Browse By Migrations Geography Timeline Source Materials Education Materials Search
The Western Migration
First ImagePrevious ImageImage GalleryNext ImageLast Image
view larger imageview larger image request a copy request a copy

Courtesy of the California History Room, California State Library, Sacramento, California [DAG-0100]

Miners Near Spanish Flat, California, 1852

The California gold rush began in 1848 and stimulated a massive wave of western migration. Over the course of the next decade, four thousand African Americans arrived in California. Some were slaves and accompanied their owners, while others were free men who hoped to strike it rich in the mines, or worked as cooks, stewards, and in other services. Letters home indicate that at least some of the migrants were motivated by more than personal financial gain. In 1851, Peter Brown wrote to his wife about his son, "I wish you to tell Peter to be industrious.... I am trying to make enough money to buy him when I get home." Among the black immigrants were men who came from all over the United States, as well as Mexico, Chile, Canada, Africa, England, France, and Portugal.

Show indexing information
First ImagePrevious ImageImage GalleryNext ImageLast Image
Home About Glossary The New York Public Library
Privacy Policy | Rules & Regulations | Using the Internet | Website Terms & Conditions

© The New York Public Library, 2005.