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Press Release

June 5, 2018

Contact: Larry O’Dell
Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-6676

Oklahoma Historical Society to Host Juneteenth Event Featuring ARISE

OKLAHOMA CITY — Join the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) on Saturday, June 30, at 2 p.m. to celebrate Juneteenth with a performance by the African-Americans Renewing Interest in Spirituals Ensemble (ARISE) at the Oklahoma History Center. The choir will share the stories and songs of African American spirituals to portray America’s historical struggles, tragedies and triumphs. The performance is free to the public, but the OHS would like to encourage donations to the Shirley Ballard Nero Endowment.  

Under the direction of Shawn Chastain, executive coordinator of fine arts for Wichita Public Schools, the ARISE family consists of a cross-section of men and women, professionals and laymen of different ages, ethnicities and religious faiths. The organization’s mantra is “unity through harmony.” For more information on ARISE, which was founded in 1988, please visit www.ariseensemble.com. The songs and stories that they share chronicle the struggles, conflicts, secret communications and victories of a people who refused to be extinguished.

Juneteenth is the Texas and Oklahoma regional celebration of the emancipation from slavery. US General Gordon Granger proclaimed the end of slavery in Texas at Galveston on June 19, 1865. This news and celebration spread to Indian Territory slaves that summer.

The Shirley Ballard Nero Endowment focuses on funding projects related to Oklahoma’s African American experience, especially related to the All-Black towns in the state. You can donate at the Oklahoma History Center or by contacting Angela Spindle at 405-522-0317 or aspindle@okhistory.org

The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.  


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