In 1908, an escaped slave turned army officer named Colonel Allen Allensworth founded a small town in California’s Central Valley where African Americans could thrive. Over the next decade some three hundred Black pioneers established a self-sufficient farming community with its own school, church, businesses, and municipal government. Although the community only flourished for a […]
Winner of the 2012 James D. Houston Award, Keenan Norris’s first novel is a beautiful, gritty, coming-of-age tale about two young African Americans in the San Bernardino Valley—a story of exceptional power, lyricism, and depth. Erycha and Touissant live only a few miles apart in the city of Highland, but their worlds are starkly separated […]
Although it is not generally apparent from paintings and other depictions of early California, many members of the pioneering Anza expeditions and Spanish California’s most prominent families were of mixed race—Hispanic, Indian, and African. At a time when slavery was still legal in the United States, these Afro-Latinos made major contributions to early California.
During World War II, Port Chicago was a segregated naval munitions base on the outer shores of San Francisco Bay. Black seamen were required to load ammunition onto ships bound for the South Pacific under the watch of their white officers—an incredibly dangerous and physically challenging task. On July 17, 1944, an explosion rocked the […]