Legacy group crowns Juneteenth Queen


The leaders of Kilgore Legacy Foundation aim to grow: the future, Will Vinson says, continues to depend on the generosity of the group’s supporters.

The foundation’s president applauded the robust crowd gathered in Kilgore College’s Devall Student Center Ballroom Saturday night, dressed to the nines in the signature colors of the Red & Black Ball.

It’s the fifth year the Legacy Foundation has hosted the event, and Vinson and his team were thrilled to see so many turn out – each person in attendance helps fuel the organization’s scholarships for college students.

“Give yourselves a good round of applause,” Vinson said. “We wanted it to be a success. We prayed about it, y’all,” that God would send guests from the north, south, east and west to Kilgore: “He did that tonight.”

As the foundation crowned its 2018 Juneteenth Queen, Vinson asked the supporters to consider the years ahead.

“Keep us in your prayers as we go forward. We want to do more. We want to help more.”

This year, Kilgore College’s Yasmine Wilson will receive that help in a $750 scholarship after her essay, ‘What Juneteenth Means to Me,’ earned the KC Flare Copy Editor the year’s Juneteenth crown.

“June 19th is a special holiday marking the date when the last slaves in America were freed,” she wrote: ‘Freedom Day’ commemorates June 19, 1865, when news of the abolition of slavery in the United States reached the State of Texas. “Juneteenth is overall more than just a celebration, but a victory over the inhumanity of slavery. The holiday Juneteenth is a milestone for African Americans and to me, it is a symbol of freedom and a time for celebration and education.”

(Find Wilson’s complete Juneteenth essay on Page 5.)

Runners-up for the 2018 award include Allison Leadon (who will receive a $500 scholarship) and Emitsha Coleman (who will receive $250).

Wilson will ride in the lead of this summer’s Juneteenth Parade, set for 10 a.m. June 16. It will be immediately followed by the foundation’s annual celebration at Kilgore City Park, lasting until 3 p.m. that Saturday.

As the new Juneteenth Queen moves forward in her academic career, Vinson said the foundation’s leaders will pay close attention – a new goal for the group is to continue to reward their young recipients’ academic success.

“If they make the Dean’s List, Honor Roll, et cetera, we want to turn around and give them a second award,” he said Saturday. Granted, as a 501(c)3, the foundation doesn’t have any money, Vinson quipped, but “We do have some giving donors. There are some in here that give above. I just want to tell you that we appreciate you, whether your donation was big or whether it was small. We appreciate everybody, from the bottom of our hearts.”

The foundation’s leaders meet twice-monthly on first and third Mondays, Vinson added, and any fresh volunteers would be appreciated: “We’re open to new members.”

Saturday’s Red & Black Ball drew more than 160 people to the KC ballroom, with a catered dinner and a ranging program including live music by vocalists Bernadette Stevens and Ashley Clements as laughs courtesy of comedienne Lisa Elliott. The night also saw the return of saxophone player Maurice Curtis who joined DJ Reggie Bell in drawing guests to the dance floor.

Encouraged by the size of the crowd, “That was really nice to see everybody take the time out of their schedule to come out and be with us,” Vinson said later. “We appreciate it.”

For more information or to support the foundation’s efforts, call 903-738-1666.