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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

[CA] Slavery in San Joaquin County

Being a slave in Stockton isn't the most talked about subject, because it's not something most people want to remember. Local historian Grant Louis Ashley comes back to inform people what it was like for many people of color to live in Stockton.

"Peter Singer explained a brilliant way slaves were treated -- like animals," said Ashley in his opening. "Whites didn't take slaves seriously...They're not a member of our species, just like animals. They were beaten, hung, etc. because they were (a) different species."

In 1849 many blacks were freed or escaped from work in the gold mines to satisfy other roles, such as bootblacks, wheelwrights, washwomen, express men, barbers, and civil rights activists.

The first state convention of colored citizens was held in Sacramento in 1855.

"This was upward mobility for negroes (in) testimony law," said Ashley. "This was a powerful law in 1852."

In 1852, over 60 slaves of African descent were living around Stockton in the free state of California, but they were known to be free "with a wink." A law was passed 1952 that blacks could not testify on behalf of their family, only whites. This law was on the agenda of the 1855 convention
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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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