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Central Valley | Racial Justice

2012 Juneteenth ~ Negro Hill, California
by michael harris
Thursday Jun 7th, 2012 5:31 AM
In 1862, Negro Hill, California was an amazing community in Gold Rush California. Documented plans for the U.S. Trans-Continental Railroad included the regional hub of Negro Hill, California. The modern celebration of freedom, Juneteenth, is a time to reflect on the ongoing journey towards freedom that includes bringing honor, dignity and respect to the early California Pioneers of African Ancestry. The Negro Hill Burial Ground Project continues the journey toward completing the project as outlined since last century. The 150th Anniversary of the creation of the United States Department of Agriculture and Emancipation Proclamation is part of the Negro Hill story, Juneteenth 2012 in Gold Rush California will include cultural tourism to the historic American River Parkway to include Negro Village, Leidesdorff Ranch, Negro Bar, Negro Hill, and Coloma. Sadly, the primary source documentation for the contributions of people of African Ancestry in California Gold Rush Era, continues to disappear and remain hidden from normal historic preservation standards and practice.

~ Working Draft ~
Proposed Resolution Negro Hill Cemetery
El Dorado County, California

Whereas, Negro Hill, California was established in 1848, by people of African descent who migrated from throughout the United States to include: Virginia, Massachusetts, Georgia, North Carolina and from many other places yet to be discovered through primary source documentation of governmental archives, private insurance records, ship manifests, genealogy records and oral traditions, and

And Whereas, high above the confluence of the North Fork and South Fork of American River, “a peninsula of granite and quartz infused with gold” they created a community destined to become one of the largest towns of the American River Gold Mining District, site of home of the California Gold Rush. Negro Hill, California began as a welcoming community of all races, ethnicities and religions yearning for a greater measure of freedom, and

Whereas, the Civil Usage House, Negro Hill Town Hall, served as a regional center to discuss civic responsibility, community service and racial justice. Negro Hill Methodist Church and Negro Hill Public School attracted multiethnic members and students that challenged the racial prejudice of the day, and

Whereas, Negro Hill, California was an early home to a young Leland Stanford, Stanford University and a young Charles Crocker, Central Pacific Railroad and home to one of the largest China towns in early California History. In 1856, the community of Mormon Island suffered a catastrophic fire, and many residents who were terrorized crossed over Shaw Bridge on the South Fork of the American River and were welcomed into the surrounding Negro Hill community, and

Whereas, in 1863, during the U.S. Civil War, the peninsula region of Negro Hill, then part of Placer County, was annexed by El Dorado County through State Legislature under the guideance of then Governor Leland Stanford. By the end of the California Gold Rush Era the natural flora and fauna of the American River Basin suffered ongoing environmental challenges following commercial gold mining operations. The Negro Hill Ditch Company helped provide a year round pristine water source, an interconnected conveyance system that successful brought the regional pioneer agriculture communities together; elements of that public works project are still operational today, and

Whereas, the Flood Control Act of 1944 provided authorization for Folsom Reservoir on the American River to provide for public safety to the regional community. The planning and construction of Folsom Dam began after the close of World War II with a plethora of national, state and local government agencies supporting small, medium and large private contractors to build Folsom Dam and Reservoir, and

Whereas, many Gold Rush Era cemeteries and individual graves were reinterred at Mormon Island Relocation Cemetery in 1954, including 36 found at Negro Hill Cemetery. The incorrect foul and racist description replaced the correct name of Negro Hill Cemetery and today the story of the egregious human and civil rights violations seeks truth and recocilliation, and

Whereas, May 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accepted responsibility and released volumes of original records from 1951 to 1961 showing the incorrect name during the 50th Anniversary of the notarized transfer of title from the Secretary of the Army to the Chair of the County of El Dorado Board of Supervisors, May 1961, and

Whereas, in 1998, El Dorado County Cemetery Commission led by Sue Silver attempted to change the grave markers and was not given authority to do so by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors. Chuck Caines and George Chan, Jr. first brought knowledge of the 36 grave markers to the community of African Americans. The Negro Hill Burial Ground Project was established and has built a national network of "united nations" volunteers and professionals consultants seeking a positive resolution that ensures “Dignity and Respect” for all early California Pioneers and especially those of African descent, today referred to as "Niggers" while preserving authentic history of Negro Hill, California for future generations, and

Whereas, on April 26, 2011, members of the Stockton Black Leadership Council, Stockton NAACP, Church of God in Christ, and Wo'se Community Church assembled as part of the Negro Hill Burial Ground Project and were denied the opportunity to make a full presentation before the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors yet spoke briefly during “information open forum.” The Board chair and a majority of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors members acknowledge no cognition to the very existence of the 36 grave markers that read, Unknown, Moved by Nigger Hill Cemetery by the U.S. Government in 1954, and

Whereas, it remains our proposal that the Negro Hill Burial Ground Project and many international sponaors and supporters, this 2012 United Nations International Year for Cooperatives African Descent, be allowed joint custody to preserve the remaining historic original grave markers and cooperatively create a working stakeholder group to erect a suitable monument with agreeable language through mediated consensus process by the U.S. Department of Justice. Together, we will host an international celebration, lead by Native Miwok elders as part of our sacred African ceremony for the souls of our ancestors, including requesting full United States Military Honor inviting the Interior Secretary, Education Secretary, Agriculture Secretary, Secretary of the Army and the President of the United States of America, and

Whereas, the Negro Hill Burial Ground Project and our fiscal sponsors will provide all funding and resources necessary toward fulfilling our civic responsibility to help bring forth “Dignity and Respect” for all California Pioneers and especially those of African descent, in a way that can bring closure and begin a new way forward, healing the hurt and injured, at no cost to El Dorado County, the State of California or the United States of America, and

Be it resolved, on this day... by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors to enact this resolution on behalf of the citizens of the Great State of California and the United States of America.
~ Draft IV ~
by aron gopal
Tuesday Nov 20th, 2012 1:31 PM
I know you awesome folks at indybay are not racists or bigots in any way, so I thought I would bring to your attention this fact: The image you have posted on this page for the above article "Negro Hill' is titled 'Nigger Hill Cemetary"... Just thought I would let you all know, so you could change it. I also sent a copy of this message to some State Gov Depts in Sac. Many Thanks
by *-*
Tuesday Nov 20th, 2012 8:44 PM
Hi Aron,
Indybay is an open-publishing website. The image you refer to was not posted by Indybay. It was posted by Michael Harris.
Hopefully you, and some State Gov Depts in Sac., learn about the tragic story of the flooding of Negro Hill.
You should also learn about the relocation of the cemetery, and the offensive grave stones for the people of Negro Hill.
Michael Harris is an expert as well as a regular contributor to Indybay.

Displacement and Denigration of the Cemetery for Negro Hills, California

Racist headstones marked the relocated resting place of Negro Hills, California pioneers from 1954 - 2011. When the Folsom Dam was created in 1954, along with Folsom Lake, numerous communities, including those making up Negro Hills, were submerged under the water of the American River (previously known as el Rio de las Americas when the land was governed by Mexico). Before the communities were submerged, the cemeteries were dug up and moved to a location near the new lake called Mormon Island Relocation Cemetery. The cemetery is in present day El Dorado Hills, on Shadowfax Lane off of Green Valley Road next to Folsom Prison.


Buried in Anonymity, and Ignominy, Too