California Institute for Rural Studies

Episode 1: Freedom Chasers: Early Black Settlers and the California Dream

Alvin Coffeys

Thousands of African Americans participated in the California Gold Rush. Some were still enslaved when they did like 49er Alvin Coffey. Join us for Episode 1 to learn more about Coffey’s fascinating tale. 

Photo Credit: Alvin Coffey, Tehama County, c. 1880s. Courtesy of the Society of California Pioneers.

Music Credits for Episode 1: “Strange Persons” by Kicksta; “Petit Gennevilliers (Celesta”) by MagnusMoone; and “Summer Breeze” and “Inward” by HansTroost. Tribe of Noise licensing information can be found here:

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Cal Ag Roots Supporters

Huge THANKS to the following generous supporters of Cal Ag Roots. This project was made possible with support from the 11th Hour Project of the Schmidt Family Foundation and California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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