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It’s Not Your Daddy’s Juneteenth

By Floyd Miller



I remember growing up in Hallettsville, Texas and going to Juneteenth celebrations. On many occasions Professor Mayo, for whom the Stevens Mayo High School was named after, was the keynote speaker. Stevens Mayo High School was an all black school and our Juneteenth celebrations in those days were all black and for the most part that’s the way they are today.Juneteenth 2009, was different. Marilyn and I traveled to Rotan, Texas to celebrate Juneteenth with Mr. Michael Mason and his group and therein the difference. Mr. Mason, CEO of the Juneteenth of West Texas Organization Incorporated, is a white man. I asked Mr. Mason how did he come about founding and being the CEO of this organization. He said that in this day and time it’s really not about skin color but it’s about ”content of character.” Mason said that we only have to look to the White House today to see that all lines are fading away. “ It is more about qualifications and being the right person in the right place at the right time.” stated Mason.Mason started this organization because he wanted to help individuals. He wanted to show them the importance of education. One of the things that his organization does is raise money and help fund educational scholarships. He said that there are basically three ways for a young man to leave Rotan: one is join the military, two is going to prison, and the third one is going to college. He is doing his best to keep them away from choice number two.The Juneteenth Organization of West Texas was sponsoring their 2nd Annual Barbecue Cook-Off to raise money for scholarships. Those participating came from Ft.Worth, Brownwood, Cohoma and points in between. I was not an official judge but I can testify that the brisket was good. Several judges were from Abilene; they were Mrs. Hester Woods and from ACU, Mr. Dan Garcia and Mr. George Pendergrass. This was a wonderful event in Rotan, Texas. We had people from all cultures there just trying to work together and help each other. It was truly a great celebration. When Mr. Mason said “it is not about skin color but it is about content of character”, I could not help but remember Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream Speech” over 40 years ago. He said that he wanted “ his children to be judged by the content of their characters and not the color of their skin”. When we look at people, like Mr. Mason, we too must judge them by the content of their character, and not the color of their skin.

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The West Texas Tribune is a community-based newspaper that has been published, uninterrupted, since May 2005. Our goal is to highlight events and people throughout West Texas as an independent, locally run newspaper. We thrive on the support of our local community.

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