Local Juneteenth celebrations commemorate history, draw thousands to celebrate unity and future

TULSA -- The sweet sounds of jazz fill downtown Tulsa's Guthrie Green.

Thousands of Tulsans are celebrating Juneteenth in downtown Tulsa.

"We're just coming together, it's about the human race," said Fred Jones, an organizer for Juneteenth at Guthrie Green.

The holiday commemorates the emancipation proclamation which freed slaves, but the location of one celebration is stirring up emotions.

But underneath this music, there's a lot of background noise, and it all centers around the street this Juneteenth celebration sits on -- Brady Street, named after Tate Brady, an alleged Klu Klux Klan member.

"There's always going to be people who don't understand and don't move forward. Those people are entitled to that."

Jones says it's time to move past the past and unite as one Tulsa.

"We're moving forward and trying to find solutions. The powers that be are going to have to be are going to deal with the individuals upset, and I understand if my grandparents suffered the things in the past- some of that sticks for generations.

"Let's celebrate the day," Jones said. "After the day, we can do whatever needs to be done on the rest of it. Let's enjoy ourselves and what the spirit of the occasion is all about."

Just a few blocks south, a nine-day Juneteenth celebration is being held at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and the Greenwood Cultural Center.

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