Jennie Carter was an esteemed Nevada City essayist who wrote and published articles in a San Francisco newspaper between 1867-1874.
She was a free black woman born in 1830 (or 1831). *Free people of color first arrived on the North American continent in the French territories and with the Spanish and Portuguese. They were highly educated and successful in business.
To gain a deeper understanding of Jennie’s opinions and writing, it’s important to know where she was living before moving to Nevada County and to understand what might have triggered her relocation.
In Jennie’s lifetime, the following events occurred;
- 1846 Mexican American War
- Westward Expansion – Manifest Destiny
- 1849 California Gold Rush
- 1850 Fugitive Slave Laws were passed to provide the return of escaped slaves (a danger for free blacks – they could be captured/kidnapped and entered into slavery)
- Tensions mount between Northern and Southern states
- 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States
** Historians suggest this is when Jennie and her first husband, Reverand Correll, a Campbellite minister, relocated to Grass Valley, California from New Orleans, Louisiana. [Jennie married Dennis Carter in Nevada City after Reverand Correll’s death.]
- January 1861 Louisiana votes to secede from the Union
- March 1861 Louisiana vows allegiance to the Confederate States of America
- April 12th, 1861 Civil War begins
- January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring “that all persons held as slaves within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free”
- April 1865 Civil War ends — one week later Abraham Lincoln is assassinated
- December 1865 Congress ratifies the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery
- 1867 Congress passes the 14th Amendment granting citizenship and civil liberties to freed slaves
- 1869 Congress passes the 15th Amendment granting African American men the right to vote
- 1870 African American men in California gain voting rights when 2/3 of the states ratify the 15th Amendment
Social movements taking place;
- Abolition (eliminating slavery), temperance (sobriety), and sufferage (voting rights for black men and white women)
- Human rights and individual betterment
Prior to Jennie’s move, New Orleans hosted the largest population of free black people in the United States.
Mid-Nineteenth Century American Attitudes
History and Happenings in New Orleans in the early 1860s
A time of extraordinary hope and political progress followed by a terrorist backlash.
If you liked this post, learn more about Jennie Carter in these posts;
Jennie Carter’s Thoughts & Words from Nevada City 1867 – 1874 (video)
Jennie Carter’s Nevada County Setting 1860s, 2nd Marriage & Obituary
Jennie Carter Book Review
Jennie Carter – Filming Behind-the-Scenes & Creative Partners
American Historical Association – *LARGE* educator resource list addressing Confederate Monument Debate
History Channel – 13th Amendment (1865)
Howard University – Reconstruction-era History 1865-1877
Khan Academy – Start of the Civil War 1844
Louisiana State University – Free People of Color in Louisiana
NPR podcast – Emancipation Proclamation (1862) – what it didn’t do
Project Gutenberg | downloadable public domain books in multiple formats
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1863) was a Harvard Educated American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. His goal was to put an end to white supremacy.
Frederick Douglas (1818-1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, photographer and statesman.
Sacramento Zouaves on parade in Marysville 1873 mentioned in Jennie’s writing (page 95 – Jennie Carter, A Black Journalist of the Early West)
Clothing Styles 1860-1880s
National Geographic TV – America Inside Out with Katie Couric – season one – Confederate statue removal