The Negro Trail Blazers of California
A Compilation of Records from the California Archives in the Bancroft Library at the University of California, in Berkeley; and from the Diaries, Old Papers, and Conversations of Old Pioneers in the State of California. It is a True Record of Facts, as They Pertain to the History of the Pioneer and Present Day Negroes of California
The author’s reason for presenting a book of this kind to the public at this time is not due to the fact that she is not cognizant of the fact that, within the past fifty-four years, much has been written regarding the Negro, but to our knowledge, practically no attempt has been made to put into permanent form a record of the remarkable progress made by Negroes in the State of California.
For eight years the author of the “Negro Trail Blazers” has worked incessantly. At her own expense she has covered the great State of California, visiting small towns and villages, with like zeal with which she visited the larger cities, gathering facts concerning the early pioneers of the race in the State. In gathering the data for this most unique volume, she has sacrificed money, and health. She, however, shall feel well repaid for her labor, if through the perusal of these pages, there shall be an incentive to even greater efforts by the Negro Race in this State in the future. «more» —CHARLOTTE A. BASS, Managing Editor of the California Eagle, Los Angeles, October 30, 1918.
Know ye that on the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very near the Terrestrial Paradise which is peopled with black women without any men among them, because they were accustomed to live after the fashion of the Amazons. They were of strong and hardy bodies of ardent courage and of great force. The island was the strongest in the world from its steep rocks and great cliffs. Their arms were all of gold and so were the caparisons of the wild beasts which they rode after having tamed them, for in all the island there is no other metal but gold. «more»
The Island of California refers to a long-held European misconception, dating from the 16th century, that California was not part of mainland North America but rather a large island separated from the continent by a strait now known instead as the Gulf of California.
One of the most famous cartographic errors in history, it was propagated on many maps during the 17th and 18th centuries, despite contradictory evidence from various explorers. The legend was initially infused with the idea that California was a terrestrial paradise, like the Garden of Eden or Atlantis.