Here is the story of California’s last known slave case, the state’s first Black church and how they converge with the unknown history of a free laundryman named Daniel Blue.
St. Andrews was founded by Daniel Blue, a former slave from Kentucky who settled in California, made a fortune mining on the Sacramento River, and subsequently opened a laundry.
Out of St. Andrews, Blue and his wife, Lucinda, opened a school for Black, Native American and Asian American children, even soliciting donations from the public when the state refused to fund it.
As the first Black church in California, St. Andrews imbued its anti-slavery values to other African Methodist Episcopal churches around the state.
“It's astounding that African Americans were able to infiltrate the household of Walter Gammon, figure out that Edith was there [as] a slave, figure out that she was being abused, and bring the case to the state courts to liberate her from enslavement,” said Smith.