The Black Queen: How African-Americans Put California on the Map
"Know then, that, on the right hand of the Indies, very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise, and it was peopled by black women....In this island called California..."
This passage in a 1510 Spanish epic is the beginning of California history. It is found in Chapter 3 of Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, Vol. 1, 1500-1900 (ASPIRE SAN FRANCISCO).
When first published in 1991, a Los Angeles Unified high school teacher shared a copy with his students. He found that his black students achieved a two-grade level average increase within 60 days. Similar results were achieved with the I.R.I.S.E. program at 20 schools in San Francisco Unified and the Black Boys project of San Diego City Schools.
Now four volumes, Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California brings the history to the present day, giving a multi-lingual context to the Golden State's history across indigenous, Spanish, Mexican and American phases. The fourth volume, The Black Queen: How African-Americans Put California on the Map, refers to that passage and how Hernan de Cortes applied the name to the western coast of North America just 15 years later while leading a party that included 300 Africans.
ASPIRE SAN FRANCISCO has three additional titles which provide even more context:
Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco
Cakewalk: an historical novel about the unsung creators of jazz
Black Heritage as Gap Closer: California Educator Capacity to Provide Culturally-Responsive Instruction in Social Studies
A 1993 documentary Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California shows the public art based on the saga of Queen Calafia and her warriors.
ASPIRE SAN FRANCISCO is holding a 500th anniversary of Queen Calafia sale for the Our Roots Run Deep classroom package, which includes all seven books and the video for $185, a reduction of $30 from the regular retail price. For orders of ten sets, the package includes a one year subscription to four hours daily of instructional programming from ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage, the African-American educational channel.
Go to californiablackhistory.com to take the discount.