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Indybay Feature
California embracing a full measure of Juneteenth: Reclaiming the Past
by Khubaka, Michael Harris
Tuesday May 8th, 2018 8:53 PM
California Pan African Heritage poised to take responsibility for the Black Hole of systemic institutional racism celebrated. Juneteenth at Negro Bar California State Park this 170th Anniversary of the California Gold Rush may spark a positive way forward...
For Official Global Consideration

WHEREAS, Throughout the State of California, Juneteenth celebrates a special National Freedom Day, recognizing a major military milestone by securing the last controlled Confederate Port at Galveston Island, Texas and US Colored Troops leading the way for a seven week campaign of Freedom throughout Texas and the Southwest. June 1865, both free and enslaved, people of California Pan African Heritage are some of the earliest known residents and pioneers throughout California and have unique story. Reclaiming the Past: Juneteenth Celebration remains part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, National Parks Service; and

WHEREAS, In 1844, Honorable William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr., “African Founding Father of California” became US Vice Consul to Mexico and acquired a vast Mexican Land Grant, the 35,500 acre Rancho Rio De Los Americanos that includes much of today’s City of Rancho Cordova, City of Folsom and parts of Sacramento County. Leidesdorff Ranch, his active cattle and wheat agricultural enterprises was contracted to help feed, clothe and house the First Regiment of New York Volunteers, commanded by Col. Jonathan D. Stevenson, sent by President Polk to “Conquer and Colonize” California during the Mexican War, 1846-1847; and

WHEREAS, In January 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill and sparked a massive world migration to California; people of African ancestry both free and enslaved were an important part of the mass migration to the Gold Mining Districts. April 1848 verified reports by Pierson Reading and James Marshall documents large quantities of gold near Negro Bar, part of Leidesdorff Ranch; May 1848 Leidesdorff died mysteriously and is buried inside Mission Delores, San Francisco; and

WHEREAS, people of Pan African ancestry came to California and established vibrant communities along the American River Basin beginning outside Sutter’s Fort; Negro Village, Negro Bar, Negro Hill, and Coloma. The contributions by people of African Ancestry in early California history is worthy of greater research, documentation and preservation; and

WHEREAS, these early California pioneers of African ancestry engaged in an array of activities including production agriculture, gold mining, building churches and schools while struggling to secure equal rights and opportunities. The California Colored Convention Movement at St. Andrews AME Church anchored the task to challenge California systemic institutional racism and provide material support for over 200,000 US Colored Troops and Naval personnel during the US Civil War, and

WHEREAS, after the US Civil War, July 1866, the Buffalo Soldiers were established as segregated US Army regiments to provided National Security throughout the Southwest. Later as part of the Pacific Command, in the Philippines, Hawaii and Mexico, the Buffalo Soldiers garrisoned at the Presidio , San Francisco and were the first National Park Rangers, helping develop and secure Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks; and

WHEREAS, the our diverse community residing throughout the Great State of California is beginning to expand the official research, documentation and preservation of the history and culture of our California pioneers of African ancestry whose efforts enrich us all.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by ………………………….., we do hereby recognize

Reclaiming the Past: Juneteenth Celebration at Negro Bar California State Park, Saturday, June 9, 2018 and encourage all California residents and international tourists to become aware of the vast contributions by our “hidden figures” of California Pan African Heritage. Join us to feature the Buffalo Soldiers who helped to preserve our natural resources thus 170th Anniversary Year of the California Gold Rush at Negro Bar, California State Park.

Offered for consideration by

Michael Harris, Chair, California Black Agriculture Working Group

Blackagriculture [at] (916) 346-3327

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