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1858 Exodus to Canada

Unfinished History


from Haight Ashbury Community Radio Project, 1980, sung by Blackberry

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Archy Lee book cover

Image: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

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In early 1858, a series of events hostile to Blacks happened in San Francisco. The case of the escaped slave, Archy Lee, heightened conflicts between pro- and anti-slavery contingents in town. Black children were excluded from public schools. Legislation was introduced to ban black immigration into California. These events culminated in the decision of several hundred Blacks to emigrate to the British colony of Victoria on Vancouver Island and the ship Commodore left San Francisco on April 20, 1858, with an initial party of 35 blacks sailing to their new home.

--from A Walking Tour of the Black Presence in San Francisco During the Nineteenth Century by Elizabeth L. Parker and James Abajian, published by the San Francisco African American Historical & Cultural Society Research Library, © 1974

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Walking Tour of the Black Presence in San Francisco cover


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