But the 75-year-old Rollerson also remembers Juneteenth as the one day of the year black Tulsans were allowed to visit Lakeview Amusement Park, which was located near the current Mohawk Park in North Tulsa.
Greenwood’s leaders didn’t agree–at the time, the neighborhood’s chamber of commerce was planning to sue the city over unequal park services for black and white residents.
Juneteenth has always been a time for both celebration and community organizing in Tulsa, in part because the city has always kept the meaning of the occasion top of mind.
Though the events were originally cancelled due to COVID-19, President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would be visiting Tulsa during Juneteenth weekend prompted North Tulsa leaders to quickly stage some counterprogramming.
“This year we’re coming united,” says Sherry Gamble Smith, president and co-chair of Tulsa Juneteenth Inc, which has organized the holiday celebrations in recent years.