New Website,, Tells Story of Hidden History of Slavery in California

The ACLU of Northern California this week launched, a website that exposes the hidden history of slavery in California. The site is part of a collaboration between ACLU of Northern California, Equal Justice Society, KQED, Laura Atkins and California Historical Society.

California has a reputation as the “Golden State” of opportunity, promise, innovation, and resistance. But the inconvenient truth that may surprise–and shock–many of us is that the state’s founding went hand in hand with policies that sanctioned slavery and genocide.

Gold Chains: The Hidden History of Slavery in California uncovers chapters of California’s hidden history. This unique project lifts up the voices of courageous African American and Native American individuals who challenged their brutal treatment and demanded their civil rights.

Gold Chains debunks California’s unblemished brand as exclusively progressive, correcting it with facts of a history mired in racism, white supremacy, and violence. The stories on the website are told through narratives, public records, archival material, and images.

Visit to learn more.