7 ways OKC families can celebrate Juneteenth - MetroFamily Magazine
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7 ways OKC families can celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth on the East

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is a celebratory tradition dating back more than 150 years commemorating General Gordon Granger’s reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, proclaiming all slaves were to be free in the state of Texas. After almost two and half years since the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed slaves, June 19, 1865 is often recognized as the end of slavery in the United States.

Organizations in the Oklahoma City metro area welcome families to engage in important conversations about race, racial injustice and equality while having fun together. Here are a few Juneteenth events happening in OKC and beyond.

June 1-18

FREE Juneteenth Windsock Craft Station at Almonte Library (2914 SW 59th St) features a commemorative windsock craft activity to celebrate Juneteenth and the efforts still remaining to close societal gaps. Open during regular library hours.

June 15

FREE Juneteenth Celebration at the Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr) features a book signing, live performances, discussions, a fashion show that focuses on African culture and presentations by students.  5-8 p.m.

June 15-17

Tulsa Juneteenth Festival in the Historic Greenwood District (Greenwood Ave, Tulsa) features a festival that commemorates African American freedom, emphasizes education, celebrates the rich heritage of Greenwood, encourages healthy and active lifestyles, and advocates community impact. See website for schedule of events.

June 16-17

FREE Juneteenth on the East in Oklahoma City (N 23rd St Between N Kelham & N Hood)  features live music, a 5k race, interactive murals, dance performances, spoken word, food trucks and local small businesses. See website for schedule of events.

June 17

Guthrie Juneteenth Celebration at Mineral Wells Park (819 N Division St, Guthrie) features food trucks, live music, games, shopping and more. 4-10 p.m.

FREE Juneteenth Music and Arts Festival at Washington Park (NE 4th St) features performances by Vokal Gold, B Les, Jon B, DJ Quik and more. 6:30 p.m.

June 19

FREE Norman Juneteenth Festival at Reaves Park (2501 Jenkins Ave, Norman) features live music, guest speakers, food trucks, games, a domino tournament, fireworks and more. 6-10 p.m.


If you’re looking for more ways to remember Juneteenth, check out these picture books that the whole family can enjoy.

What is Juneteenth? By Kirsti Jewel; illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez: Discover more about Juneteenth, the important holiday that celebrates the end of chattel slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved men, women, and children in Texas gathered around a Union solder and listened as he read the most remarkable words they would ever hear. They were no longer enslaved: they were free. The inhumane practice of forced labor with no pay was now illegal in all of the United States. This news was cause for celebration, so the group of people jumped in excitement, danced, and wept tears of joy. They did not know it at the time, but their joyous celebration of freedom would become a holiday–Juneteenth–that is observed each year by more and more Americans. Author Kirsti Jewel shares stories from Juneteenth celebrations and chronicles the history that led to the creation of this joyous day. With 80 black-and-white illustrations and an engaging 16-page photo insert, readers will be excited to read this book.

Justice Rising by Katheryn Russell-Brown; illustrated by Kim Holt: A celebration of twelve Black women who were pivotal to the civil rights movement and the fight for justice and equal rights in America. You’ve heard the names Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, but what about the many other women who were crucial to the civil rights movement? Told through twelve short biographies, this book celebrates just some of the many Black women–each of whom has been largely underrepresented until now–who were instrumental to the nation’s fight for civil rights and the contributions they made in driving the Movement forward. An empowering, eye-opening look at how one person can impact greater change, this book is both a conversation starter and much-needed history lesson for our modern world.

If you are looking for even more family-friendly events, check out our searchable calendar

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