Annual Juneteenth Celebration
Trend Magazine Online™
Article June 2019

By Jay Whipple

Trend Magazine Online™

American History!

Re-published from a previous edition with 2019 updates...
Annual Juneteenth Celebration Banner Pic

Juneteenth is one of those holidays where as if you ask most Americans its premise they would respond with a resounding "I don′t know." I too did not know until the 1990′s when a former business associate of mines spearheaded the celebration in Charlotte, NC. That celebration was later revived by another business associate from Africa and is still in operation today. I attended an all-Black/African-American grade school in Miami and we were well educated on our history by learning of the contributions of Black/African-American icons like abolitionist Mr. Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey (Frederick Douglass), the underground railroad′s Ms. Harriett Tubman (a.k.a. Moses), inventor Mr. George Washington Carver, and abolitionist Ms. Isabella Baumfree (a.k.a. Sojourner Truth) to name a few. Unfortunately, I do not recall being taught anything concerning this important holiday/event.

Annual Juneteenth Celebration Sam Collins III PicI was quite surprise to recently learn that this important piece of American history has been at the forefront of celebrations on the island of Galveston, Texas, since 1865 when the area Slaves were finally informed that they were in fact free to leave their perspective plantations and seek the American dream that includes Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness per our United States Constitution. The delayed news was referred to as General Order Number 3 and delivered by Major General Gordon Granger. It was indeed great news for some of the 250,000 Texas Slaves although the rest of our nation′s cities had been given the same message more than five months earlier after the 13th Amendment was made official on Tuesday January, 31, 1865, and after the Saturday April, 15, 1865, assassination of then President Abraham Lincoln of Hodgenville, Kentucky by John Wilkes Booth of Bel Air, Maryland.

Annual Juneteenth Celebration Old Stringfellow Orchards Pic

Some will argue that the Slaves in the United States were actually freed on Monday September, 22, 1862, after Lincoln issued a preliminary document known as the Emancipation Proclamation which was a presidential order (known today as an Executive Order) as opposed to a law signed by the United States Congress. This document proclaimed that Slaves in certain U.S. cities and States shall be freed on Thursday January 1, 1863, which resulted in a small portion of the more than four million enslaved Blacks/Africans obtaining their freedom. This new found freedom was a blessing for some and a curse for others who had grown highly dependent on their masters′ providing their food, clothing, and shelter for nearly four centuries. As such, reportedly 40% of the Slaves in North Carolina actually supported the South/Confederacy during the Civil War (1861-1865) by maintaining the plantations, assisting the Confederate troops, and some fighting side-by-side with their masters. This phenomenon is known today as the Stockholm syndrome as explained in my book Charlotte From A Tour Guide′s Perspective."I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves" -- Harriett Tubman (now debated but you get the point right!).

Annual Juneteenth Celebration New Stringfellow Orchards PicThanks to various individuals, groups, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations; this important piece of American history has been preserved since Slavery was official abolished in 1865 more than a Century and a half ago. Some of those individuals/businesspersons are Doris and Sam Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas, which is approximately 15 miles (by car) from the island of Galveston. In 2005 this dynamic duo purchased and restored a 19th Century home that was once owned by Mr. Henry Martin Stringfellow, a successful horticulturist from 1883 to his death in 1912 during the period known today as Reconstruction. He was well known for paying former Slaves $1 a day as opposed to the then going wage of 50 cents which afforded them a higher standard of living for their families. Some went on to purchase land of their own from their wages derived from the orange groves on the 9.5-acre property. The old post-antebellum home is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places (since 2013), and has been part of the area Juneteenth celebrations since 2006. Several years ago the home was part of a PBS special (21st Minute) focusing on the area.

Annual Juneteenth Celebration Crutcher PicMr. Collins, 48 (May 2019), is a native of Hitchcock and is known today as a modern-day Frederick Douglass (Abolitionist). He was named Citizen of the Year by the Galveston County Daily News in 2015 for his many civic activities to include member or advisor for local, state, and national historical organizations; investment services entrepreneur, philanthropist, community organizer, and champion of the 150th anniversary (2015) of Juneteenth in the Galveston area. He attended Texas A&M University, on an academic scholarship, and took a semester off to pursue several business opportunities -- one in which involved selling water filters. He then accepted a position selling life insurance after losing his job at Walgreens. Collins then started his own business -- SLC Investment Services -- after stints with Edward Jones Investments and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, upon earning his securities license. He did return to Texas A&M, after a semester off, where he earned his Bachelor's in Business Administration/Accounting degree. Collins later organized a trip to Selma, Alabama, where our ancestors successfully spearheaded the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act; however, fell short in his campaign to lure President Barack Obama to Galveston for the 150th Anniversary of Juneteenth in 2015. His next big endeavor is to get Juneteenth listed as a national holiday.

Annual Juneteenth Celebration Ruby Bridges Pic

Some of this year′s events will include the 27th Annual Juneteenth Development Corporation Scholarship Gala (409-762-0063) on Sunday June 2nd, 2019, at 7 PM; the 23rd Annual Al Edwards Banquet (409-392-0317) at the Old Central Cultural Center on Tuesday, June 4th, 2019, at 7 PM; 2019 Juneteenth Gospelfest, Greater St. Matthews Baptist Church, Hitchcock, TX, 7:30 PM (409-939-4557); the Central High School Gathering Events (409-457-1795) Wednesday June 12th through Sunday June 16th, 2019; the 6th Annual Juneteenth Gala at Aston Villa, on Thursday June 13, 2019, 7 PM (409-392-0317); The Juneteenth Poetry Slam, Friday June 14, 2019, 7 PM, Dole Convention Center, Texas City, TX (409-939-8102); Greenbook Lecture and Shoebox Luncheon (409-765-3453), Saturday June 15, 2019, 11 AM and 1 PM, at Menard Hall, Galveston, TX; Wednesday June 19, 2019, 40th Annual Al Edwards' Juneteenth Prayer, 8:30 AM (409-599-5520), and Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church Annual Juneteenth Emancipation March and Program, 4 PM-6 PM.

