Juneteenth and upcoming events

Good evening – Hopefully everyone is enjoying the heat.

Juneteenth – Hopefully everyone had an opportunity to celebrate Juneteenth, officially Juneteenth National Independence Day.   This recent holiday commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger ordered the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas at the end of the American Civil War.  Although this date commemorates enslaved people learning of their freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation, this only applied to former Confederate states. There remained legally enslaved people in states that never seceded from the Union. These people did not gain their freedom until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution on December 6, 1865.

If you have an opportunity to visit some of the local burial sites in the area it is worth it to learn about the history of the area as well as respect this new Federal holiday even more.  The two main sites that I am aware of are as follows:

Lamington Black Cemetery – 19th century burial ground on the National Register of Historic Places. There are 97 identified graves here: 36 with names and 61 unknowns, including former slaves and free blacks who were members of the Lamington Presbyterian Church. Remains of 5 Civil War veterans who fought heroically for the Union are here. As you walk through the grounds, note the Bible passages on some of the markers and enjoy the feeling of peace.  Several of our gravel rides pass this sacred location and on occasion we do stop by to pay respect.

African Burying Ground 1801: On June 22, 1801, three African Men – one free negro and two slaves – purchased on tenth of an acre of land from Aaron Melick for the sum of three dollars to establish a burying ground for the “Black people in this Neighborhood.” This is the earliest known purchase of land by slaves for burials in New Jersey. The free Negro’s name was Robert Aaron, a local beekeeper, and the two slaves were Aaron Melick’s Robert and Aaron Van Doren’s Yaff. The burying ground is one square chain (66′ x 66′) bounded on the west by the Hillside Avenue. In his 1889 book, “The Story of an Old Farm,” Andrew D. Melick, Jr. refers to the site as “God’s Acre.”

For more information, please refer to https://www.mrlocalhistory.org/honoring-black-history-month-in-the-somerset-hills/

Now some upcoming events to bring to your attention:

Somerset Patriots Baseball game on 6/21

30+ people have signed up for this great event.  A quick reminder that all individuals Ballpark BBQ Area with picnic tables and all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet with soft drinks (cash bar).  The Somerset Patriots who are a NY Yankees AA minor league team will be playing the Erie SeaWolves @7:05 PM.  The club subsidized the tickets, and we look forward to seeing you all in non-biking clothing.  Hopefully we all recognize each other.  LOL

AddressTD Bank Ballpark 1 Patriots Park, Bridgewater, NJ 08807

Semi-Annual Trek Inspection Ride – 7/14/24

Many of you remember that last year we launched our first ever Trek Inspection Rides starting from Trek Stirling’s location. These events were very well received with all participants receiving Trek’s free safety inspection on their bikes.  Jeff Sperling and team have been working the phones and Trek has partnered once again with MAFW to offer our members another free inspection in conjunction with our rides emanating from the Trek Stirling parking lot on Sunday, July 14th, 2023.  We will have rides posted shortly.  Members will receive a no obligation written inspection scorecard assessment of their bike.  Keep an eye out for additional details and the sign-ups on our website.  We are also in conversations about a gravel inspection date as well.   Stay tuned for additional details.

Fall Picnic – 9/22/24 – Schooley Mountain Park.  The MAFW Fall Picnic will be on Sunday September 22nd, at Schooley Mountain Park in Long Valley.  For those that have not ridden out of the park it’s a beautiful location and the rides are fantastic as well. The picnic is free (and you can bring a guest).  Please keep an eye out for the sign up so we know how many people to expect.

Revolutionary Ramble – Last but not least, the Board wanted to thank all those that provided sponsorship money, donated personal time or participated in this great event and climbed until they cried uncle- LOL.     The weather was perfect, and the rides went off without a hitch.   All the profits are donated to the local EMS Squads, NICA and other bike related organizations.  In addition, ride participants donated a significant number of bikes to the Boys and Girls Club for refurbishment.  This event demonstrates what a great club we have and is a key component of our “brand.”  To pull this off takes a lot of planning – more than I ever imagined and it would not be possible without our members.   Please get involved and help us continue to grow this event to being one of the best and “biggest” events in NJ.

See you out on the road

Joseph Reo

MAFW President

Leave a Comment