From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: California | Racial Justice
Should Black History be erased from the California Gold Rush?
by Khubaka, Michael Harris
Wednesday Feb 13th, 2019 5:36 PM
Over $4,000,000.00 US dollars of gold was estimated as placer mined at Negro Bar in the early years, 1848-1854 by Theodore Judah, Surveyor and Civil Engineer, for the first passenger Railroad west of the Mississippi River.
In the early days of the California Gold Rush, Negro Bar, California was officially recognized as the first Mining Camp along today’s American River Parkway, Sacramento County.

By 1849, the town of Negro Bar was growing into an early regional transportation hub for the first Mining District, today’s City of Folsom, California.

Over $4,000,000.00 US dollars of gold was estimated as placer mined at Negro Bar in the early years, 1848-1854 by Theodore Judah, Surveyor and Civil Engineer, for the first passenger Railroad west of the Mississippi River.

In 1854, his Sacramento Valley Railroad survey was published showing the proposed route from Negro Bar, Sacramento County to the City of Sacramento.

Earlier In 1845, Negro Bar Camp was the geographic feature shown at the northeastern part of Leidesdorff Ranch, a Mexican Land Grant entitled to the “African Founding Father of California” who owned and operated a vast wheat and cattle agribusiness on the southwestern part of his 35,500 acre property as to not to disturb the Nisenan/Miwok people, as uniquely stipulated on his original land grant title.

Spring of 1848, Honorable William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr. commissioned and received official reports with samples, of “probable” vast sums of gold on his property along the south bank of the American River, with “poachers” mining throughout the area. Many regional and national newspapers, along with the official Sacramento Valley Railroad survey map document the exact location of the town of Negro Bar, California.

Burials within Negro Bar Cemetery (1846-1849) remain part of interments within Lakeside Cemetery, yet few verified records are public record lost in the transition from Mexican to American rule.

“Hidden Figures” will be discovered within International Archives, Private Collections, CA State Archives and CA State and University Libraries where we can officially quantify and qualify the early Afro-Latino presence in Alta California and California Pan African Pioneers during the transition from Mexican rule to U.S. statehood.

Today, a broad based coalition is essential to “rediscover” a very taboo subject and have a challenging conversation given entrenched support that values and/or honors systemic institutional racism best shared in 1849 during the proceedings of the California Constitutional Convention in Monterey, CA and original legislation created throughout the first California Legislative Session in San Jose, CA.

Today, historical amnesia, racial intolerance and ole fashion hatred leads the effort toward removing all record of people of Pan African Ancestry along the American River Parkway.

Together, 170 years later we are poised to review and analyze the data points to educate and advocate California leaders to demonstrate a very timely will and steadfast determination to discover, research, authenticate, preserve and interpret the fragmented primary source documents of private and official State of California records in a special way to celebrate our unique journey towards a greater measure of freedom throughout the 1849 Sacramento region, State, Nation and World.

The discovery of gold in the mill trace at Sutter's Lumber Mill by a diverse workforce along the South Fork of the American River in Coloma Valley forever changed Alta California during the Mexican/US War. Our unique spark within the Golden Legacy of California continues to impact the world.

James Marshall, construction foreman at Sutter’s Lumber Mill, reportedly rode through a very heavy rainstorm to report the discovery at Sutter’s Fort. Beginning in 1839, Johann Sutter, an immigrant from Switzerland, was granted extensive land in Alta California by the Mexican Government to control the fertile region at the confluence of the Sacramento and American River.

The early discovery of gold was known to only the diverse workers of Native America, Pan African, European and Mormon workers who promised to finish the lumber mill and placer mine in their spare time. Those early miners were rewarded for their labor with easy gold mining success.

Word of the discovery of gold began to spread and subsequent verification of additional gold sites on Rancho Rio De Los Americanos, Leidesdorff Ranch were leaked to the public. The untimely sudden death and burial of the “African Founding Father of California,” on May 18, 1848, was followed the very next day with a very public announcement of gold, gold, gold along the American River triggering the world’s first global news story.

By the summer of 1849, migrants from all over the world would make their way to California's gold fields by ship, wagon, horseback, and on foot. People from the Pan African Diaspora, from all over the world, were among the first immigrants in California to find hard work to find wealth along a large mile long gravel bar located on the south bank of the lower American River, in today’s City of Folsom.

Most early placer miners were forced to leave the gold diggings at Negro Bar in 1852, given record levels of a spring flood reported 30ft above normal and the passage of the 1852 California Fugitive Slave Law as Texas Hill and Virginia Mining Companies brought enslaved labor from the South into the Gold Mining District.

California pioneers of Pan African ancestry moved to other nearby gold fields such as Negro Hill, Negro Flat, Mormon Island, Salmon Falls and Massachusetts Flat where these gold mining camps were even more successful, the town Negro Hill then became a regional hub.

Today, we celebrate 2019 California Black History Month, featuring the 170th Anniversary of the establishment of the town Negro Bar, California, represented in the Folsom Lake Recreation Area, part of the California State Parks System.

We call upon California historians, Business leaders and Political leaders to join us to research, preserve and interpret California's first gold mining region established in 1848, honoring the history and legacy of California Pioneers of Pan African Ancestry in the California Gold Rush, in perpetuity.

Together, we are poised to pitch the importance of long term investment during our yearlong 170th Anniversary Year of Negro Bar, Sacramento County, California utilizing both private and public resources to research, document, preserve and interpret our unique contributions to the forward flow of humanity during the California Gold Rush Era, (1840-1875).

We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


donate now

$ 77.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network