The Eastside Capitol Gateway Main Street Association will host the seventh annual Juneteenth celebration Friday and Saturday at the south end of the state Capitol complex. The event will feature:
" a barbecue cook-off,
" live music, and
" food and games.
Juneteenth is the celebration of the June 19 emancipation of the slaves in 1865, at the end of the Civil War. The holiday began in Galveston, Texas, when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed at Galveston with news of the Emancipation Proclamation. Although President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863, news did not reach Texas until Granger arrived on June 19, 1865.
Madien Hurst, the administrative assistant at ECGMS, said the organization has hosted the event in Oklahoma City every year since 1999.
"The holiday is well-known all over the country," Hurst said, "but Eastside Capitol Gateway Main Street wanted to do something in Oklahoma to recognize this national celebration."
The Oklahoma chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is an event sponsor, and Roosevelt Milton, its president for 20 years, said health issues are a focus at this year's celebration.
"In addition to the barbecue cook-off, we will have the NAACP health walk on Saturday morning," Milton said. "There are inequities in health care in this country, and those inequities afflict minority communities more so than others. For African-Americans, we see this typically in areas like diabetes. We want to address those inequities, but we also want people to do what they can for themselves by exercising and being aware of health risks."
For more information, call 528-2342. "Greg Horton