Negro Hill Burial
Black Agriculture in
Gold Rush California
February 2-4, 2012
Negro Hill Burial Project ~ Providing Dignity and Respect for People of African Descent
The goal of the Negro Hill Burial Project is to compile primary source documentation of Black Agriculture during the California Gold Rush Era (1840-1865)
The U.S. Government and State of Califonria approved official designation of "niggers" of "unknown" California pioneers of African Descent.
Can you feel the vibration of “unknown” pioneers who cry out for justice?
The history of Negro Hill, California comes alive during the 2011 United Nation International Year for People of African Descent.
The town Negro Hill, California was founded in early 1848 along the South Fork of the American River, east of Leidesdorff Ranch, across Shaw Bridge up the ridge along Negro Hill Road.
Negro miners, farmers and ranchers were a very successful in early California history.
Ne'gro is a Spanish word for black, and used for several centuries throughout Spanish Alta and Baja California.
In the Rotunda of the California State Capitol, Christopher Columbus is on bended knee handing sharing with Spanish Queen Isabella a vision of the new world.
By 1804, the Haitian Independence facilitated a wave of successful freedom campains by people of African Descent.
In 1822, people of African Descent were leading of the battle for Mexican Independence.
Most major southern and eastern U.S. maritime ports restricted and/or prohibited ‘freeborn men’ and “emancipated” men of African ancestry from their lucrative career during in the Age of Sail.
The 1830 – 1850 Negro Seamen Acts that facilitated a mass migration of ‘expert’ Negro seamen. Many found great success relocating to port communities throughout Mexico, Caribbean, South America and the Pacific Rim, including Gold Rush San Francisco.
The Gold Rush of 1848 and California U.S. statehood in 1850 expedited an influx of industrious free men of African ancestry to California.
A seperate wave of enslaved Africans from the Southern United States often walked the difficult path to California and many found the path toward freedom elusive yet possible in the Mother Lode of the Gold Rush.
Negro Hills, CA is an extraordinary early Gold Rush community and maintains a golden historical legacy of the free migration of American citizens of African ancestry establishing a regional hub community in the Mining District of today’s El Dorado Hills region.
Mormon Island / Negro Hill was the hub of the Gold Rush Mining District, a regional community that included Salmon Falls, Massachusetts Flat, Chile Hill, Condemned Bar and many other smaller mining camps at the confluence of the North and South Fork of the American River.
By 1854, new portions of the deeply religious community of Negro Hill deteriorated into a wild west saloon filled places of ill repute, as the hub connecting many communities, the wicked, demonic nature of newly arrived pioneers seeking opportunity at the end of the “Gold Rush” was very unkind to people of African descent, who many treated as “property” without any human value.
The California State Legislature passed laws prohibiting Blacks from testifying in court, homesteading land, voting and access to equal public education, these and other environmental hazards helped to destroy the harmonious beginnings of Negro Hill, CA by the end of the U.S. Civil War.
Theft, fights and lynching were often encouraged because of the legal prohibition of equal access to the law in early California State History, many residents of Negro Hill moved to Canada.
In 1857, Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney proclaimed in his leading opinion of the Dred Scott case, “black folk have no rights that white folk are bound to respect.”
1855 - 1865, the California Colored Convention Movement began to address racial disenfranchisement, specific to ‘colored’ citizens in the State of California.
Negro Hill business community brought in stiff competition, the Crocker Anglo National Bank, Stanford Brothers Grocery and other “prominent California pioneer” families along “Gold River.”
Both Governor Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker learned and earned quite a bit of wisdom and capital while living in Negro Hill, California.
A portion Negro Hill Cemetery was relocated during the 1950's construction of Folsom Dam; however, government officials sought fit to rename Negro Hill, “Nigger Hill” on 36 “unknown” grave markers.
Today, well over $950,000,000.00, nearly a billion dollars will retrofit Folsom Dam, preserving a higher level of public safety, the original cause of relocating grave markers from the rising waters.
Today, the scientific methodology to identify, research and preserve authentic history of Negro Hill, California does exist.
An elevated measure of basic humanity that utilizes civil and human rights, environmental laws and unyeilding faith will help remove the word, Nigger, from the final resting place of early California pioneers.
We continue to identify a committed stakeholder team of broad based regional community support, the Office of Congressman Dan Lungren, leading California State Government officials a now working to officially document a “new beginning” towards a positive resolution.
The establishment of Negro Hill, California, as part of the Gold Rush of 1848, was a global event that brought many pioneers together seeking a greater measure of freedom.
The onging journey to showcase and preserve our authentic contribution to early California this United Nations International Year of People of African Descent is worthy of national and international support.
National Museum of African American History and Culture Act
If you study to remember,
you will forget,
but if you study to understand,
you will remember.
Council of the National Museum
of African American History and Culture
Richard Dean Parsons, Co-Chair, Chairman, Citigroup
Linda Johnson Rice, Co-Chair, Chief Executive Officer, Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.; Publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines
Laura W. Bush, Former First Lady of the United States
James Ireland Cash, Jr., Retired James E. Robison Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean of Harvard Business School Publishing, Harvard Graduate School of Business
Kenneth Irvine Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express Company
Ann Marie Fudge, Retired Chairman and CEO, Young & Rubicam, Inc.
James A. Johnson, Vice Chairman, Perseus LLC; former Chairman and CEO, Fannie Mae; former Chairman and CEO, Johnson Capital Partners
Robert L. Johnson, Chairman and CEO, RLJ Companies; Founder, Black Entertainment Television, Inc.
Quincy D. Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Quincy Jones Productions, Inc.
Ann Dibble Jordan, Chairman of the Board, The National Symphony Orchestra; Trustee, The Phillips Collection, University of Chicago, Brookings Institution
Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, United Negro College Fund; former President, Dillard University
Doris Matsui, Congresswoman, United States House of Representatives; Member, Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents
Homer Alfred Neal, Director, University of Michigan ATLAS Project, Samuel A. Goudsmit Professor of Physics, and Interim President Emeritus, University of Michigan
E. Stanley (Stan) O'Neal, Former Chairman, CEO, and President, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.
Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman and CEO, International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation
Franklin D. Raines, Former Chairman and CEO, Fannie Mae; former Director, U.S. Office of Management and Budget
Ruth J. Simmons, President, Brown University
Gregg W. Steinhafel, Chairman, President, and CEO of Target
H. Patrick (Pat) Swygert, President Emeritus, Howard University
Anthony (Tony) Welters, Executive Vice President, United Health Group
Oprah Winfrey, Chairman, Harpo, Inc.
G. Wayne Clough (Ex Officio) Secretary, Smithsonian Institution