View ROOTS Gallery HERE

In celebration of BLACK HISTORY MONTH, AmadorArts invited artists of all visual media to submit visual artwork that honors, showcases, and uplifts the works of Black Literary Artists and Black Leaders throughout world history.

This is the Second Annual ROOTS Art Show. ROOTS is part of the AmadorArts Poetry Out Loud program with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Poetry Foundation, and California Arts Council, a state agency. Find out more at

California Gold Country has a history of rich diversity and that includes major contributions from Black Miners, Pioneers, and Leaders. Find out more below:

Beckwourth Pass Did you know? Bechwourth Pass on Route 70 is named after freed, Black Slave James Beckwourth who discovered this pass, the LOWEST route across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Find out more HERE



Argonaut Mine Did you know? Argonaut Mine (originally founded as Pioneer Mine, 1850) in Jackson, CA was founded by two freed, Black Slaves William Tudor and James Hager. Learn more HERE.


Roots by Alex Haley Did you know? Alex Haley rented the Old Schoolhouse in Volcano California at the corner of Plug and National Streets. Haley spend at least a week renting this house where he compiled the book Roots. More info HERE.


Cowboy Poetry Did you know? Cowboy Poetry is a core competent to our Gold Rush culture! Black Cowboy Poets are the focus of the 2020 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV. Find our more HERE Don Flemons is a famous, contemporary Black Cowboy Poet from Pheonix, Arizona who is also an accomplished GRAMMY-award winning musician and recipient of the 2020 United States Artist Fellowship award for the Traditional Arts category which is generously supported by the Andrew W. Melon Foundation. His “Black Cowboys” Album peaked at #4 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart. Learn more HERE

Did you know that one in four frontier cowboys were Black? More info HERE.                        Black cowboy with horse (cir. 1890),
Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library

Black History Month is an established, nationally recognized observance that honors the lives, experiences, and history of Blacks in America. For almost 50 years, it has reminded us of the extraordinary men and women who achieved incredible things often in the face of unimaginable injustice and inequality. All too often the contributions of Black Americans, as well as those of women and other historically marginalized communities, have been forgotten or purposely relegated into the obscurity of a lost history amid bigotry and discrimination. Since Africans arrived on the shores of North America over 400 years ago, they have made significant contributions to the American motif in various fields including art, music, poetry, science, politics, technology, geographic exploration and industry.

For more on Black contributions during the Gold Rush: “Documenting The History Of African-Americans In The California Gold Rush”


As an interesting tidbit: local historians report that Alex Haley made the final compilation of his famous novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family from within the old Volcano Schoolhouse, which he rented for that project.

Mary Fields (c. 1832–1914) (a.k.a. Stagecoach Mary) was the first African-American female star route mail carrier in the United States.


Black Cowboys of the Old West: True, Sensational, And Little Known Stories From History by Tricia Martineau Wagner – The word cowboy conjures up vivid images of rugged men on saddled horses—men lassoing cattle, riding bulls, or brandishing guns in a shoot-out. White men, as Hollywood remembers them. What is woefully missing from these scenes is their counterparts: the black cowboys who made up one-fourth of the wranglers and rodeo riders. This book tells their story.

Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves (Race and Ethnicity in the American West) by Art T. Burton – Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves appears as one of “eight notable Oklahomans,” the “most feared U.S. marshal in the Indian country.” That Reeves was also an African American who had spent his early life as a slave in Arkansas and Texas makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable. Bucking the odds (“I’m sorry, we didn’t keep black people’s history,” a clerk at one of Oklahoma’s local historical societies answered a query), Art T. Burton sifts through fact and legend to discover the truth.

Online Gallery

The ROOTS: Art Show entries will be displayed here when the virtual gallery opens!

Translate »