Celebrating History

August 30, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
One of the valley's first African American farming families is reuniting in Fowler this weekend for the family's 30th reunion. And this year, the Young's are also celebrating another special milestone. Thelma Wilson Young turned 100 years old this month."I'm still moving. I'm moving kinda slow, you can see I'm in a wheelchair here." said Wilson Young.

Wilson Young graduated from Fowler High School back in 1927. Her father was one of three brothers who moved to Fowler from South Carolina back in 1888, and they became some of the first African Americans to own farming land in the state.

Wilson young's cousin, Patrick, was one of the first students to graduate from Fowler High School and her uncle, Jordan, owned the land that turned into the city park. "He was the first one here in California and he owned the land. I don't know if he gave it to Fowler or he sold it but it was owned by my uncle and his name was Uncle Jordan," said Wilson Young.

As members of the young family reconnect this weekend, they are also trying to preserve history. The Fresno Historical Society recently gave the family copies of photographs taken during the turn of the 20th century. The hope was that the Young family would be able to identify the faces in the photos. But while family members recognized some of the places in the images, names proved to be a tougher task.

Wilson Young and many of her family members have since moved away from Fowler, but they still call Fresno County home. "We have family from San Diego to Marysville and it all started here," said Young family member Jim Browder of Los Angeles.

This weekend's reunion includes three generations of the Young family. Two of Wilson Young's cousins, both in their 90's, are also in Fowler for the weekend's festivities.

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