Juneteenth – Preserving History While Caring for the People


Juneteenth Santa Barbara

Members of Juneteenth Santa Barbara hosted a community event on Sunday, June 19, 2022, commemorating the history and of African-American residents of Santa Barbara County, and looking forward to “Caring for the People” today, and into the future.

The City of Santa Barbara, through a grant from the California Office of Historic Preservation, has developed a document entitled, Draft: Santa Barbara African American and Black Historic Context Statement that explores the themes, events, people, and places important to the African American and Black community in Santa Barbara.

This effort will help to recognize landmarks and sites of historical significance to the Black community in the City of Santa Barbara, and to all residents of Santa Barbara County, as well.

You may review the Santa Barbara  Context Statement online. The City of Santa Barbara Historic Landmarks Commission will hold a public hearing to review the draft. The hearing will begin at 1:30pm on July 6, 2022, at 630 Garden Street in the City of Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara County Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee

Santa Barbara County also has a Historic Landmarks Advisory Committee. From their website:

The purpose of the Historic Landmarks Advisory Commission (HLAC) is to promote the economic welfare and prosperity of the County by preserving and protecting those places, sites, buildings, structures, works of art and other objects having a special historic or aesthetic character or interest, for the use, education and view of the general public and to remind the citizens of this County and visitors from elsewhere of the background of the County.

A list of Santa Barbara County’s historical landmarks recognized by the Committee, along with a description of each site, can be found online, here.

A Santa Barbara Girl

The photo of the young girl, above, was taken in Santa Barbara by James Dearden Holmes, in about 1925. I found the photo on  Ninskaphotos, an Etsy seller’s website:

This photo is from a collection of 9,391 images titled ‘World Travel’ by British photographer James Dearden Holmes (1873-1937). Holmes travelled the world for three years and his trip has been dated from immigration records to 1925-1927. All of the images were taken with a stereoscopic camera and most of the photos from this world trip are not available anywhere else. Holmes travelled extensively across Asia and the Americas.

Healing Justice Santa Barbara is actively seeking information, photos, or archived materials that are a part of Black history in Santa Barbara County. If you have any to share, please contact Healing Justice Santa Barbara at HJSB.org.

William Henry Harrison, Jr – Inspiring United States History

The photo of the African American man, above, is William Henry Harrison, Jr, author and publisher of a book entitled, Colored Girls’ and Boys’ Inspiring United States History and a Heart to Heart Talk About White Folks. In his book, published in 1921, Mr. Harrison stated that as a young man of 15 years, he loved to learn about history. He was “hurt not to find any history, except about slavery, in such books concerning the American Negro.”

He was determined that someday he would write about the great accomplishments of African American poets, orators, artists, and other professionals to encourage young children by providing a true history for “colored girls and boys upon whose noble efforts and achievements will rest the foundation for the future success of the Negro race…”

The book provides an unflinching account of the history of African Americans in the United States. Mr. Harrison partnered with more than 100 African American partners from around the country to compile a list of individuals who had made contributions to the country and who had achieved success in the fields of art, science, sports, medicine, education, law, politics, and the military. Mr. Harrison also wrote about the harsh realities of life for African Americans in the 1920s, while giving children hope and encouragement for their futures.

Lessons in California History

The book, Lessons in California History, published in 1922, was typical of history books approved for use in California public schools in the 1920s. Written by Harr Wagner, author and publisher of educational books used widely throughout California’s public school system, and by Mark Keppel, educator and Superintendent of Los Angeles County Schools throughout the 1920s. Their version of California’s history was very much typical for the time.

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