Hundreds of people are gathering in Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District to celebrate Juneteenth on Friday, CBS Tulsa affiliate KOTV reports. Events started at 11 a.m. and will continue until 10 p.m., with Reverend Al Sharpton scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT.
The event is on the eve of President Trump’s scheduled rally in Tulsa, his first since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Trump’s rally had initially been scheduled for Friday, but was later pushed to Saturday. Mr. Trump tweeted the date was changed “out of respect for this Holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents.”
How to watch Tulsa’s Juneteenth rally today
What: Tulsa Juneteenth rally
Date: Friday, June 19
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Juneteenth commemorates the day the Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, the last outpost in the U.S. where people were enslaved, and freed the people kept as slaves. Texas had kept approximately 250,000 black people enslaved for two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation became law in 1863.
Since 1866, parades and barbecues have been a staple of black communities from Houston and San Antonio to Chicago and Little Rock.
In Tulsa, there are food trucks, demonstrations, and a kids’ zone with inflatables and other activities. There will be a stage with live performances and speakers. Sharpton is scheduled to speak from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET.
There are also dozens of hand washing stations, hand sanitizer dispensers and signs reminding people to wear masks and stay at least 6 feet apart. Volunteers also handed out masks.
A group painted “Black Lives Matter” on Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa, KOTV reports.
Tulsa is also marking the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, when white Tulsans attacked the Greenwood District, then a thriving black neighborhood known as “Black Wall Street.” More than 300 people were killed and the neighborhood was burned to the ground. It is one of the worst race massacres in American history.