Juneteenth is the oldest known US celebration that marks the end of slavery and with new legislation, it will now be taught in Oklahoma schools.
The Juneteenth holiday celebration began when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, spreading the news that slavery had ended.
Starting this fall, this historic event will be a part of Social Studies curriculum for Oklahoma students.
“House Bill 3221, which I co-authored, allows us to teach the Juneteenth national holiday and why it happened,” said Senator Kevin Matthews.
This year also marks the first time students were taught about the 1921 Massacre, as well as Black Wall Street in the classrooms.
“Instead of just knowing about gang violence and those types of things, we need to know about the prideful and positive things that have added to our economy,” Matthews said.
Senator Matthews also partners with the group “100 Black Men of Tulsa.” They’ve created an entrepreneurial program which gets kids working with African American business owners in Tulsa.
“Now the conversation goes from being free to now being able to provide and that part of being able to provide speaks to economic employment and economic equality,” David Harris, “100 Black Men of Tulsa” Vice-President, said.
Rasheedah Blackwood took part in the Entrepreneur Shadow Program last year. She’s glad Juneteenth will be taught in schools, making sure it’s not forgotten.
“It’s good that they brought it up in the conversation today because a lot of us will be working with a lot of black entrepreneurs and it’s better for us to know the history behind that,” Blackwood said.
Senator Matthews said whether good or bad, it’s important for students to learn the truth about American history.