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May 30, 2001

Black History Celebration in Folsom

Juneteenth, a local celebration of African American pioneers of the Gold Rush era and the contributions they made to the development of the Sacramento region, is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, June 16 at the Negro Bar State Park in Folsom.

The Juneteenth event takes it name from the historic celebration that took place when the news of emancipation finally reached African Americans in Texas in June of 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Juneteenth celebrations are held throughout the country to commemorate the event.

Through exhibits, music, poetry and speakers who emphasize the pivotal role that African Americans played in the state's anti-slavery and abolitionist movements, Juneteenth illuminates the often overlooked link between the Underground railroad and the history of African Americans in the Sacramento region.

The program also commemorates the achievements of William A. Leidesdorff, a prominent African American, who in 1846 was given 35,000 acres of land along the American River by the Mexican government - land that includes the present-day city of Folsom.

"One of the largest black Gold Rush communities in the region was located at Negro Bar in Folsom," says Joe Moore, Juneteenth project director. "While the initial African American presence at Negro Bar was not lengthy, it has the distinction of being the site where gold was first discovered in Northern California by African Americans in 1849."

Moore is organizing the event along with his wife, California State University, Sacramento history professor Shirley Ann Wilson Moore.

"The Negro Bar area is important because the black struggle for freedom in California and the United States emerged here as evidenced by acts of violence against blacks, several notable fugitive cases and the significance of African Americans to the early economic and social development of the region," says Moore.

The Juneteenth event takes it name from the historic celebration that took place when the news of emancipation finally reached African Americans in Texas in June of 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Juneteenth celebrations are held throughout the country to commemorate the event.

Juneteenth is a free event and will include activities such as an open mic for poets, a Buffalo Soldier presentation, historical lectures, gold-mining camp replications and a bicycle ride from Old Sacramento to Negro Bar State Park.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own picnic lunches and portable BBQ grills to the free event. Soft drinks will be provided but no alcohol or glass containers are permitted in the park.

A shuttle bus will leave from the CSUS Steven Yamshon Alumni Center at 8:30 a.m., June 16 to provide transportation to the park. It will return to campus at 4:30 p.m. Only one round-trip will be made to the park.

For more information about the Juneteenth event call (916) 278-6645. Media assistance is available by contacting the CSUS public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.



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