Death. This is not one of my favorite words. But for most of my life, I’ve been very aware of that word and its meaning. I’ve heard it talked about and discussed and predicted. I’ve heard folks wondering how to prevent it, and I’ve heard them saying that, if it doesn’t happen this year, what will be done to prevent it next year? The death I am talking about is not the death of a person, but the death of an organization, specifically the Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery Association.
When I was a child, I used to think that all of the black people in Texas came to Brackettville to celebrate Juneteenth and then Seminole Days each year. There were so many people. And they all seemed to be my “cousins.” So I was always surprised to hear some people saying that this year wasn’t like last year or ten years ago.
There is always strength in numbers. A gathering of a large group of people indicates a healthy organization. I’ve always known this to be true. So when the opposite happens, it is easy to come to the logical conclusion that the organization is on its last leg. Everyone has a perception of what progress is. And generally numbers are the easiest indicator of that.
And even if there was a large group of people gathered in the school yard, the elders would lament because the young children didn’t seem interested in learning about their history. This lament causes much consternation. And the elders have always worried about our legacy dying with them.
As a young adult, as secretary, and now as president, I’ve heard these concerns and laments. I’ve also heard and seen the way that people can come together to get things done. I’ve learned that there will always be people who care about the Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery Association. And as long as these people care, the organization cannot die. I’ve learned that there are a countless number of people all over this country who care deeply about what happens to a little cemetery in Brackettville, Texas, and the people buried in it. So they call, write, donate, volunteer, attend our events, and learn about our history.
Although we may be quiet sometimes, we were never dying; we may have seemed dormant to the unseen eye, but inside we are as busy as bees, reorganizing, restructuring, and readying ourselves for our reemergence.