In a little more than two months, we will celebrate Juneteenth.

Each year, individuals and communities around the world gather to commemorate the day Gordan Granger announced General Order No. 3 on June 19, 1865, in Galveston that informed the residents of Texas that slavery had ended.

The official end of American slavery would not come until December 1865 with the 13th Amendment to the constitution, but the former enslaved people in Texas decided to celebrate the day Union Soldiers announced slavery was over.

James Oliver Horton said “History matters. It provides our identity, it structures our relationships, and it defines the terms of our debates.”

Bernard and Shirley Kinsey have spent a lifetime collecting and saving history because it matters. It matters how we tell the story. I spoke with Mr. Kinsey last week about coming to speak to us to encourage us to broaden the discussion about Juneteenth.

Galveston is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth. This year is only the beginning. Mr. Kinsey can raise the bar with regards to our perspective of the past. Not just about remembering our past, but inspiring our future.

The Kinsey Collection is touring the country and changing the way we see history. It is helping us to appreciate the contributions of African-Americans to the building of our great country.

What if instead of seeing Juneteenth as an African-American holiday we see it as part of our pursuit of a more perfect union? How does it change the conversation about the potential of a national celebration if the conversation became less about us and them and more about we?

We have a reason to celebrate. Humanity has a reason to celebrate the end of American slavery.

Anyone who believes in freedom has a reason to celebrate Juneteenth.  

Growing up, you likely had several family members with different birthdays. How would you feel if no one wanted to celebrate your birthday?

Some feel American citizens have one Independence Day — the Fourth of July. We are one country, and we are the home of the brave.

Juneteenth and the Fourth of July are like two birthdays of two different individuals. Both should be celebrated without exclusion of the other.

In honor of the 150th celebration of Juneteenth next year, it would be great if we could get 150 people to give $100 each to cover the $15,000 cost to bring Mr. Kinsey to Galveston. That does not include the Kinsey Collection exhibit.

The budget will cover his speaking fee, travel, hotel, venue and local artist Ted Ellis. If you are interested in helping to bring Mr. Kinsey to the area, send $100 to Stringfellow Orchards, PO Box 446, Hitchcock, TX 77563, or email me at mrslc3@hotmail.com to see how you can help.

Samuel Collins III lives in Hitchcock.

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(6) comments

Walter Manuel

"What if instead of seeing Juneteenth as an African-American holiday we see it as part of our pursuit of a more perfect union? How does it change the conversation about the potential of a national celebration if the conversation became less about us and them and more about we"?

With all due respect Mr. Collins, what happened to "We" thinking about Easter and it's significance today and not a celebration that's still two months away?

Perhaps this movement of "moving others away from us and them to we" would be achieved much faster when events such as Juneteenth that you suggest doesn't overshadow what most of us is celebrating today and that's honoring the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let's not forget that there's a reason and a season for everything. Happy Easter!

Evelyn Clark

MM stop trying to start confusion. You do not have to take part in Jubeteenth but you can not stop someone from wanting to celebrate our rights of freedom as American citizens. Behave yourself and come have some fun. [beam] [beam] [beam]

Samuel Collins III

I have no control of when the paper ran the guest column. The column was submitted over a week ago. Call the GCDN and complain to them. The first line in my guest column says "In a little over two months..." which clearly points out I wrote it befire April 19th. It was actually posted online as early as April 12th. MM do you really care about Easter? It seems as though you just try to find something to complain about. Of all the articles, letters & guest columns in the paper today the only one you suggest trying to overshadow Easter is my guest column on Juneteenth. Did you submit a guest column on Easter and why it is so important to you?

Walter Manuel

Mr. Collins, there's nothing more important leading up to "this week" that would cause me personally to not reflect on the celebration of our savior Jesus Christ who was willing to die on the cross for ALL of us and was willing to shed His blood so that "we" could have our sins forgiven and have eternal life.

I think I'll reserve myself from further commenting since you obviously missed the point.

Have a blessed day sir....

Lars Faltskog

Well, more folks have time to read columns and such on holidays. A very good venue for Sunday (yesterday) to talk about Juneteenth. Never too soon.

And, I for one, am planning on what to do for Forth of July - a big blowout with hot dogs. I'm also sure there's people getting an early start on some good Christmas/Holiday shopping deals.

Oh, and I need to find out what to get Mom for Mother's Day. That's just around the corner! Then, in June comes National Lobster Day.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Why has the liquor and greeting card cartel failed to sink their greedy talons into Juneteenth the way it has Cinco De Mayo and St. Patrick's Day? Come to think of it, why are Pulaski Day, Lafayette Day and Columbus Day not similarly degraded by association with drunken fools and maudlin sentiments by Hallmark?

What is Juneteenth's secret to avoid this ignoble fate for their people and how can all ethnic and racial groups benefit by example?

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