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Southwest Oklahoma celebrates Juneteenth

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 11:04 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - People across the country celebrated Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of African-Americans, on Saturday.

Lawton hosted a city wide event at the Patterson Community Center, while Duncan hosted their celebration in Douglass Park.

Jubilee Day, Emancipation, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day -- all synonyms for Juneteenth.

It’s the day African-Americans in Texas finally learned of their freedom on June 19th, 1865.

“Juneteenth is a celebrated day,” said Larry Culberson. “It means freedom, not just for black people, but for all races.”

“Juneteenth means to me an opportunity to the citizens of this city, southwest Oklahoma and all of Oklahoma to come together,” said Bishop John Dunaway.

Culberson has been running a Juneteenth celebration in Duncan since 2014.

“I want this to get bigger and bigger and grow,” Culberson said. “I want to be able to have more church groups, more singers. It’s not just for the rappers who do hard rap. We want to do gospel, we want to do Spanish. I don’t care what nationality you are, we want you here to have fun. I want to see a smile on your face. All in the name of freedom.”

Bishop Dunaway said there’s a key theme that brings Lawton’s Juneteenth event together.

“The goal of this event is to promote fellowship, comradery to give our citizens a chance to come together,” Dunaway said. “Also a chance to educate our city and those who are visiting us from elsewhere about Juneteenth, about our history as a people and as a nation,” said Dunaway.

Both celebrations were crowded and each person in attendance learned something new.

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