Social History for Every Classroom


Social History for Every Classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

"Colored Men in the Mines"

Though discriminated against in California, African-American miners often shared the same prejudices as white Americans towards Chinese immigrants. At other times, immigrants and African Americans found common purpose in work and leisure. This newspaper reports on a shared encampment where both groups worked together and where black miners established a lyceum, or public high school, and invited Chinese and white miners to attend lectures and other educational offerings. The newspaper reporter calls the Chinese immigrants “silvery-tongued,” noting, as many Americans did, the unusual song-like quality of the Chinese language to English-speakers’ ears.

COLORED MEN IN THE MINES—The Amador Sentinel, speaking of the vicinity of Lancha Plana, says: 

There is a gulch near the town, containing about one hundred Chinese, occupied in mining and trading among themselves. A large number of negroes are in this camp, who seem to be quite peaceable and industrious. 

Again, speaking of Poverty Bar, the editor says: 

The colored inhabitants in the vicinity have established a lyceum, and are shedding the light of knowledge over the darkened understandings of their white and ‘silvery-tongued’ neighbors.”

Source | “Colored Men in the Mines,” 1858; The California Underground Railroad Digital Archive,
Creator | Unknown
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | Unknown, “"Colored Men in the Mines",” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 1, 2023,

Print and Share