Photos by Biff Jennings
Shooters at the Beach
On Saturday, June 17, 2023, at 5:00 pm, Juneteenth was again 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, returned this year to again sing The Songs of Freedom using the front porch of the museum as his stage. Juneteenth,
made a Federal holiday in 2021, 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, held the event this year again in collaboration with the Don and Catharine Bryan Cultural Series and with support from TowneBank and Surfin' Spoon.
The concert also included PIPSI Youth Volunteer, Barkley Collins who
greeted the crowd on behalf of his grandfather, Darrell Collins, President of PIPSI who is still recovering from an illness but was able to stand along side him and enjoy the festivities. Barkley also gave a short speech that included his connection to the Roanoke Island "Freedmen's Colony" uplifting the significance of Juneteenth which was met by a thunderous applause by the audience.
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.
Over 200 hundred souls gathered on the grounds of Collins Park enjoying a fantastic Summer breeze, sunny skies, delicious ice cream sandwiches compliments of Surfin' Spoon that included vegan and gluten free varieties, inspiring quotes, words of encouragement, peace and inclusion by Rev. Dr. Michelle Lewis and amazing uplifting spirituals and songs from the Civil Rights Era by headliner Tshombe Selby! A great time and fellowship was had by all which served as a great reminder of how we are all "better together"! Thanks so much to everyone who joined us for an evening of celebration of freedom!!