Celebrating Juneteenth and 25 years of the Black Cultural Council of Odessa

Celebrating Juneteenth and 25 years of the Black Cultural Council of Odessa

ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) – The Black Cultural Council of Odessa (BCCO) has launched five days of Juneteenth activities at Woodson Park in celebration of this federal holiday.

In its 25th year, the theme of this Juneteenth celebration is “Honoring the Past and Shaping the Future.” Understanding the past is essential to honoring it, and Juneteenth plays a crucial role in this historical awareness.

Jo Ann Davenport Littleton, President of the Black Cultural Council of Odessa, emphasized the broader significance of Juneteenth beyond its common associations.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the U.S. It marks June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for slaves in Galveston, Texas, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Gavin Norris, Managing Attorney at Gavin Norris Law Office, highlighted the historical importance of Juneteenth.

“It’s Texas history. It’s American history. Juneteenth celebrates uplifting the reprieve of the original sin of America which is slavery. Texas was, if not the last, one of the last places in the country that had slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation.”

Juneteenth has been celebrated annually since the late 1800s with parades, festivals, educational activities, and family gatherings, emphasizing African American culture and heritage. However, Juneteenth is a celebration for everyone, not just the Black community.

Xakhiyah Thomas, reigning 2023 Miss Juneteenth, shared her perspective: “Juneteenth is a celebration for all. Old, young, everybody. I feel like educating yourself on the topic of Juneteenth will help people kind of debunk the stigma that it’s only for Black people. I go to a black college, not just all Black people go to my black college. I feel if more people did come out and just kind of get used to the environment, they’d actually enjoy Juneteenth. Juneteenth is a celebration not for blacks, but for all.”

Jo Ann Davenport Littleton extended an open invitation to the community: “To the people that are watching this: shame on you. You need to be here, you need to be a part of this movement because guess what? This morning at 12 noon the train left the track. So, you better get on the caboose or something, but come on because we’re moving forward.”

From pageants and performers to parties and parades, the week is filled with a variety of activities for everyone in the community to enjoy. For a full list of Juneteenth activities, click here.

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