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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Central Valley | Labor & Workers | Racial Justice
Stockton Rural Cemetery ~ Block 27 part of our California African American Heritage
2017 Memorial Day, we continue to help will build a brighter future for the City of Stockton, California by remembering and celebrating Rev. Jeremiah King. His example of determination and consistency will help identify, document, preserve and help exceed the National Historic standards to include the legacy of those interred within Block 27-Stockton Rural Cemetery and placing in context our authentic elevated seat of authority showcasing California African American Heritage.
April 1865, Confederate General Lee of Northern Virginia surrendered to the General of the Union Army at the Appomattox Courthouse and began the laying down of arms during the US Civil War. May 1865, near Charleston, South Carolina the task of properly honoring the fallen soldiers began a tradition we celebrate today as Memorial Day.
2017 Memorial Day, Stockton Rural Cemetery we continue our contribution ferreting out the authentic legacy with a broader request for equity and equal opportunity within Block 27, the historic colored section, as a featured example of a broader proposed California African American Heritage Commission tasked with identifying, documenting, preserving and sharing profound contributions by people of African ancestry creating statutory authority from State of California.
Etymology studies the origin of words and how historical meanings have changed over time. The Germanic word, frei, thought to mean outside of the fundal system is defined as, “beloved, friend, to love, clear of obstruction; sense of unrestrained movement” and has a very different historical context from the unspoken and taboo conversation about “Chattel Slavery in the State of California.”
What is freedom to someone not considered a human being?
Chattel slavery called property a “slave”, not even considered an “enslaved human being” thus a very salient distinction remains the unspoken value and belief challenged in the current, “Black Lives Matter” assertion.
As a young child in elementary school, it was a great honor to lead the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under GOD, with liberty and justice for all. Today, some of us continue to pay the price for freedom, while helping to form a more perfect union. Some youth question the notion; yet many have no cognition of the authentic past while on bended knee.
In 1803, Reverend Jeremiah King was reportedly born in the low country of Georgia and his amazing life ended July 1, 1883 and his body was laid to rest within Block 27~Stockton Rural Cemetery.
Interestingly, young Jeremiah spent his youth enslaved in the back breaking humid fields in the low country along the Atlantic seaboard. He spent nearly half a century enslaved in the State of Georgia, the southern most of the 13 English colonies prior to the America Revolution, the only American Colony to originally expressly prohibit the enslavement of people of African ancestry until American Independence.
Georgia was originally claimed as part of the Spanish Mission System, the costal Port of Savannah, GA aligned with St. Augustine, FL and the southern ports of Mobile, AL and New Orleans, LA with New Spain headquarters in Havana, Cuba.
The economic bonanza of “free labor” “enslaved chattel” from the West Coast of West Africa, today’s Gambia, Senegal and Sierra Leone, utilized ancient specialized agriculture skills to produce the highly profitable commodities of “indigo and rice” along the low county of Georgia and the Carolinas, prior to the invention of the cotton gin and King Cotton.
The uniquely West African agricultural production methods facilitated retention of ancient African culture within the Gullah/Geeche traditions is part of the California African Heritage we see in the legacy and profound contributions by people of African ancestry throughout the state.
By 1849, Jeremiah King and his wife are given freedom papers, money and passage to migrate from bowels of “chattel slavery in the deep south” to New Orleans and on the California Gold Rush.
Prior to California Statehood, September 9, 1850, Jeremiah King struck it rich in the southern gold mining district and settled in San Joaquin County purchasing over 100 acres of prime agriculture land near today City of Lathrop and settling in the Historic Stockton Waterfront District.
It is recorded that “often” Rev. Jeremiah King and his wife would travel to 40 miles to Old Sacramento to worship GOD in the basement of the Chinese Baptist Church. Beginning in September 1854, the African Baptist Church of Stockton was organized in the Historic Stockton Waterfront District, hosting weekly services for the remainder of his life.
In 1859, Rev. King successfully petitioned the founding father of the City of Stockton, Captain Charles Weber, for church property on W.Washington St. between Commence and Beaver Street to relocate the purchased church building from Rev. James Woods of the Presbyterian Church of Stockton.
During the US Civil War, Rev. Jeremiah King successfully petitioned the Trustees of the Stockton Rural Cemetery to establish a Section 27, “a colored section” as the final resting place for people of African ancestry in the county seat of San Joaquin, in the heart of the California Central Valley.
Memorial Day, was established to remember the fallen soldiers during the US Civil War. Juneteenth, our symbolic end of “chattel slavery” in America, facilitated by the final military campaign led by Major General Granger at the Port of Galveston Island, Texas with heavy enforcement by several regiments of US Colored Troops leading up to the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution legally ended “chattel slavery” throughout the United States of America, December 1865.
Together, we all should celebrate our collective journey to form a more perfect union, including the amazing contributions by people of African ancestry throughout the Great State of California.
Leadership at the Stockton Rural Cemetery, have erected a new grave marker for Rev. Jeremiah King, and we are tasked with spiritually opening the doors of the original African Baptist Church of Stockton replicate and preserve our National Historic contribution, we are asking for your assistance and support, in the Baptist tradition we ask, Is their one? Is their one? Is their one?
2017 Memorial Day, we continue to help will build a brighter future for the City of Stockton, California by remembering and celebrating Rev. Jeremiah King, by identifying, documenting, preserving and sharing National Historic contributions of those interred within Block 27-Stockton Rural Cemetery and placing in context our authentic elevated seat of authority in California African American Heritage.