|Vol. 8 No. 12
JUNE 13, 2013
Publisher & Editor
Clarita G. Mendoza
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Rebecca Her, Heidi
Pascual, & Martinez White
Al and Jan and Juneteenth
remember. I sat on a South Madison board or two with Al in the 1980s when Al worked at Wisconsin Power
& Light. And Al was a regular with the 100 Black Men of Madison picnic and Jan with Women in Focus and
the granting of the I Have a Dream Scholarships.
Al and Jan were fixtures at many a social gathering, whether it was the Women in Focus I Have a Dream
Ball every January, the occasional 100 Black Men Gala or Dane Dances. On occasion, Al rode his
motorcycle in the Juneteenth parade. They were great people.
When he would meet people, Al would always have a big smile and a big handshake. He touched a lot of
lives through his work at Madison College, returning to teaching after being laid off by WP&L. He went
through some changes back then, an occupational transition relatively late in his career and he dedicated his
life to making sure that the transitions that others experienced were as short as they could possibly be. At
67-years-of-age, Al had no plans to retire that I had heard. He loved his work.
I was surprised to learn how old Al and Jan were. They each had a vitality that seemed ageless. They loved
life and were one classy couple. While we mourn their loss, if there is any silver lining to this tragedy, it is
that they died doing what they loved doing, on a cross-country motorcycle trip and they died together. There
is no thinking about Al or Jan without thinking about Al and Jan.
Their death is a tragic loss for their son Eric and his family and for the entire Madison community. Their
example of hard work, entrepreneurship, community service and love of life are irreplaceable. They will live
on in our hearts always. I will always remember that moment when I heard of their deaths. I will always
appreciate and admire how they lived their lives with dignity and class. Al and Jan, thanks for the memories!
Juneteenth, a state of Wisconsin holiday, is an important holiday to remember for it commemorates June 19,
1865 when the last African slaves in America learned about the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been
issued by President Abraham Lincoln two and a half years before. 2013 is the 150th year since the
Emancipation Proclamation was issued and it is important to remember the lessons of Juneteenth.
Every generation has to win its freedom anew. Freedom isn’t a fixed state of human existence because
human beings are always competing for scarce resources, power and positions of comfort and security.
This happens between nations and within nations. This dynamic will always create an underlying flux within
society that always has the possibility of depriving one or more classes of people the right to make decisions
over their own lives and a just and equal chance to compete in society for life, liberty and happiness.
So freedom is never guaranteed and must be won anew as we have seen with attempts to limit the right to
vote for many people, with an inordinate impact on African American and other voters of color. We must
always be vigilant and engaged to preserve our precious freedoms.
On June 15th, this Saturday, we celebrate Juneteenth here in Madison at Penn Park in South Madison from
11 a.m. with the kick-off parade and finishing at 6 p.m. There is going to be a lot of wonderful entertainment
this year in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Among
the musical talent that will grace our stages are world-class bassist Richard David, drumming legend Clyde
Stubblefield, jazz songstress divine Jan Wheaton. We also have José Madera — who is a member of
MadiSalsa — appearing with friends to present some Afro-Caribbean rhythms and a two-hour set by the
Hanah Jon Taylor Artet, a sweet jazz cap to the day’s events for Hanah and his fellow band members are
one of the best improve jazz groups in the Midwest.
I hope you will join us this year and rediscover what the celebration of Juneteenth is all about as Madison’s
African American community shares its cultural and historical contributions with all of the Madison
community. Remember and celebrate freedom. Celebrate Juneteenth!
It was one of those moments where you remember where you were. I was
on the highway delivering newspapers when Al Cooper called. He said, ‘Al
and Jan Studesville are dead.’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and
asked him to repeat what he had just said. ‘Al and Jan Studesville are dead.’
I couldn’t believe it. I had just seen Jan a couple of weeks before as I
always did, delivering newspapers to Just Nails. I would say hello and Jan
without looking up from the work that she was doing on her customer’s
nails would say hello and ask me what was new on occasion.
Al and Jan have been icons on the Madison for almost as long as I can