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Vernon AME pastor reflects on 4 years in Tulsa before move to Baltimore

FILE - Vernon AME pastor{ }Reverend Dr. Robert Turner is scene marching to city hall calling for reparations. Taken by a NewsChannel 8 photographer.
FILE - Vernon AME pastor Reverend Dr. Robert Turner is scene marching to city hall calling for reparations. Taken by a NewsChannel 8 photographer.
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Every week for the last several years, Reverend Dr. Robert Turner has marched to city hall, calling for reparations that he says are a century overdue.

"That's winter advisories, that's tornadoes, snowstorms, thunderstorms. I've been rained on so many times. The reason why is because the issue of 1921 has not been resolved," said Turner.

Turner loves history, so leading the last church left standing on Greenwood Avenue after the race massacre has carried a lot of weight.

"This is the grandmother of Greenwood. This is the space that represents that remnant of a once glorious past on Greenwood avenue. It's a huge responsibility," he said.

Turner says he spent his first year in Tulsa sitting back, watching, and learning. His next three years were spent in Black Lives Matter marches, calling for reparations, and continuing the push for massacre graves to be uncovered.

"We need to complete that work. It's too important. We need to make sure we find all the bodies and give them a proper burial," said Turner.

While Turner has pushed for social goals, he's also worked to restore Vernon AME for the next generation.

"We have even more grants that I've written that are in the works to come about and I feel very positive about that. Even though I'm gone, it's good to know the work God blessed me to begin still goes on," he said.

Turner preached his last service as the church's pastor this past Sunday. Now he's preparing to preach at his new church, Empowerment Temple AME in Baltimore.

"This Sunday will be my first sermon at this new church."

It's been a whirlwind. We asked him if he had HIS advice for the next leader of Vernon.

"Everybody now knows Vernon and knows our story," said Turner. "Just come and love the people and serve the people, and serve God first and foremost. Everything else will work itself out."


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