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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Juneteenth

What is Juneteenth, and where is it celebrated?
Posted at 9:23 AM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 10:27:40-04

Communities throughout the United States. will celebrate Juneteenth this weekend. While many have been celebrating the holiday for the past 156 years, some may not be familiar with the significance of the day.

What is Juneteenth?

From a combination of June and nineteenth into one word, Juneteenth is an annual holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.

June 19, 1865, marks the day that Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over and that all remaining enslaved people in the State of Texas were free.

The year 1865 is significant in the celebration of the holiday. Pres. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. Despite it stating "all persons held as slaves... are, and henceforward, shall be free," it still took two years for all remaining enslaved people in the U.S. to be free.

Many celebrated the holiday for years, and communities across Texas began celebrating Juneteenth in 1966. There were parades, musical performances, cookouts, prayer gatherings, and so much more.

The celebrations have spread throughout the U.S. since then. As calls for racial justice and police reform began at the height of a global pandemic during 2020, there's now a growing call for recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

What is Tulsa doing for Juneteenth this year?

Tulsa Juneteenth Inc. and the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce are joining together to host the 2021 Tulsa Juneteenth Festival on Historical Greenwood Ave from June 16 to June 20.

The 2021 Tulsa Juneteenth Festival is a free public event where Tulsans can come together as a community to celebrate the oldest known celebration to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S.

This year's festival is coming after Tulsa held a Centennial commemoration of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Tulsa Juneteenth is offering the community to honor the legacy of Black Wall Street throughout the weekend.

The Tulsa Juneteenth Festival has prepared a 5-day festival of live entertainment, Art Exhibition, a local market with over 40 plus businesses, 10 plus food trucks, Kids Zone, and togetherness for people of all ages.

Here's a list of the events happening at the festival:

  • Wednesday, June 16th - Circle Cinema will put on a screening of Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s upcoming documentary, 'Summer of Soul (... Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).'
  • Thursday, June 17th - Historical Greenwood Ave will host a block party featuring local performers. People can support local businesses in the area. Movie in the Park will screen "Red Tails" later that evening.
  • Friday, June 18th - "In Bloom," an art exhibit featuring Oklahoma native painters and photographers will take place. 40 plus Black vendors, Artists Talks, creative workshops, and more will happen. The night will kick off with live music performances on Greenwood Ave.
  • Saturday, June 19 - the holiday will start with In Our Being, a time of healing through movement, meditation, and journaling for anyone who wishes to join. The day will feature health education through health screenings and other activities for the community. Kids can enjoy games, face painting, trivia, and more during this time. The headliner for Saturday night is Cameo, an American soul-funk group known for its 70’s hits Candy and Word Up.
  • Sunday, June 20 - The Tulsa Juneteenth Festival welcomes Pastor Michael Todd and Transformation Church to close out with Church in the Park on Greenwood Ave beginning at 11 a.m.

CLICK here to see all the road closures happening during the events.

For more information about the events, visit the Tulsa Juneteenth Festival's website.


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