Edna organizer mixes fun, education for Juneteenth


June 13, 2010 at 1:13 a.m.

Harold Wilkinscharacter of the crossroads mug

Harold Wilkinscharacter of the crossroads mug

EDNA - Harold Wilkins, a 33-year-old Edna street maintenance worker, decided to bring back a celebration of black history that had been missing from Edna.

Juneteenth is a celebration of the belated freeing of 250,000 Texas slaves on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, according to the Handbook of Texas Online.

Last year, Wilkins, who moved back to Edna in 2003, and his wife, Kisha, worked to revive the historical celebrating by funding a pageant and parade with their own money and a few donations.

This year, Harold Wilkins is hoping to expand this weekend's celebrations with a basketball tournament and barbecue cookoff to give residents a chance to keep the party going.

Q: So why did you and your wife decide to revive the celebration?

A: They used to have it awhile back . It just kind of faded away and you had a couple of backyard barbecues, but that was about it. Now kids, they don't even know what it is and it's just kind of better to educate them a little bit. That's why we do our pageant because they sit there and they know that they're going to get asked a couple of questions about Juneteenth, but maybe they researched and just that little bit of research helps out.

Q:So what are these kids learning?

A:They're learning what our ancestors went through to get us where we are today.

Q:Do you think black history is emphasized enough in our schools?

A:I think it is. It's just that we should try to do a little bit more. But as far as schools, I think they do a decent job at it.

Q:So what do you hope people will learn from this weekend's celebrations?

A: I hope they see that people do care about the history, not only for the kids, but also for the older crowd, just to let them know that we do see and we do thank you for the things that you went through to get us where we are today.

Q: Is there anything else we should know about the celebrations?

A: It's an event for everybody. It's not about black white. It's a celebration for everybody. Anybody who wants to come out and walk around and have fun with us. Up until Wednesday, we're still accepting applications for floats.



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