Juneteenth celebration to return to Collins Park

Published 10:08 am Saturday, May 28, 2022

By Joan Collins, Director of Outreach and Education, Pea Island Preservation Society, Inc.

On Sunday, June 19, 2022, at 5 p.m., Juneteenth will again be celebrated at Collins Park at the Pea Island Cookhouse Museum, located at 622 Sir Walter Raleigh Street in Manteo. Tshombe Selby, a beloved native of Manteo and professional opera singer, will return this year to again sing The Songs of Freedom using the front porch of the museum as his stage. Juneteenth, made a federal holiday last year, is the oldest known celebration honoring the end of enslavement in the United States. On this day, more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, slavery was proclaimed ended in Galveston, Texas. The day is also sometimes called Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day.

The Pea Island Preservation Society, Inc., PIPSI, is holding the event this year again in collaboration with the Don and Catharine Bryan Cultural Series and with support from TowneBank and others sponsors.

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Given the success of last year’s concert, which was the first Juneteenth celebration in Dare County, we expect the Juneteenth program this year to again be well attended. Also, this year Tshombe will be accompanied by several of his fellow alumni of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) who sang with him in the university choir when he attended ECSU. Tshombe promises that Juneteenth this year at the Cookhouse Museum will be that much more special with the addition of these special guests.

The 5 p.m. concert will also include several Roanoke Island community youth who will participate by reading quotes to uplift the significance of Juneteenth in between musical selections.

Remembering Juneteenth on Roanoke Island is especially important considering the area’s ties to slavery and freedom. Roanoke Island was the setting for an historic experiment during the Civil War. Following the island’s occupation by Union forces in 1862, it became a haven for African American families throughout the region and prompted the establishment of a Freedmen’s Colony at the north end of the island. The Cookhouse Museum, which honors Keeper Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers, is an ideal location to remember Juneteenth given their ties to the history of slavery and freedom in the area.

We are encouraging all in the community to support this event. So please, mark this on your calendar now!

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