Tulsa, Okla.– Tulsa Juneteenth Inc, the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce, and the Black Wall Street Legacy Festival (Legacy Fest) will continue the series of events to commemorate the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in hosting the 2021 Tulsa Juneteenth Festival between June 16th and June 20th in Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States that took place on June 19th, 1865, after Union soldiers delivered word of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, TX, one of the last states still in rebellion. Yet, even this history, lesser known among other commemorations that have been made into national holidays, often fails to include the fact that Black Freedmen of Indian Territory didn’t taste freedom on their lips until a year later.
Unlike the vast majority of Indigenous tribes in North America, the Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Seminole Tribes, known as the 5 Civilized Tribes due to accepting European standards, enslaved Africans in Indian Territory before it became Oklahoma. Factions within The Five Tribes participated on both sides of the Civil War, when Southern states led an armed rebellion against the U.S. government. Consequently, the Treaty of 1866, as a condition of surrender, required the Tribes to adopt their formerly enslaved members with full citizenship rights and land allotments.
Juneteenth in Tulsa
Tulsa Juneteenth continues its annual festival in honor of this holiday with this year’s festival serving as an invitation to enjoy freedom as African Americans. As Tulsa comes together in communal respite rooted in celebrating the rich cultural heritage and healing traditions that have shaped the joy of African Americans for centuries, Tulsa Juneteenth knows this time will unite the community and fuel hope for the future.
This year, Juneteenth falls during the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst occurrences of racial violence in American history. The 2021 Tulsa Juneteenth Festival will serve as an important space in the community to honor and defend humanity and make space to be present and relish in the fullest expressions of freedom.
The Juneteenth Festival is a free public event featuring live entertainment, an art exhibition, and a local market with over 40 plus businesses, more than 10 food trucks, and a Kids Zone.
Five days of festivities
On Wednesday, June 16, the celebration will commence at Circle Cinema with a screening of Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s upcoming documentary, “Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised.”
On Thursday, June 17 on the Historical Greenwood Ave, the annual Tulsa Juneteenth Block Party will feature local performers and support local businesses. A family movie screening of Red Tails will be shown at Movie in the Park on the festival lawn located on Greenwood Ave.
On Friday, June 18, the Festival will showcase more than 40 innovative Black vendors, undeniable food and the “In Bloom” Art Exhibit featuring Oklahoma native painters and photographers, artists talks and creative workshops. This year’s festival will present the Tulsa All Star Band, Charlie Redd, Omaley B, and The Wise Men to kick off Friday night with an infusion of soul-funk and R&B performances at 6:00 p.m. on Greenwood Ave.
Cameo will be the headliner
On Saturday, June 19, the 2021 Tulsa Juneteenth Festival will continue at 9:00 a.m. for the first Wellness Event, In Our Being, a time of healing through journaling, meditation and movement. As the day continues, Tulsa Juneteenth is excited to have Black Health Counts on site to offer free COVID-antibody testing and health screenings from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. as well as pertinent health education for the community. The headliner for Saturday night is CAMEO, an American Soul Funk group known for its 70’s hits “Candy” and “Word Up”.
On Sunday, June 20th, the Tulsa Juneteenth Festival welcomes Pastor Michael Todd and Transformation Church to close out the events with Church in the Park on Greenwood Ave beginning at 11am.
For additional information visit the Tulsa Juneteenth Festival website at www.tulsajuneteenth.org or contact Sherry Gamble Smith, Event Chair, at 918-764-8833.