BY JOHN TIPTON
About 100 people, including many local officials, turned out on June 19 for the third annual Juneteenth celebration at Courthouse Park in Madera. Black Saints United and the City of Madera, with support from the Madera chapter of the NAACP, sponsored the event. Longtime Madera County resident Barbara Faye Nelson was recognized as this year’s Trailblazer.
Juneteenth is celebrated every year on or about June 19 to commemorate the end of the American Civil War and freedom for the former slaves. It was proclaimed by Union General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, two months after the war officially ended—a fact the slaves in Texas were unaware of until then and that the slave owners claimed they didn’t know.
The proclamation also occurred more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation made by President Abraham Lincoln, which officially freed slaves liberated in the rebellious Confederate states, though not at the time in the border states that remained loyal to the Union.
More than 12 million Africans were enslaved and transported to America between 1825 and 1866. Enslaved Africans were also shipped to the rest of the continent.
Photos by John Tipton