The Native Voices of Madera County: An Oral History Project

For the 2023-2024 school year, students in Madera South High School’s historical literacy course plan to conduct oral history interviews with Madera County indigenous people. In their research thus far, students have found that most historical accounts of native peoples are written from non-native perspectives. The goal of this oral history project is for local […]

‘Great Imposter’ came to Madera

For The Madera Tribune - Before he came to Madera County in 1964, to open up a school for boys in North Fork, Fred Demara had already built a national reputation as a con man. Demara had successfully passed himself off as a civil engineer, a lawyer, an editor, a teacher, and a surgeon. So outlandish were his exploits that Hollywood made a movie of his life

People called Ferdinand Waldo Demara the world’s greatest con man and for good reason. He had such persuasive skills that his life story was made into a book and a movie, the titles of which were, not surprisingly, “The Great Imposter.” Born in 1921, by the time he was thirty years old, Fred Demara had […]

Blackface in Madera

Blackface Jamboree - Madera Lions club event - first half of the 20th century

“Living black and white,” or should we say, “Black on white?” Either way, there has been a lot of talk recently about something that was once considered quite acceptable — Blackface minstrels. Some research suggests that the idea began in earnest around 1900 as comedic performances of “blackness” by whites in exaggerated costumes and make-up. […]

MHS — 5 graduates — 2-hour program

1905 Madera High Graduates

For the first time in the history of Madera High School, in 1905 its senior class did not graduate in Athletic Hall on Yosemite Avenue. The commencement exercises took place in the assembly room of the brand-new High School building on L Street. Therefore, it is entirely understandable that excitement would fill the air on […]

The Madera Method Goes Digital / El Método Madera se vuelve digital

The Madera Method website's homepage

More than a teaching tool, a community conversation / Más que una herramienta de enseñanza, tambien es una conversación comunitaria By Frédéric Martin, Editor-in-Chief / Jefe de redacción “We need a new website” Madera Method Founder Bill Coate announced after sharing an old archived 1990s Madera Method site; Bill wanted a new front window to […]

Holding on to the Hensley family

For The Madera Tribune - Olive Hensley is shown here with her sons Leonard and Earl and her husband; we are just not sure which husband, Charles Hensley or Walter Hensley?

It was Sunday night, and all was calm in Madera, or at least it appeared to be. No one at the shooting gallery on Yosemite had any idea what was going on in the mind of Charles Hensley. They didn’t know that he would be dead before midnight. The 32-year-old lumberman, son of Thomas Jefferson […]


Bill Coate and students in a Madera Method classroom setting

By Bailey Giersch, Communications Technician Madera Unified 8th-graders are correcting history by putting the horrific acts of Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam on trial. The year is 1955. 14-year-old Chicago-born, African American teenager Emmett Till is in Mississippi visiting relatives. When he goes to a convenience store, Till is accused of inappropriately flirting with Carolyn […]

The Madera Method – Interview with Bill Coate

By Frédéric Martin, Editor-in-Chief, We Believe Newspaper Later This year, the Madera Method will be thirty-five years old. History teacher Bill Coate launched the innovative and prolific practice at the onset of the 1984-1985 school year in his 6th-grade class at Howard school. Earlier that year, one of his friends informed Bill of an abandoned […]

Reliving Madera’s past

Original Students of the first Madera Method Project: The Minturn Chronicles

The Minturn Scholars come home Thirty-four years after they made national news and drew a world-renowned author to Madera, Howard School’s Minturn Scholars met again Thursday to celebrate the latest chapter in the story of their uncommon achievement. As honored guests of Madera Unified, School District, they gathered in the library of Madera South High […]

Pete Cardoza: The passing of a legend

Pete Cardoza

When Pete Cardoza died in May 1967, The Tribune called him a legend, and indeed he was, but not for the reasons the local newspaper cited. True enough, three years earlier he was honored as the Grand Marshal in the Old Timers parade. True enough, everyone remembered him as the man who tied his horse […]

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