Cameron University Library presentation to focus on the musical legacy of Oklahoma City’s Deep Deuce district

The Cameron University Library will present Anita G. Arnold, author of “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce & Beyond,” on Monday, October 6 at 7 p.m. Arnold will discuss her book, which details how Oklahoma City’s Deep Deuce neighborhood became an important resource for national jazz and blues bands. The presentation will take place in the CETES Conference Center and is open to the public at no charge.

“Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond” details the birth and growth of music in Oklahoma City's African American community from the 1920s until the late 1990s. Musical influences of families and individuals, venues, dance, and fashion blend with new-era traditions such as parades, jam sessions, and street parties to create a culture that became well known. This book explores how the seeds of music so deeply planted in the early days continue to produce great musicians and how the influences of those icons will vibrate throughout future international generations.

Deep Deuce was home to the Oklahoma City Blue Devils, a jazz band that drew national acclaim and whose members include Count Basie and the writer Ralph Ellison.  In the 1940s, it was one of the largest African-American neighborhoods in Oklahoma City and home to legendary musicians such as jazz guitarist Charlie Christian and blues vocalist Jimmy Rushing. Christian has been referred to as “the world’s greatest jazz guitarist.” His career was cut short when he died from tuberculosis at the age of 25. Rushing was a member of Count Basie’s band before forming his own group. He was recognized as one of the greatest singers of any style of music, winning numerous accolades as Best Male Singer.

In addition to “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond,” Arnold is the author of “Charlie and the Deuce,” “Legendary Times and Tales of Second Street,” and “The Charlie Christian Photo Album.” Since 1991, she has served as Executive Director of Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC, Inc.), which provides Oklahoma with an exposure to the African, African-American/Black culture with a special emphasis on educating Oklahoma’s youth. Arnold is the recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award, the Pathmakers of Oklahoma City/County Awards, and the 2010 Oklahoma Human Rights Award. Additional honors include selection as the Multi-Cultural Citizen of the Year by the Multi-Cultural Institute of Oklahoma and the Delta Kappa Gamma State 2012 Creative Women of Oklahoma Award. She has also served as a member of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Advisory Committee.


September 26, 2014