Slavery and "Unfree” Labor in the California Gold Rush and Sonoma County

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Program Type:

History & Genealogy, Virtual

Age Group:

Adult, Senior
Please note you are looking at an event that has already happened.
Registration for this event is no longer open.
Allowed Ages: Over 18 and up

Program Description


Stacey L. Smith is an Associate Professor of History at Oregon State University where she specializes in the history of the American West and the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. She is the author of Freedom’s Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction (University of North Carolina Press, 2013).

In this virtual presentation for the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library, Smith will discuss the history of different types of “unfree” labor—slavery, apprenticeship, debt bondage, and sex trafficking—that emerged in Gold Rush California and involved diverse groups of people.

She will highlight the stories of unfree workers in Sonoma County in the 1850s and 1860s.


This talk discusses sensitive content, which some people may find offensive or disturbing. The views expressed by presenters are their own and their appearance in a program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by Sonoma County Library.


Advance Registration Required - Virtual

Advance registration is required. Registered participants will receive the Zoom invite one hour prior to the scheduled event. 
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