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Early Juneteenth Photo Evidence

During the past six months I’ve been triresly looking for evidence of Black fiddlers of the past. It’s been quite an experience, and often a struggle in trying to identify a given image. Who’s that men, or those men in front of the lens? Almost no women where out there playing the fiddle at dances or celebrations. I did learn that at least two of the Snowden's girls where part of the traveling family troupe and I owe that to Howard and Judy Sacks who welcomed me at their home in Mount Vernon (Ohio) last month. But of all the images found, the one that impressed me the most was the stringband of musicians in Austin, Texas.

The photo is believe to have been taken by Grace Murray Stephenson on June 19th, 1900 during a Juneteenth celebration. The 120 year old image has been retouched and enhance to use in Black Fiddlers and I believe it makes an important point concerning the fact that Juneteenth it’s been here all along, at least since the day Mr. Stephenson captured the likeness of these distinguished men in Austin.

Early Juneteenth Celebration. Texas, 1900
Photo by Grace Murray Stephenson

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