Early African American Music in the Delta

Music, poetry, education, diaspora, newspapers and the development of community within California permeated the Delta Region with a unique culture during the early years of the Gold Rush, postbellum, and antebellum years. Minstrelsy and parlor music was a national phenomenon, and exploded in the West almost as much as the mid-western regions of the United States. The West was certainly viewed as an opportunity to establish safety and economic viability for African-Americans escaping the horrors of slavery, and those who made the daunting journey from East Coast to West Coast were not met with open by any means. As thoughtfully articulated by Hans Christian Andersen,  “Where words fail, music speaks.” This rings true as the black community established their home in the San-Joaquin and Delta regions during the late 19th Century.

To View the Scalar exhibit, click here.