Annual Juneteenth Celebration Galveston African-American Museum PicAnother long-time area native is 69 year old Vietnam Veteran Mr. James Josey who purchased a building once owned by an "Old lady" and has since converted it into what today is known as the African American Museum which cannot be missed as it is adorned with portraits of some of the area′s most famous Blacks/African-Americans. The artist is E. Herron and depicted on the old home are Mr. Jack Johnson (1908 - 1915 Heavyweight Boxing Champion), Ms. Annie Mae Charles (first Galveston Black female police officer), Mr. Doug Matthews (first Black City [Galveston] Manager in Texas), and the late great R&B (Rhythm and Blues) singer/pianist/conductor/composer of the Love Unlimited Orchestra Mr. Barry White, to name a few. Other famous Galvestonians are Reginald Ballard who played the memorable role of Brah (Brother) Man in the hit series Martin (1992 − 1997) starring comedian-turned-actor Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Ms. Tina Beyonce′-Knowles, entrepreneur and mother of hit maker Beyonce′. The museum has been in operation since 2003 and also part of the annual Juneteenth celebration. My personal fondest memory of the city is that it is mentioned in the movie Jason′s Lyric (1994), starring Allen Payne (Jason) and Jada Pinkett-Smith (Lyric). I really loved the way they pronounced the city′s name in the movie; Texas drawl and awl. Smile!

Annual Juneteenth Celebration Old Central Cultural Center Pic Mr. Josey, who has lived in Galveston most of his life save a 14-year stay in Compton, CA; comments that "We must let our young know that we have history," and that our "Young people are killing each other over colors. We are trying hard to teach them about true history," and to accomplish that important task they have enlisted the support of American Muslims to come in and speak with those young gang members concerning the pitfalls of violence and drugs. In addition, they recruit prisoners to speak to the kids during their after school program, offer tutoring at the museum, and their motivational speakers draw crowds of 300 to 400 people according to Josey. As a result, he states that there is no more gang-related violence in the city. While living in the Los Angeles area he attended two Juneteenth celebrations and served as an event coordinator. He has three daughters and one son, all currently living in Houston, Texas. I am thankful that he was willing to allow my telephone interview while taking a respite in Las Vegas to "Catch some of the shows," he said.

Annual Juneteenth Celebration Jack Johnson Pic Another Juneteenth venue in the past has been the Old Central Cultural Center that was established in 1974 to preserve the Central High School building which is the first to open for Blacks/African-Americans (then Colored) in the entire State of Texas in 1885. An annex was added in 1904 to accommodate the Rosenberg Library for Colored (now Black/African-American). The school closed in 1968 as area public schools became integrated as a result of the 1954 Supreme Court case known as Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The school site had been moved to its fourth location in the building that is currently used as the Galveston Independent School District middle school. The original site now includes the Jack Johnson Park which has also been used for previous Juneteenth celebrations. The 501 c (3) center lost its long-time tenant in 2012 and is currently asking for financial assistance from the public. The Board Chair is Mr. George "Pete" Henley.

Annual Juneteenth Celebration QCT Charlotte Pilgrimage Tour PicThe city of Charlotte, NC, is in the process of presenting its 22nd Annual Juneteenth celebration at Thomas and Commonwealth Avenues just east of Uptown/Downtown/Center City in the Plaza/Midwood Neighborhood. The four day event will kick off on Thursday June 13, 2019, and culminate with vendors and a talent show on Sunday June 16, 2019. Mr. Pape Ndiaye of Senegal West Africa has been heading up the organizing committee for a number of years now. Queen City Tours and Travel will be offering its 21st Annual QCT Charlotte Pilgrimage Toursm on Saturday June 15th, 2019, at 10 A.M. and 1:30 P.M., and Sunday June 16 th at 1:30 PM, in conjunction with the annual celebration. Each 3-hour tour is scheduled to depart from the 7th Street Public Market in Uptown Charlotte with stops at 3 area Slave Cemeteries, and a former Slave Church. Also included are over 50 other sites of Charlotte history from an African-American perspective to include a stop by a home that was bombed during the Civil Rights Movement in the mid 1960′s. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pilgrimage College Scholarship in honor of the late Pastor Jeff Lowrance and Dr. Reginald A. Hawkins.

Finally, the International Civil Rights Museum, Greensboro, NC, will be providing a Heritage and Reflective Exhibit beginning on Monday June 17, 2019, and free chidren's activities on Wednesday June 19, 2019, from 1 PM to 4 PM.

If you are not able to attend one or more of the events mentioned above, visit here for a list of other area celebrations and remember, "Each One, Teach One!."



Want to go? Click to plan an individual visit, or to plan a group visit.




Photos 1 - 6 courtesy of Sam Collins III, 7 courtesy of the African-American Museum, Galveston; 8-9 courtesy of Old Central Cultural Center, and 10 courtesy of Queen City Tours™ and Travel.


Click to Enlarge Queen Charlotte Photo

Home

About

Contact

^^^Back to Top

Join our email list or Like Us on Facebook! to be notified of updates!

Queen City Tours Home Page! Advertising InfoWorldwide Travel!
Calendar of Events

Feed Burner
FeedBurner


Share This!: