June 1, 2004

African American experience celebrated at Folsom

African American life along the American River during the Gold Rush will be recreated in a free, Juneteenth celebration from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 19, at Negro Bar State Park in Folsom.

“Reclaiming the Past: African Americans Along the American River” is both a tribute to California’s African American pioneers and a celebration of the emancipation of American slaves. It’s also designed to enlist community support for an interpretive center at Negro Bar State Park depicting the African American experience in 19th-century California. Negro Bar was named for a sandbar on the American River where African Americans—free and enslaved—first worked gold claims in 1849.

“Our focus is on the history of this area and telling that story,” said Joe Moore, Juneteenth organizer and project director of the California State University, Sacramento Underground Railroad Digital Archive.

The Juneteenth celebration includes living history re-enactments of life in African American gold camps, a military encampment of buffalo soldiers, and a one-man show on the life of William Leidesdorff, a successful black San Francisco businessman who owned much of the land Folsom is built on. There will also be free wagon rides, gold panning and storytelling. Special activities for children include 19th-century games—hoop rolling, marbles and jacks—and a coloring contest.

The event has numerous community sponsors including CSUS. Participants are encouraged to bring picnic lunches, beverages and portable. There are no food vendors on the premises. Alcohol and glass containers are not permitted in the park.

For more information, call (916) 278-7302. For media assistance, contact CSUS public affairs at (916) 278-6156.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu