Well, I'm back from a terrific conference on trusts and estates that Carla Spivack hosted at Oklahoma City University. Because of work and family duties I've not been going to conferences much of late, but I'm really happy that I had the chance to go back to Oklahoma City. The city itself is doing great; what for the rest of the country is the energy crisis has been very good to the state. It just feels like there's an enormous amount of money there and that's generating a lot of benefits for the entire city. The state is also incredibly beautiful and of course for someone interested in race and law, it's a place with a lot to talk about. I was even able to squeeze in a little research at the Oklahoma State Archives. About that I'll talk a little more down the road.
Right now I want to talk about a conversation I had with my friend Phyllis Bernard, who is a student of Ralph Ellison. We had a reception at the Colcord hotel, which was one of the grand hotels in the city in the early twentieth century. It's a magnificent building. Phyllis said she thought this might be the scene of the battle royale in chapter one of Invisible Man. And I said, well, I wondered about that. because one of the characters in chapter one is a Mr. Colcord. No word on where the grand ballroom was back in the 1930s in the Colcord. But maybe on another trip back there I'll learn a little more about that.
There's a lot of speculation in Oklahoma about where various scenes might have taken place. I guess the Skirvin Hotel is another of the common guesses for the battle royale scene. Ellison worked at the Skirvin as a teenager, as I recall.