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2013 Charlie Christian Festival attracts special guests as journey to centennial begins

Charlie Christian
Charlie Christian

This year’s Charlie Christian International Music Festival in Oklahoma City is attracting a contingent of people from the Lone Star state who have started their own celebrations of legendary guitarist Charlie Christian in Texas.

“We welcome everybody from near and far to join us in this history laden event,” festival chairman Mark Temple said in a news release. “We want them to know that not everything big happens in Texas. There are big things happening right here in Oklahoma City. For the first time,  we have four headliners for our event – Joe McBride, Najee, All Funk Radio Show, and Kirk Whalum and so much more.”

The 2013 festival is the beginning of a launch to the 100th anniversary of Christian in 2016.

“We invite the community to join us in making this one of the biggestand best events, yet,” Temple said. “We are pleased that the last two days of the festival will be held at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, site of the first Frederick A. Douglass High School established in 1896. In fact, the site will be special to these out of town guests because the murals on the walls of the ballpark showcase Charlie Christian, Calvary Baptist Church where his funeral was held, the Aldridge Theater where Charlie’s picture hung on the walls for years and so much more of the Deep Deuce History.”

Other special guests expected at the festival are remaining members of Charlie Christian’s family. Freddy Jenkins, a cousin to Christian, will travel from Arizona with his family to attend the event. Oklahoma Sen. Connie Johnson will present a proclamation at the Ralph Ellison program, and state Rep. Anastasia Pittman will open the festival at the ballpark.

To add to the festive occasion, Anita Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center, said that as a bonus to the first 500 two-day ticket holders on Friday night, there will be free parking next to the ballpark at the red parking lot on the east side of Joe Carter Avenue. The festival will feature three events that are free to the public.

The festival schedule can be found at here, and tickets can be purchased online or in community outlets. Proceeds from the festival benefit will benefit BLAC, Inc. (Black Liberated Arts Center), a local not-for-profit organization known for presenting and producing educational arts programs and preserving African American history in Oklahoma City.

SWING TO BOP (1941) by Charlie Christian

arts United States

Black Liberated Arts Center Inc. launches new image

Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc.’s board of directors are (left) Jon Wood, first vice president; Jacquelyn Jemison, second vice president and secretary; Kenneth Lawson, president; and David Reed, treasurer.

Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc. in Oklahoma City announced sweeping changes in launching the 2012-13 organizational image. With a theme of “Reclaiming our Identity: Tributes to Greatness,” a continuation of the theme “Reclaiming our Identity” which celebrated women begun in 2011, BLAC Inc. moves forward with a look of “newness.”

Prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year, the organization relocated its office into the newly renovated Lincoln Professional Suites located at 4500 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 106. Anita Arnold, BLAC Inc. executive director, said in a news release  everyone who has come by the office is very impressed.

“They like our new look, even though we occupy less space. Visitors who have visited include two guests from Ghana,” she said.

New officers elected to serve three-year terms beginning July 1 are Jon Wood, first vice president; Jacquelyn Jemison, second vice president and secretary, Kenneth Lawson, president and David Reed, treasurer.

Lawson is a retired IBM executive; Wood is employed by the State of Oklahoma. Jemison is employed by the University of Central Oklahoma and is the first lady at St. John Missionary Baptist Church. Reed is an Actuary at First Fidelity Corp.

Two new members joined the board of directors for a three-year term. They are Dr. Norma Cole Simpson, retired principal for Oklahoma City Public Schools, and April Rose Jackson,  co-owner of Abrakadoodle Oklahoma, a national franchise of Children’s Arts Integrated Activities serving children from 20 months to 14 years old. Jackson shares ownership of the franchise with her husband, Isaac Jackson, who is serving in Afghanistan.

For more information, call BLAC Inc. at (405) 524-3800.

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