ACLU of Oklahoma Names Former Oklahoma Educator 2012 Angie Debo Civil Liberties Recipient

ACLU of Oklahoma Names Former Oklahoma Educator 2012 Angie Debo Civil Liberties Recipient

January 9, 2013

–The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has announced former Oklahoma school teacher Joe Quigley will receive the Angie Debo Civil Liberties Award at a reception to be held in the Blue Room at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City on January 19th.

“Joe Quigley is a pioneer in his work to defend the rights of LGBT students. His commitment to ensure that all students are afforded equality and dignity is not only commendable, but sets an example for each of us to follow,” said Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma.

During his time as a teacher in Oklahoma City Public Schools, Quigley petitioned the School Board, advocating changes to its anti-bullying policy and seeking to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students.

James Nimmo, ACLU of Oklahoma Board Member, stated, “Mr. Quigley’s advocacy is now a standard in Oklahoma and a model nationwide for those also wanting to remove the stigma of being gay, lesbian, transgendered or bi-sexual from student life in public education.”

During his years of advocacy on behalf of LGBT students, Quigley faced multiple reprimands, personal threats and intimidation, and public ridicule.  Quigley’s advocacy received widespread media attention and was publicized throughout the community and the nation.

“The work towards true equality is far from over, but thanks to Joe Quigley, we are much closer to our goal. It is an honor and a privilege to recognize him with the highest award presented by the ACLU of Oklahoma,” said Kiesel.

The award is named in honor of the writer, historian, and civil rights advocate Angie Debo. The award, which has been presented by the ACLU of Oklahoma since 1977 for outstanding achievement in the fight for civil rights and civil liberties, bears Debo’s name as a tribute to her relentless pursuit of justice and her work with the ACLU of Oklahoma during the late 1960’s and the 1970’s.

In Professor Gloria Valencia-Webber’s eulogy of Debo, she recalled that Debo was “particularly involved First Amendment discussions relating to Vietnam War era protests and whether people opposed to that war should be allowed to say what they believed. On numerous occasions, she represented the ACLU in universities or other settings to defend the right to First Amendment protection for all regardless of their message.”

Born in the late 1800’s, Debo called Marshall, OK, home most of her life.  She was a graduate of Oklahoma State University in 1918 and received her Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago in 1924. Debo’s work is considered among the most important voices in the study and analysis of American and Native American history. Former Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry referred to her as “our state’s greatest historian.”

She authored several well known and influential books including “And Still the Waters Run” (1940); “The Road to Disappearance: A History of the Creek Indians” (1941); “Oklahoma: Foot-loose and Fancy-Free” (1949); and “Geronimo” (1976). In 1985 she became the first woman to have her portrait hung in the rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

A reception honoring Quigley will be held in the Blue Room at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City on January 19, 2013, at 1:00 PM.  The event is free and open to the public.  Seating is limited.  Please RSVP to Allie Shinn at or call 405.524.8511.