Remembered as a dynamic, pulpit-pounding preacher who challenged churchgoers to serve their community, Oscar Chappelle got at least some of his passion from his father.
P.A. Chappelle, a Virginia attorney, had moved his family to the Tulsa area in 1914, where he would practice with civil rights attorney B.C. Franklin, defending the rights of the city’s African American community.
Oscar Chappelle began preaching at 16 and would take over as pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church in 1942.
He was a leader in the community — becoming one of the founding trustees of Tulsa Junior College and president of the Moton Hospital Board — as well as his denomination, serving as president of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, one of the largest African American religious organizations in the country.
The Oklahoma Baptist State Convention’s school of religion was renamed in his honor.
At the time of his death in 1990, Chappelle had been pastor at Morning Star for nearly 50 years.