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"Meeting of Colored Citizens"

At least 2,000 African Americans participated in the California Gold Rush. Though some were brought as slaves by southern masters, many were free northern blacks who migrated west with other Americans. African Americans, even free citizens, however, did not enjoy the same rights as whites. In 1858, when word reached California of a new gold discovery near Vancouver, Canada, many considered migrating out of the country to where their rights would be more secure. A group of black leaders went to Canada on a scouting mission and returned with the information shared in this Sacramento newspaper notice. Many black Californians soon left for Canada.

A meeting was held at Zion Church last evening, by the colored people, which was attended by some three hundred persons. The object was to hear the report of their committee at Victoria, Vancouver Island, which was considered very favorable. It is the following: That their interview with the Governor was pleasant, and that he kindly welcomed them to the island; that public lands can be obtained at twenty shillings per acre, one-fourth to be paid down and the balance on installments in four years with interest at five per cent per annum, without taxes, and with the privilege of the elective franchise, sitting as jurors, and all the rights of citizens—after a residence of nine months.

Source | “Meeting of Colored Citizens,” May 7,1858; The California Underground Railroad Digital Archive,
Creator | Unknown
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | Unknown, “"Meeting of Colored Citizens",” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed March 24, 2023,

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