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Juneteenth Festivities Kick Off In Tulsa

Courtesy Tulsa Juneteenth Festival
A block party on North Greenwood Avenue kicked off the Tulsa Juneteenth Festival Thursday evening.

Juneteenth programming is underway in Tulsa and will run through the weekend.

A Thursday night block party on North Greenwood Avenue kicked off the Tulsa Juneteenth Festival.

"We want everyone in the city of Tulsa to really see what Juneteenth is all about," said Carmel Blumenberg, a festival organizer. "Let's celebrate together. Let's commemorate together. Let's remember together, and just have a good time."

Blumenberg said this year's celebration was special both because of the recent centennial anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and President Joe Biden's signing of legislation on Thursday to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was adopted in 1983.

"This is an independence day for the Black community, and so it is something that should be celebrated. I absolutely think that it is great that it's now being officially recognized as a federal holiday," Blumenberg said.

The Juneteenth Festival's main event on Saturday will run all day on the OSU lawn at 700 N. Greenwood Ave. beginning 9:00 a.m., featuring vendors, music, food trucks, art exhibitions and a headline performance by the group Cameo. Admission is free for all ages.

Other local Juneteenth programming includes a party near the corner of Greenwood and Archer beginning at 10:00 p.m. Saturday organized by the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, featuring a performance by the singer Mario.

Juneteenth celebrates June 19, 1865, when enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, were informed of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, over two years after the fact. 

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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