TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – Thousands took to the streets in the Greenwood district in Tulsa for a Juneteenth celebration that included the Rev. Al Sharpton as a keynote speaker.
Juneteenth is the day that commemorates when the word of the emancipation proclamation being signed reached the state of Texas. However, it wasn’t until two years after it was signed that the word got there, freeing slaves.
“Juneteenth is a celebration and a reminder, a commemoration,” Sharpton said.
Chants of ‘No justice, No peace’ filled the air of the Greenwood District during his speech in the district once known as Black Wall Street and the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. As many as 300 African Americans were murdered in the Black Wall Street area. It was about 35 city blocks with homes, businesses, and churches that were torched by a mob of thousands of white people.
“So, the proper place for me to be is to remind us how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go,” Sharpton said.
The streets and sidewalks were packed full.
“We all need to be a part of this,” said Zachary Galindo, an attendee of the celebration.
“I almost started crying just looking at it,” said Ayanna Wilson in reference to the district. “Just being able to experience it is amazing.”
The storied history, no longer taking a backseat. A lot of families, like Ayanna Wilson and a Anetta Goe saying they brought their kids and grandkids to teach them as new history is made.
“This is history in the making,” Goe said. “This is something that we’re all going to be able to overcome one day and everyone should come together.”
“Where we came from, what we had to do to get where we’re at,” Wilson said. “She need to know it.”
Reverend Sharpton said he had been receiving death threats since his arrival. He took to the main stage for his speech later in the evening in front of a crowd of thousands.
“We are the people that never give up,” Sharpton said.
On stage, he discussed the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery among others. He said he doesn’t want to give up on his message of hope, just as those enslaved didn’t years ago.
“Because they hoped if they held on that we would have a better day, and we come to make sure we do have that day,” Sharpton said.
Along the streets there were hand sanitizing stations, and people were handing out masks with reminders to social distance.