Defining a New California (continued)  Click image to see larger view
Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California, San Francisco, 1856, RB 42781

Although the California Constitution of 1849 outlawed slavery, state law forbade African Americans from testifying or serving on juries in any court cases that involved white people. The Colored Citizens Conventions of 1855 and 1856 agitated against this and other social and legal barriers faced by black Californians.

"It is with pride I say it, we are showing to our white fellow-citizens that we have some natural abilities; we are resolved to let them see that all we want is an equal chance, an open field, and a fair fight….We intend to disprove the allegation that we are naturally inferior to them." E. A. Booth of Nevada County at the Second Colored Citizen’s Convention, December 1856. Click here to read the introduction to the conventions’ proceedings.

Part 4: Legacies of El Dorado

California 150

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