June 16, 2021
Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom in Clearview

On Saturday, June 19, a special Juneteenth celebration will be held at the Community Center in the town of Clearview, 75 miles east of Oklahoma City. Clearview is one of more than 50 All-Black towns established in Oklahoma, 13 of which are still in existence today. Bruce Fisher, director of multicultural projects for the Oklahoma Historical Society, will be a guest speaker. The event will also feature remarks from former US Representative J. C. Watts Jr. and Oklahoma State Senator Roger Thompson. Watts is now the cofounder and chairman of the minority-owned and operated Black News Channel. From 11 a.m. to noon, a dedication ceremony will be held to unveil the Clearview Historical Mural, which is located on the Oklahoma African American Educators (OAAE) Hall of Fame building. The mural depicts the town founders; the activity of the Fort Smith and Western Railroad; and significant buildings of the town of Clearview, founded in 1903. From noon to 4 p.m. lunch will be served in the Clearview Community Center (the old gymnasium), catered by Bronko’s Pit Q & Grill, and featuring live music by Selby Minner and band. All proceeds raised will go to improve the old school gymnasium.
Shirley Ann Nero, the event's organizer, formerly served on the OHS Board of Directors and now leads the Friends of the OHS Multicultural Office (OHSMCO). The office furthers multi-cultural study and preservation in Oklahoma. OHSMCO fosters and promotes multicultural education and cultural interests, programs, and exhibits in the state of Oklahoma and wherever they may impact the public. The Multicultural Office is operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society in order to support, promote, develop, and encourage the growth of interpretive projects that address underrepresented areas of history.

A new resource prepared by Marcus Young for the State Historic Preservation Office takes users on a journey through Oklahoma's All-Black towns. An interactive map allows you to select every All-Black town in Oklahoma while seeing a snapshot of the town name, county, and interesting facts about the selected town. Although some All-Black towns no longer have inhabitants, the history of those towns is made available through this same resource. To peruse an alphabetical listing of each All-Black town in Oklahoma, and to learn more about the creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and tenacity that helped build some of these Black safe havens, click here.

Boley Town Council, date unknown (3377.D.2, Oklahoma Historical Society Photograph Collection, OHS)
Just in time for Father’s Day, join Smithsonian Affiliations on June 17 for this talk with the National Museum of American History’s Jon Grinspan. He will explore America’s greatest father-daughter political dynasty, Congressman William “Pig Iron” Kelley and his daughter, labor activist Florence Kelley. Will Kelley campaigned for abolition, women’s suffrage, workers’ rights, voting rights, and many more causes in the 19th century, and raised his daughter to carry on his legacy, even though she could not vote or hold office. Florence Kelley emerged as a combative force in her own right, fighting child labor, as well as helping to found the NAACP and start Social Security. Over two colorful lives—packed with campaigns and crusades, friendships and feuds, assassination attempts and divorces—father and daughter educated (and exasperated) each other, forming a rocky but crucial bond that shaped American public life for over a century, and providing an inspiring model for father-daughter relationships.

This event takes place at 6 p.m. Central Time. This virtual event is free, but preregistration is required. To register, please visit www.okhistory.org/june17.
Jon Grinspan is the curator of the Division of Political and Military History at the National Museum of American History. He studies the deep history of American democracy, specializing in wild, partisan campaigns of the 1800s. In the present day, Grinspan collects items from current protests, conventions, elections, and riots for the Smithsonian to preserve the present moment for generations to come. He is the author of The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century (University of North Carolina Press, 2016).
OHS COVID-19 safety measures

Per CDC guidance, we recommend that visitors who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination wear face masks and maintain social distancing in indoor public areas. All visitors, staff, volunteers, contractors, and vendors should continue to use appropriate handwashing techniques.

We ask that you avoid visiting OHS museums, sites, and affiliates if you have COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms, have a fever, or are otherwise feeling sick or unwell.
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