Black artists to share their talents during Juneteenth celebration

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A local artist is hoping to add a new dimension to this weekend's annual Juneteenth celebration in Lufkin.  He is asking local Black artists to share their talents in an effort to bridge the past and future.

A wise man one wrote "the key to the future is understanding your past."  With that thought in mind Dwight Gipson is calling on East Texas artists to help him commemorate Juneteenth by displaying their works. "I'd like a lot of Black artists to get involved because it's a lot of talent that's going unnoticed."

Gipson has been busy these past few weeks completing his own collection of hand sketched portraits of prominent men and women who helped knock down racial barriers in East Texas. "Considering that Father's Day falls on the 19th of June, I think it's appropriate that the artwork be displayed because it's our founding forefathers the ones that opened the doors for us.  I think it's appropriate that they get some recognition," said Gipson.

Gipson is asking other Black artists to share their talents.  He has teamed up with local historian Reverend Bettie Kennedy and several other residents for the project.  They are planning to build a float to carry the artwork in the parade.

Parade participants will begin lining up at 9 Saturday morning and the parade is scheduled to begin at 10 from Brandon Park in Lufkin.  "We're going to do decorations to it so that we can ride this artwork through the neighborhood so that people can see it and see that we got different types of talent."

The project is being launched just in time for Emancipation Day and Father's Day.  "I know a lot of the adults, the older adults especially, gonna recognize these teachers and leaders and then a lot of the young people will look at it and say, 'well, maybe next year I can get mine in the next Juneteenth Parade'," said Gipson.

The artwork will be on display during the annual Juneteenth Parade and afterwards at Brandon Park.  A reminder, Gipson said, of the cost of freedom and hope for a better future.  "Because it's our forefathers, I love it.  I like the past, if we don't know where we've been, how are we gonna know where we're going?"

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday honoring African American heritage.  June 19, 1865 is the day slaves in Texas found out slavery in the U.S. had ended.

If you would like to submit your artwork for consideration in the Juneteenth project, contact Bettie Kennedy.

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