Seeking El Dorado

African Americans in California

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

  • Published: July 2015
  • Subject Listing: History / Western History; African American Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 550 pp., 6 maps, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Published with: Autry Museum of Western Heritage
  • Series: Series No Longer Used
  • 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.
Introduction, African Americans in California History, California in African American History

Part 1: Forming the Community
1. The Early African heritage of California
2. African American Women and Community Development in California 1848-1900

Part 2: 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 3: 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 4: 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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