Seeking El Dorado

African Americans in California

Edited by Lawrence B. de Graaf, Kevin Mulroy, and Quintard Taylor

  • $50.00s paperback (9780295980836) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2001
  • Subject Listing: Western History
  • Bibliographic information: 550 pp. maps, tables, notes, index, LC 00-51158, 6” x 9”
  • Published with: Autry Museum of Western Heritage
  • Contents

From the 18th century, African Americans, like many others, have migrated to California to seek fortunes or, often, the more modest goals of being able to find work, own a home, and raise a family relatively free of discrimination. Not only their search but also its outcome is covered in Seeking El Dorado. Whether they settled in major cities or smaller towns, African Americans created institutions and organizations—churches, social clubs, literary societies, fraternal orders, civil rights organizations—that embodied the legacy of their past and the values they shared. Blacks came in search of the same jobs as other Americans, but the search often proved frustrating. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, African American leadership in the state consistently focused on achieving racial justice. The essays in this book speak of triumph and hardship, success, discrimination, and disappointment.

Seeking El Dorado is a major contribution to black history and the history of the American West and will be of interest to both scholars and general readers.

Lawrence de Graaf, professor emeritus of history at California State University at Fullerton, is the author of numerous articles on black history in the West. Kevin Mulroy is director of the research center at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage and the author of Freedom on the Border: The Seminole Maroons in Florida, the Indian Territory, Coahuila, and Texas. Quintard Taylor is Bullitt Professor of History at the University of Washington; his publications include The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle’s Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era and In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, 1528-1990. Other contributors include Elizabeth Fortson Arroyo, Albert S. Broussard, Lonnie G. Bunch III, Willi Coleman, Bette Yarbrough Cox, Douglas Flamming, Jack D. Forbes, Gerald Horne, Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, Kevin Allen Leonard, Delores Nason McBroome, Shirley Ann Wilson Moore, and Raphael J. Sonenshein.
Introduction, African Americans in California History, California in African American History
Part One, Forming the Community
1) The Early African heritage of California
2) African American Women and Community Development in California 1848-1900
Part Two, Pursuing the Dream
3) “The Greatest State for the Negro”, Jefferson L. Edmonds, Black Propagandist of the California Dream
4) Harvests of Gold, African American Boosterism, Agriculture, and Investment in Allensorth and Little Liberia
5) in Search of the Promised Land, African American Migration to San Francisco, 1900-1945
6) Your Life Is Really Not Just Your Own, African American WOmen in 20th Century California
Part Three, Developments in Culture and Politics
7) The Evolution of Black Music in Los Angeles 1890-1955
8) Becoming Democrats, Liberal Politics and the African American Community in Los Angeles 1930-1965
9) In the Interest of All Races, African Americans and Interracial Cooperation in Los Angeles during and after World War II
Part Four, The Dream Deferred
10) Deindustrialization, Urban Poverty and African American Community Mobilization in Oakland, 1945 through the 1990s
11) Black Fire, Riot and Revolt in Los Angeles 1965 and 1992
12) African American Suburbanization in California 1960 through 1990
13) Coalition Building in Los Angeles, the Bradley Years and Beyond
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