In October 2010, the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) received the Nathaniel S. and Jerlean J. Colley Papers. On March 22, 2012, CSH staff unveiled a finding aid to these important records, as well as an accompanying online web exhibit, and short film.
As Center for Sacramento History Interpretive Specialist Heather Downey writes, "Nathaniel Colley, affectionately known by friends and colleagues as 'Nat,' devoted himself to the improvement of his community. As one of Sacramento's earliest African American lawyers, Colley spent 50 years helping to shape the course of social reform across Sacramento, California, and the nation.
A brilliant trial attorney, Nathaniel managed a successful Sacramento law firm, paving the way for groundbreaking anti-discrimination lawsuits and arguing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Together with his wife, Jerlean, Nathaniel raised five children and led numerous civic organizations. His legacy lives on in this collection, comprised of awards and accolades, photographs, and the insightful speeches, letters, and articles for which Nathaniel Colley was renowned."
The Colley collection documents the legal and civic activities of Nathaniel Colley, and is primarily comprised of speeches, statements, editorials, and publications. The finding aid provides a complete description of the collection, and is available through the Center for Sacramento History's website, as is the online exhibit, "The Time is Now: The Civic Life of Sacramento's Nathaniel Colley." The short film, seen above, is also accessible through the Center for Sacramento History's Youtube page.