2 Juneteenth Celebrations Set For OKC This Weekend


Friday, June 18th 2021, 5:23 pm
By: Mike Glover


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Federal employees were off work Friday to observe Juneteenth, a day after President Joe Biden officially made it a federal holiday.

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, but how much do you know about the history of Juneteenth?

The Emancipation Proclamation took effect Jan. 1, 1863. However, it wasn't until Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, that slaves in Southern Confederate states were set free.

"So, this became a celebration for enslaved African-Americans who were free. They're breathing the first relief of freedom that came, and they created the first Juneteenth celebration in 1866," Oklahoma City Public Schools chief of equity and student support Dr. Marsha Herron said.

This year's celebrations will hold extra special meaning given that Juneteenth is now a federal holiday. Oklahoma City will hold two Juneteenth celebrations, including the 27th annual Juneteenth Music and Arts Festival at Washington Park. That starts at 10 a.m. Saturday.

"It's all about community. It's bringing the community together in celebration," said Terry Monday with Perry Publishing and Broadcasting.

Organizer Jabee Williams will have a full day of activities for the family at the first-ever Juneteenth On The East.

"The kids' area is from 3 to 6 p.m., and everything else is from 3 to 9 -- so, yes, there will be a lot going on," Williams said.