Juneteenth, the annual celebration of when word reached Texas that slavery had been abolished, is a month away, and the Black Cultural Council of Odessa has a long list of events that week to celebrate the day.
The week will feature several basketball tournaments and a volleyball tournament, as well as a parade, a cookout and many other events from June 14 through June 16, and on the day of Juneteenth itself, June 19.
“Juneteenth commemorates remembering our history and highlights our heritage, and for young people and the way society is today, it’s very, very important that our young people be aware of Juneteenth and what it’s about,” BCCO President Jo Ann Davenport Littleton said.
Juneteenth is celebrated across Texas and the U.S., but Littleton said Juneteenth in Odessa was the largest celebration of its kind in the state.
“Many schools, many history classes, Juneteenth is not even discussed, so it’s up to the community to keep olur heritage, keep our history alive,” Littleton said. “And each year, that’s what we try to do. Our history is very important and our organization goes to great lengths to try to preserve our history.”
The Black Cultural Council of Odessa (BCCO) has scheduled the 2019 Juneteenth Celebration June 14-16 and June 19 at Woodson Park, 1020 E. Murphy St.
The annual “Celebration of Freedom” honors the day when Texas slaves finally learned of their emancipation.
The following events have been scheduled at Woodson Park (unless otherwise stated).
- June 14: 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., “Blues” by DJ Blue Boy and DJ Demetrius at the Main Stage; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., 38th annual Danny R. Wright Basketball Tournament and the Boys & Girls High School and Youth Divisions Basketball Tournament at the Odessa College Sports Center, 201 W. University Blvd.; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Annual Regina McKnight Juneteenth Volleyball Tournament at the Ector Fieldhouse; 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Annual Juneteenth Pageant at Blackshear Elementary Auditorium, 501 S. Dixie Blvd.; 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., Annual Welcome Program at the Main Stage; 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., DC Trio + Band on the Main Stage; Youth Dance (south end of park).
- June 15: 9 a.m. to noon, Youth in the Park (games) at the North Pavilion; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., 39th annual Danny R. Wright Basketball Tournament and the Boys & Girls High School and Youth Divisions Basketball Tournament at the Odessa College Sports Center; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Annual Regina McKnight Juneteenth Volleyball Tournament at the Ector Fieldhouse; noon to 1:30 p.m., Annual Juneteenth Cookout (bring lawn chairs); 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., parade line up (no entry fee) at the intersection of Odessa Street and South Dixie Boulevard; 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., 2019 Juneteenth Parade (Route: North on Dixie Boulevard to Murphy Street, turn right on Murphy Street and go east to Barrett Dive and disband.); 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., parade winners announced at the Main Stage; 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., Clean Comedy on the Main Stage; 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Paul Cannon Band on the Main Stage; Youth Dance (south end of park).
- June 16: 1 p.m., Age 35 & Older Legends Basketball Tournament at the Woodson Boys & Girls Club, 1037 E. Murphy St.; 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Gospel Celebration at Woodson Community Center; 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Line Dance Workshop on the Main Stage; 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Keep It Real 100% Forum at Woodson Community Center; 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Terry Tucker Line Dance Performance on the Main Stage; 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas on the Main Stage; Youth Dance (south end of park).
- June 19: 9 a.m. to noon, Youth in the Park (games) at the North Pavilion; noon to 1:30 p.m., Annual Juneteenth Picnic (bring lawn chairs); 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Shout Cheerleading at the Main Stage; 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., music.
There will be food vendors available at the park throughout the weekend.
T-shirts will be sold from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 2 and June 9 in Woodson Park.