5 episodes

A podcast about the Hidden History of Slavery in California, where we unearth stories about the enslavement of Black and Indigenous people that were deliberately left out of the "free" state’s official history.

Gold Chains ACLU of Northern California

    • History
    • 4.9 • 64 Ratings

A podcast about the Hidden History of Slavery in California, where we unearth stories about the enslavement of Black and Indigenous people that were deliberately left out of the "free" state’s official history.

    California Fugitive Slave Law

    California Fugitive Slave Law

    Three formerly enslaved Black men were living their California Gold Rush dream, building a lucrative mining supply business in just a few months. But one cool spring night in 1852, an armed posse of white men burst into their cabin and arrested them, claiming they were fugitive slaves. In our pilot episode, we explore a little-known California law that unleashed racial terror on Black people and made a mockery of the state constitution’s ban on slavery.
    Episode Guests:
    Stacey L. Smith, an associate professor of history at Oregon State University, and author of Freedom’s Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation and Reconstruction. Smith is acting as a historical consultant to the California Department of Justice as it supports the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans.
    Taylor Bythewood-Porter, an assistant curator at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Bythewood-Porter co-curated California Bound, Slavery on the New Frontier, 1848-1865.
    Candice Francis, communications director at the ACLU of Northern California.
    Explore the entire Gold Chains: Hidden History of Slavery in California Project
    Production Credits:
    Produced by the ACLU of Northern California.
    Episode created, written and hosted by Tammerlin Drummond
    Technical production and music by Dax Brooks, co-written by Alex Doty. 
    Thanks to Marshal Arnwine, Candice Francis, Gigi Harney, Brady Hirsch, Carmen King, Abdi Soltani, Eliza Wee and Stephen Wilson. And to our partners on the public education project, Gold Chains: The Hidden History of Slavery in California: KQED the California Historical Society, the Equal Justice Society and Laura Atkins.
    Episode Website

    • 24 min
    Black Testimony Matters

    Black Testimony Matters

    A white man shoots and kills a prominent Black businessman in San Francisco in an unprovoked attack.  There are plenty of witnesses. But there's a problem. They're all Black. And in California in 1861, that means their testimony doesn’t count. From 1850 until 1863, California had a law that banned African Americans from testifying against white people in criminal cases. In this episode, we bring you the little-known story of the testimony laws. We meet the Black activists who fought to repeal them. And we examine these racist laws’ enduring legacy in our legal system today. Episode Website 

    • 25 min
    Coming November 1 Episode 3 Indigenous Injustice!

    Coming November 1 Episode 3 Indigenous Injustice!

    It's been a while but we're back with a new episode. This time we're exploring a little-known 19th century California law that helped white settlers enslave Indigenous children.  And we'll connect the dots to a current U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act, which threatens to dismantle tribal sovereignty altogether. Listen November 1 wherever you get your podcasts.

    • 2 min
    Indigenous Injustice

    Indigenous Injustice

    California joined the Union as a so-called free state in 1850. So how did white settlers get away with enslaving Native children until they were young adults? We explore a little-known California state law called the Act for the Government and Protection of Indians that unleashed genocidal violence against Indigenous children. And we connect the dots between that terrible past and a landmark upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case Brackeen v. Haaland.
    Episode Website

    • 38 min
    Introducing Gold Chains

    Introducing Gold Chains

    Many of us were taught in school that California was a "free state" that never had slavery. It was a lie. Gold Chains unearths stories about the enslavement of Black people, which was deliberately kept out of official histories of California. And we connect that dark past to today's calls for justice. Voices featured in this trailer include Tammerlin Drummond, Stacey L. Smith, Taylor Bythewood-Porter, Candice Francis and Marshal Arnwine.

    • 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
64 Ratings

64 Ratings

mdorys ,

Black Testimony

So educational! Well done! Thanks to everyone involved in creating this much needed podcast!

sllch ,


Fantastic writing, production and storytelling with history experts.

April327 ,

California History

As a history teacher, these stories are so important to know and learn about!

Top Podcasts In History

The Rest Is History
Goalhanger Podcasts
The Big Dig
Everything Everywhere Daily
Gary Arndt | Glassbox Media
American Scandal
American History Tellers
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History
Dan Carlin