Slavery in the Golden State

Did slavery once exist in California? Most Californians, remembering their fourth-grade history classes, would say it did not, and history buffs might point out that California entered the union in 1850 as a “free state,” not a “slave state.”

Technically they’re correct, says Michael Magliari, a professor of history at Chico State University. The kind of slavery practiced in the South prior to the Civil War never existed in California. But in the same year California became a state, its Legislature also passed the first of several laws that effectively allowed slavery for the next 17 years. Read More

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