California legislature narrowly defeats an attempt to prevent the immigration of Blacks into the state.
1857 (Jun 1)
The California legislature defeated by a narrow margin of thirty-two to thirty an attempt to prevent the immigration of Blacks into the state. The opposition to the measure was led by representative of the general assembly hall. Despite the defeat, California Blacks continued to protest instances of racial discrimination against them. An excerpt from a protest of two Black businessmen in 1857 follows: "During a residence of seven years in California, we, with hundreds of other colored men, have cheerfully paid city, state and county taxes on real estate and merchandise, as well as licenses to carry on business, and every other species of tax that has been levied from time to time for the support of the government, save only the 'poll tax' that we have persistently refused. On the day before yesterday, the tax collector called on us, and seized and lugged off twenty or thirty dollars' worth of goods, in payment, as he said. Now, while we cannot understand how a 'white' man can refuse to pay each and every tax for the support of government, under which he enjoys every privilege from the right to rob a Black up to that of being governor of the State,we can perceive and feel the flagrant injustices of compelling 'colored men' to pay a special tax for the enjoyment of a special privilege, and then break their heads if they attempt to exercise it. We believe that every voter should pay poll-tax, or every male resident who has the privilege of becoming a voter; but regard it as low and despicable, the very quintessence of meanness, to compel colored men to pay it, situated as they are politically. However, if there is no redress, the great state of California may come around annually, and rob us of twenty or thirty dollars' worth of goods, as we will never willingly pay three dollars as poll tax as long as we remain disfranchised, oath-denied, outlawed colored Americans."