Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

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Juneteenth on Greenwood, a celebration of Oklahoma's African-American music traditions, began in 1989 under the direction of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Every June that organization in conjunction with the North Tulsa Heritage Foundation hosts the free event, featuring local, regional, and nationally renown entertainers. Greenwood Avenue, near the Greenwood Cultural Center, in the historic district of Tulsa once known as "Black Wall Street," serves as the central location for the outside annual celebration. This Juneteenth celebration commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the emancipation of Texas slaves, a celebration date that spread throughout the region.

Joint legislation introduced by state Senators Maxine Horner and Penny Williams in 1988 created the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, which strives to "educate the public about significant contributions of Oklahoma jazz musicians," and "provide a system for the state of Oklahoma to preserve, protect, and illuminate the true art form of jazz, blues, and gospel music." The Jazz Hall of Fame is housed at the Greenwood Cultural Center.

As a part of the celebration, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame recognizes Oklahomans whose roots are in jazz, blues, and gospel music. Many of the artists participate in the music festival. At the beginning of the twenty-first century Juneteenth attracted as many as eighty thousand people for three days of jazz and blues concerts supplemented with "soul food" venues. The jazz festival continued to evolve and draw nationally notable musicians every year. Juneteenth on Greenwood, while a significant event, has been one of several programs staged throughout the year by the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 10 June 1990. Hannibal B. Johnson, Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District (Austin, Tex.: Eakin Press, 1998). "Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 12th Annual Juneteenth on Greenwood [Brochure]," Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, Tulsa. Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 26 May 1989.

LaRadius Allen

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