http://www.blackhistoricalsociety.org/ HISTORY African Americans San Diego By Karen L. Huff (Excerpt from the original manuscript) When used for research purposes please reference as follows: Huff, Karen L., Synopsis of San Diego's Black History, Liberia Press, 2001 San Diego is rich in African American history and culture. Black roots run deep in this city and deeper in the County. When the Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo landed here in 1542, several black slaves accompanied him. A few black Americans settled here while San Diego was still a Spanish colony. In 1804 for example, John Brown, a slave aboard the O'Cain, jumped ship to freedom. When San Diego became a part of the newly independent Mexico in 1821, blacks could be found in all levels of the society. In fact, the last governor of California under Mexican rule (Pio Pico) was of African descent. African Americans like Allen Light and Richard Freeman settled in Old Town San Diego in the 1840's. They established the San Diego House, a saloon/restaurant. African Americans starting their migration to downtown's Horton Addition in the 1870s. During the 1880's, African Americans helped settle towns in San Diego County like Julian, Campo and the Palomar Mountain. In 1887 in fact, Albert and Margaret Robinson established the Hotel Robinson (now the Julian Hotel). By 1900, a significant African American settlement in downtown had developed. And by the mid-1920's, black culture in downtown San Diego was flourishing complete with jazz, blues, art, and other activities that was comparable to New York's Harlem Renaissance.