Oklahoma Day

Oklahoma Day

April 22
After forcing the Indians to move west of the Mississippi River during the early decades of the 19th century, Congress set aside a vast area including all of what is now Oklahoma and called it the Indian Territory, telling them the land would be theirs forever. But eventually the U.S. government reneged on its policy in response to pressure from railroad companies and land-hungry homesteaders. Part of the Indian Territory was opened to white settlement by allowing "land runs," in which homesteaders raced across the border to stake their claim to 160-acre plots offered free of charge. Those who managed to sneak across the line before the official opening were called "sooners," which is how Oklahoma came to be nicknamed "the Sooner State." The land run of April 22, 1889, paved the way for the organization of the Oklahoma Territory in 1890, and for Oklahoma's statehood in 1907.
Also known as Oklahoma 89ers Day, the celebrations on April 22 focus on the town of Guthrie, the site of the original land office about 80 miles from the starting border. In 1915, the "89ers," as the original participants came to be called, reenacted the land rush, and each year Guthrie observes its anniversary with an 89ers festival. Elsewhere in Oklahoma, the day is celebrated with parades, rodeos, and events based on the land rush theme.
See also Cherokee Strip Day
CONTACTS:
Oklahoma Historical Society
2401 N. Laird Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
800-288-2577 or 405-521-2491; fax: 405-521-2492
www.ok-history.mus.ok.us
Guthrie Chamber of Commerce
212 W. Oklahoma Ave.
Guthrie, OK 73044
405-282-1947; fax: 405-282-5389
www.guthrieok.com
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 304
(c)
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The coolest portion of an Oklahoma day occurs in the hours after midnight, and these hours are therefore sometimes rather active.

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