman year.

“I’ve been asked by audiences who view Before They Die about what drew me to this project,” he says. “And I began to question that myself. With my 50th reunion coming up next year, I thought this was a good time to bring the film and M-A together.”

Reggie will be at the M-A PAC on Thursday, Feb. 6, with a meet and greet at 6:00 pm followed by the film screening at 7:00 pm. Admission: Students w/ ID: free: General: $10 or $20 with DVD of film.

You can purchase tickets to attend the screening of the documentary online.

{ Be the first to comment }

Two M-A grads make the news in sad ways

Two Menlo-Atherton High School grads, both of whom excelled in their professions, made the news the in the last few days. Craig Rockhold (photo right) was identified as the man who was killed in a Caltrain collision on Saturday night, which Caltrain spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said appeared to be an intentional act. Craig, who played […]

Click to read more →

Jim Rutter’s latest endeavor is all about sports – and you!

Sports have long been part of Menlo-Atherton High School grad Jim Rutter’s life. Growing up, he played Little League with former 49ers quarterback John Paye who later was a fraternity brother at Stanford. “I wasn’t a great athlete but participated in football, wrestling and baseball at M-A,” he said recently at the Dutch Goose, seated […]

Click to read more →

Two of the teens killed earlier this week were Fire Explorers – Menlo Park Fire District mourns the loss of promising lives

The three teenagers — Ricardo Torres, 19; Andrew Gonzales, 19; and Matthew  Cruz, 18 — who were killed in a vehicle accident on Halloween night on southbound Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) were not only very close friends, two belonged to Fire Explorer Post 109 sponsored by the Menlo Park Fire District, and one was the oldest son […]

Click to read more →

Here’s your chance to hear great bluegrass music – Menlo-Atherton High School style!

The finest bluegrass pickers to emerge from the halls of Menlo-Atherton High School are getting together this Saturday, July 15, for a special show at Club Fox in Redwood City (2209 Broadway). Since graduating in 2004 and 2005, Ryan Breen (banjo), Henry Warde (guitar), Kyle McCabe (bass), and Andy O’Brien (mandolin) have developed into some […]

Click to read more →

Ed Dobbs, local business owner and mentor to many, passes away at age 68

Edward Francis Dobbs, 68, passed away on February 22 at his home in Redwood City after a short and aggressive battle with brain cancer. He will be missed for many reasons, but most certainly for his warm smile and his love of life. A memorial service for Ed will take place at Peninsula Bible Church (3505 Middlefield Rd) […]

Click to read more →

M-A grad Alan Masaoka is respected glass artist with many private and public installations

Given his robost portfolio of private and public glass art, Menlo-Atherton High School alum Alan Masaoka surprised us: He didn’t go to art school nor even study art at either M-A nor the College of San Mateo. During a recent visit to his Carmel Valley studio, he explained: “I’ve always been interested in art and was […]

Click to read more →

Spotted: M-A Class of ’66 parties on at Zott’s today

The Menlo-Atherton High School Class of ’66 held its 50th reunion last night at the Elks Lodge in Palo Alto, the same location they’d held their grad night festivities. And like most every other reunion that takes place locally, Sunday meant a “morning after” reconnection at Zott’s in Portola Valley. The inclement weather had them […]

Click to read more →

Peck family with long-time Menlo Park roots, own and operate JP Digital Imaging

JP Digital Imaging may be located in Mountain View, but there’s a lot of Menlo Park in the building. Jim, wife Leslie, and daughter Ashley are all Menlo-Atherton High School grads, and they all grew up here. Jim was first a photographer, shooting architectural interiors for his mother, much-respected local interior designer Mary Peck. “I started […]

Click to read more →

City Attorney Bill McClure is Menlo Park through and through, thanks to living most of his life here

You can’t be much more “Menlo Park” than city attorney Bill McClure. He grew up on San Mateo Drive, attending Oak Knoll (when it was a K-8) and then Menlo-Atherton High School. And he’s spent his entire career at Menlo Park’s law firm, Jorgenson, Siegel, McClure & Flegel. “I’m the fifth city attorney in the history of […]

Click to read more →

Author Kirby Wilkins turns to non-fiction in book Life with Jake

For much of his life, author Kirby Wilkins has lived on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park in the home his mother first moved into in 1947. He’s seen happiness there as well as what he describes as “trauma,” particularly after the birth of his son Jake in 1992 when he was 55 years old. At […]

Click to read more →