Sherman R. Frederick

Sherman R. Frederick/Publisher

The strange state on the other side of the Sierras is looking to compensate African Americans enslaved during the Gold Rush.. 

Yes, slavery existed then in California (and Nevada, too). You can read more about that at the California Historical Society blog. Google it.

You’ll find enslavement of African Americans was not the long-established institution that existed in the South. Virginia City was a far cry from the state of Virginia. And, if we’re to be honest, slavery in the West of African Americans didn’t hold a candle to the kind of slavery (and near genocide) imposed on indiginous peoples.

CalMatters reports that California is looking into “how the state might compensate African Americans for slavery and its lingering effects.” 

“The nine-member task force will draft an apology to Black Californians and recommend ways the state might make up for discriminatory policies, which could include issuing direct payments to the descendants of enslaved people or passing laws to close racial disparities.”

Direct payments to descendants seems like a fool’s errand to me. Of this you can be sure: Whatever California comes up with, it will be imperfect and immensely controversial.

CHURCHES CLOBBER GOVERNORS

Nevada governor’s Steven Sisolak and Gavin Newsom got their heads handed to them by churches who sued during the pandemic. Both leaders presided over a reign of silly rules during COVID. They ignored the rights of people afforded them in the First Amendment by placing more severe restrictions on places of worship than retail stores. 

And both states were rebuked by the courts.

Paul Jonna, a lawyer with the Thomas More Society, which represented the plaintiffs in the two cases in California summed it up nicely: 

The Constitution is simple: “If it’s okay for Costco, it’s okay for churches. That’s the standard.”

BIG TRAGEDY

One single wildfire last year destroyed a tenth of the world’s mature giant sequoias. “I cannot overemphasize how mind-blowing this is for all of us. These trees have lived for thousands of years. They’ve survived dozens of wildfires already,” said Christy Brigham, chief of resources management and science at Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.

The tragedy was first reported in the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper. Small newspapers rule!

ONE MORE THING

Things to do today: 

— Put vanilla pudding in a Mayo jar and eat in public.

— Follow joggers in your car blasting the song “Eye of the Tiger” for encouragement. 

— Become a doctor and change your last name to Acula. 

— Change name to Simon. Speak in third person.

OK, that’ll do it for today. Thanks for your time. Until next week, adhere to the cowboy credo: Question authority. Live and let live. 

(Sherman Frederick is a longtime Nevada newspaperman and co-founder of Battle Born Media. You can reach him by email at shermfrederick@gmail.com, or by phone at 702-525-2440.)