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Samuel Collins III Family Collection

Identifier: MSS 0021

Scope and Contents

The Samuel Collins III Family Collection consists of the Juneteenth painting entitled, “Free at Last” by the artist Ted Ellis in 2006. Also included is a paper on about painting written by Samuel Collins III.


  • 1915 - 2008

Language of Materials

This collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

Researchers must make arrangements to view this collection. For prearranged viewing please ask Archivist or Curator on staff.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Collins Family Collection must be obtained from the African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder. Please ask reference staff for information and assistance on the possibility of photo duplication and any associated fees. The library reserves the right to restrict duplication.

Biographical note

The original painting “Free at Last” by Ted Ellis was started at the first annual Juneteenth celebration held at Stringfellow Orchards in Hitchcock, Texas in 2006. The painting captures the essence of the hope of freed slaves. The freed slave is the center of the painting. With chains still hanging from his wrist, he looks up to his creator thanking him for his freedom. The man’s head is held high as a tear drop runs down his face. He is filled with gratefulness and hope that one day his descendants will have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Artist Ted Ellis captures the events of the 2006 Juneteenth celebration a Stringfellow Orchards with symbolism. In the background is the image of an African American family standing on the front porch of their home praying together. The freed slave’s hope has been realized. Not from a view that the slave has become the master. In its most simple form, the slave descendants given opportunity have been allowed to pursue their dreams in this great country called the United States of America. The original owners of the plantation style home probably never imagined that it would one day be owned by African Americans.

The painting tried to incorporate all of the activities of the day: historical enactments, faith history, music, wisdom, family, and why we celebrate Juneteenth. The painting includes Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Buffalo Soldiers, the shape of Texas, the year 1865, a quilt with hidden messages, three crosses on a hill, the large oak tree, the drum, the darkness of night and much more. (Source: Paper prepared by Samuel L. Collins III).


5 Linear Feet (1 Painting)

Acquistion Information

Donated by: Samuel L. Collins III, November 2009

Processing Information

Processed by: Vince Lee, May 2010
MSS 0021 Samuel Collins III Family Collection
An Inventory of Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
Vince Lee
May 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Gregory School Repository


The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
M Closed | T 10-6 | W 10-6 | Th 12-8 | F 10-5 | Sa 10-5 | Su Closed
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002
M Closed T 10-6 W 10-6 Th 12-8 F 10-5 Sa 10-5 Su Closed