African American Pioneers of California
Learn about the history of African American pioneers and their achievements in California.
Learn about the African American Pioneers of California
Joe: The history of African American in the Central Valley begins like it does for many others who came when gold was discovered in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s Mountain in California. Shortly after, the largest migration of the people the world has ever known rushed west. Caucasians, Asians, Latinos flooded the gold fields and in smaller numbers African American. Some of them came on their own their own as “freemen”. Others, enslaved, accompanied their white owners.
Whether slave or free, their motivation remained the same. Like others who make their way here, African American had the idea or the inspiration to get rich quick, to be able to find enough gold to do what they wanted to do economically, financially and socially which in many cases meant becoming rich enough if you were a slave for instance, to buy your freedom or the freedom of relatives and if you were freemen to be able to have enough of the stake in your society to be able to buy land to produce property back east.
Among the places African American Argonauts or gold seekers found “pay dirt” was along a bend in the American River. A gold-flecked spit of sand called “Negro Bar” near the present-day city of Folsom. It was part of a Mexican land grant belonging to William Alexander Leidesdorff, the son of a Danish father and African-Caribbean mother. For African Americans and other miners, Negro Bar provided refuge.
Joe Louis Moore: What made it unique was that this was a safe community for African American, for Chinese, for Chileans, for Mexicans to pan for gold. One of the things during the gold rush was that people of color had no rights in California, so if a white person wanted to jump your claim they could do it with impunity and get way with it, so here because of the numbers people were able to band together in creating a safe community in this area.
Joe Oliver: The trip to the California goldfields, whether by ship or across the wide and forbidding continent, was a dangerous undertaking. At the end of the vast, to desolate desert called,” Humboldt Sink”, gold seekers faced the towering Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The trek over the mountains was made easier and safer because of this man. James Beckwourth, African American mountain man, trail blazer. In 1850 Beckwourth discovered the lowest past over the Sierra Nevada which is roughly equivalent to what is now State Route 70 that goes from Chilcoot, California to Oroville, California and that particular Route is now known as “Beckwourth Pass”.
Joe: Beckwourth carved the trail through the mountains and in the summer of 1851, led his first wagon train “Beckwourth Pass” and into the valley town of Marysville. California entered the union as a free state in 1850. Nevertheless, state officials were often unwilling to challenge slaveholders. In 1852, 300 African American were still considered enslaved in California.
Slavery was finally and successfully challenged in the courts by the case Archy Lee, a slave born in Mississippi and brought to Sacramento by his owner. Lee tried to escape when his master refused to free him, but in 1858 a federal magistrate ruled in Lee’s favor. Freedom from slavery and the freedom to pursue opportunity attracted men like William Robeson, who became a Pony Express rider and later, a Stockton-based stage driver for Wells Fargo.
Moses Rodger became a prominent citizen of Stockton. Before he moved west, he had worked as a miner on the east coast. That experience paid off during the Gold Rush.
Leon Ross: His master sent him out here to find out what was going on about all this stuff they heard about California and when he came out in California and he found out he was free he decided to stay. Moses Rodgers became the superintendent of two mines in the southern lode.
Joe: African American women also played a part in gold rush history. On her way to California by wagon train 10 year old Mary Elizabeth Snelling was forced to hide in a sugar barrel when Native Americans mistook her for kidnapped Indian girl. The Snellings arrive safely and settled in Merced County.
George Palmer: She was a very dynamic, a lady with vision.
Joe: Among the most inspiring stories is that of Nancy Gooch. Nancy and her husband Peter were brought as slaves to California and were soon freed. Industrious and determined, they quickly made a name for themselves in the town of Coloma where the Gold Rush began.
George Palmer: Nancy started washing, ironing, and cooking for the miners. Peter did construction and farming and by 1858, they had saved up enough money to buy 80 acres of property and then in 1861 Peter died leaving Nancy here by herself.
Joe: Despite her husband’s death, Nancy continued to thrive. She had children in Missouri, still enslaved and she wanted them free. In fact, it’s been said that one of her children was sold to finance the master’s trip to the goldfields. Her oldest child, named Andrew Monroe was a grown man with two children of his own by the time his mother had saved enough for his trip to California.
Clarence Caesar: We don’t know if Nancy was able to purchase the freedom of her son by the time the Civil War started, but we do know that in 1870, five years after the Civil War ended she was able to pay for the transportation of her son and his family out to California and Andrew Monroe arrived in Coloma in 1870.
Joe: Through the years, the Monroe family became so successful they ended up owning the actual place on the American River where gold was discovered in 1848. The original home site and blacksmith shop are part of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, where Osborne West place one of Nancy’s grandsons Jim Monroe.
Osborne West: This property right here would be the first parcel that Monroe owned actually my grandmother Nancy bought this piece of property for when my daddy got here, he has something to do. This is—and they called the Monroe Orchard, you can still see few of the trees out here.
Joe: Not far from the small parent apple Orchard Nancy once formed. You’ll come across Coloma’s Historic Cemetery. Shaded by oak and Loral trees, a simple stone marks the final restring place of the Gooch/Moroes. Pioneers who’ve earned the permanent position in California history and whose legacy lives on.
A century after the Gold Rush, the Monroe family sold most of their property to the State of California and used the proceeds to help fund the Sacramento chapter of the NAACP.
African American Pioneers of California
are a great way to decorate a place and they come in many types of shapes and sizes. This is a simple informative on the African American figurines...
Jimmie Lee Solomon knows all about the dwindling number of African Americans in baseball. He acknowledges that it\'s a concern, he understands that it could be a while before change in the opposite direction is noticeable and he ......
Lipo Some African american is Nutrex\'s first dietary supplement in the whole world of \"hardcore\" fat burners....
A wig can be the immediate answer to someone having balding problems or desiring a new look....
The African American Samurai (AAS) is a true hero. They are the warriors of warriors. These warriors have seen many things in their time. They have serviced their country. They have been honored members of the world, husbands to their wives and great fathers to their children. They are part of their nation's great history. They also have a great part in its present and its countless futures. All in all they have been and will continue to be great men....
If you are looking for a way to change up your hairstyle very quickly and dramatically, you should consider African American hair extensions for an easy solution. You can choose to use single braids or clip on hairpieces to change the way that your hair looks...
It is important for African American children to have African American dolls. Child psychologists say that doll play is valuable for many reasons, including self-esteem and ideals of beauty....
If you are a black American and you're looking for a scholarship then you are in luck because there are hundreds of opportunities available to you right now. An African American scholarship gives you money for your education so that you are not forced to resort to an expensive student loan scheme that will leave you in debt for many years....
In a list of famous African Americans, we will definitely come across the name of James Lafayette. James Lafayette is also known as James Armistead, and his contributions to the United States of America began during the American Revolution....
With the increasing change in our lifestyle, there are many lifestyle diseases that are on the rise. Lifestyle diseases have claimed millions of lives and the menace is still to continue with no apparent change in our diet and lifestyle. One of the lifestyle diseases that are claiming million of lives is type II diabetes. Diabetes which leads to reduced absorption of sugar in the body leading to h...