Deep Deuce. Historic Area Enjoys Revitalization

February 26, 2019

Deep Deuce, one of Oklahoma City’s most historically significant neighborhoods was a nexus of jazz music and African-American culture in the 1920s and 30s, and OKC’s largest African-American neighborhood in the 1940s and 50s. Today, Deep Deuce is recapturing its glory days as home to restaurants, clubs and art galleries. Just north of Bricktown and centered on N.E. 2nd street, this district also offers close proximity and access to the numerous entertainment venues, retail and dining options found in downtown OKC, Automobile Alley, and the Arts District. A popular urban housing location, Deep Deuce has several neighborhood hangouts like Stag Lounge, a whiskey club offering more than 250 bottles of whiskey and almost 400 spirits, and Anchor Down, a gourmet corn dog eatery located in a shipping container. Numerous other businesses also call Deep Deuce home today. History of the District Originally home to warehouse district workers employed in nearby Bricktown following the 1889 Land Run, Deep Deuce grew to become the hub for local blues and jazz musicians. Charlie Christian, ultimately a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet and a key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz, moved to Deep Deuce from Texas as a young child and lived in the area through high school. Jimmy Rushing, an American blues shouter, balladeer, pianist, and swing jazz singer, perhaps best known as lead vocalist for the Count Basie Orchestra from 1935–48, also grew up and originally played music in the area. Writer Ralph Waldo Ellison, author of Invisible Man, which won the 1953 National Book Award, was born and primarily grew up in the Deep Deuce area. Located at 2nd and Walnut Street, historically-significant Calvary Baptist Church was built in 1921 and served as the social and religious center of Oklahoma City’s black population. It is also the site where Oklahoma students organized “sit-ins” at segregated lunch counters in 1957.
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