Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

June 3, 2011
Juneteenth at the California State Library

It cannot be denied that African-Americans have played an important role in California's history even before the Gold Rush, in fact, preceding the American conquest. Many are familiar with the fact that William A. Leidesdorff, John A. Sutter's business associate and fellow landowner, was of mixed African and Danish ancestry, but fewer know that Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California, also claimed African blood. In recognition of this heritage, the California State Library has for the last several years displayed a Juneteenth exhibit of choice California African-American items from its collection, celebrating the date in 1865 when America's last slave was freed.

08a-DAG Miner Montage.jpgThis year, the library has added something new to its Juneteenth commemoration in the shape of a daily calendar for the month of June, visible on the home page of its website. Each page highlights notable California African-American personalities, achievements, and events, from the state's first printing of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation to skilled mountain scout James P. Beckwourth to the stunning, stylized art of Sargent Johnson. Included are many of California's notable Black political figures, among them Byron Rumford and Willie Brown. Also seen is heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson training in San Francisco for his bout with Al Kaufmann.

And everyone is welcome to stop by the library's rotunda at 900 N Street in Sacramento between 9:30 and 4 Monday through Friday, check out this year's Juneteenth exhibit, and marvel at the variety of items from the library's rich collection, ranging from nineteenth-century African-American school pioneer Jeremiah Burke Sanderson to the twentieth-century's Black Panther Party.ca2370 Edit.jpg


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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at

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