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Dolphin Wharton Park

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“Gladys and Dolphin actively sought ways to help others throughout their lives and leave a legacy of concern and service to all of us who remain.”

Dolphin Alonzo “D. A.” Wharton was born in Red Bird, Indian Territory, one of Oklahoma’s famous all-black towns in 1908. D. A. was a teacher for African American workers in Civilian Conservation Corps camps and then Oklahoma City’s Douglass High School. Later he worked in Chicago for nearly 20 years as a business executive before returning to Oklahoma City to retire in 1975. Together D. A. and Gladys were active in improving their local community through civic organizations, taking a special interest in the Wildewood neighborhoods.

Dolphin Wharton saw this park as a critical community resource in preventing juvenile delinquency in the neighborhood and worked tirelessly to provide a clean and safe place for youth and families to play. When vandals damaged the playground equipment in 1987, he led a group of citizens to ask the city council to act quickly to replace it and the council was so impressed they appointed him to the Parks Commission. He served two terms on the commission until his death in 1994.