The Hidden History of Slavery in California

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Mary Ellen Pleasant pictured in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1899. (Courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle)

This week, we’re bringing you stories as part of KQED’s collaboration with the ACLU of Northern California and others, called “Gold Chains: The Hidden History of Slavery in California.”

Listen to this and more in-depth storytelling by subscribing to The California Report Magazine podcast.

Oakland Artists Present an Afro Diasporic Remix of 'The Nutcracker'

A new production of 'The Nutcracker' is hitting the stage in Oakland this holiday season. But this one is a little bit different than the traditional ballet. There’s no nutcracker, there’s no mouse king and there’s no Clara. Instead, 13-year-old dancer Amelinda Origunwa performs the lead role of Nzingha, who travels the African diaspora learning different kinds of dance as the show traces the transatlantic slave trade. It’s called KOLA: An Afro Diasporic Remix of the Nutcracker. We talk to Rozz Nash, founder and director of The People’s Conservatory, the dance company putting on the show.

How a Heroine Became a ‘Demon’ in Victorian San Francisco

At dusk, in the shadow of looming Victorian mansions, a tour guide in full 19th century dress leads an excitable group along the steep streets of San Francisco. On this ghost hunt, every corner brings another ghoulish story from San Francisco history. The group stops at the former home of Mary Ellen Pleasant, whose ghost is said to haunt the area. As KQED’s Carly Severn tells us, this woman born into slavery in the South became a civil rights icon right here in San Francisco. And yet, she was demonized in her own lifetime.

Los Angeles’ 1850s Slave Market Is Now the Site of a Federal Courthouse

Host Sasha Khokha talks to Robert Peterson, host of the podcast “The Hidden History of LA.” He tells us about the 1850s auction of Native Americans that took place at what's today a federal courthouse in downtown L.A.

At Oakland’s Indigenous Red Market, Art, Food and Activism Celebrate Native Identities

The legacy of slavery, genocide and forced relocation still lingers for many Native Americans today. But there’s a place in Oakland where Native people can come together once a month to celebrate their identities through food, art and music. KQED’s Marisol Medina Cadena went to check it out.