The Journal of San Diego History
Spring 1981, Volume 27, Number 2

San Diego’s Black Pioneers: A Statement of Who We Are

Apr1981page92z   Page 92.


Apr1981page94z  Page 94. Amos and Cynthia Hudgins came to San Diego from Kansas. Amos owned a barbershop in downtown San Diego, one of the city’s first, and counted among his regular customers San Diego pioneers Alonzo Horton and George Marston.


Apr1981page94bz  Page 94. The Hudgins family home in Coronado. Several other African-American families lived and worked in Coronado at the turn of the century.


Apr1981page95bz  Page 95. The Goodwin family came to San Diego from Texas in 1902, first settling in the Imperial Valley. Jeff and Sara, and their children, Henrietta (seated), Alice, Charlie, Leela and Loula Goodwin are pictured in this 1902 photograph.


Apr1981page95z  Page 95. William Osby and Alice Goodwin Osby owned a home on El Cajon Boulevard at Arizona Street. This 1915 view shows the water tower still in use today.


Apr1981page96z  Page 96. Odie Goodwin worked for the Calexico Cotton Compress Company.


Apr1981page97z  Page 97. Solomon Johnson came to San Diego in the late 1880s from Indiana. He had probably been a slave to Governor Cave Johnson in Tennessee before coming West. Johnson was a coachman for Hotel del Coronado builder E.S. Babcock.


Apr1981page98z  Page 98. Solomon Johnson’s wife Cordelia as seen in 1887.


Apr1981page99az  Page 99. The Johnson family home, c. 1910, was a popular meeting place for early African-American San Diegans.


Apr1981page99bz  Page 99. Issac Wooden, Sr. married Dimple Johnson in 1912. Wooden served as secretary of the Colored City Employees’ Social and Aid Club in the 1920s.


Apr1981page100z  Page 100. Isaac Wooden working as a coachman prior to being employed by the City of San Diego.


Apr1981page101z  Page 101. Albert and Margaret Robinson built the Hotel Robinson in Julian in 1887 and operated it for twenty-eight years until Albert’s death in 1915. Margaret later sold it for $1,500. The Robinsons’ reputation as good cooks was well known.


Apr1981page102z  Page 102. Today, the hotel is named the Julian Hotel and is the oldest continuously operated hotel in Southern California.


Apr1981page103z  Page 103. Nathaniel Harrison lived on Palomar Mountain for more than fifty years.


Apr1981page104az  Page 104. America Newton owned an eighty-acre homestead west of Julian and worked as a laundress for miners who came to the area looking for gold. America Grade, which runs past her former property, is named in her honor.


Apr1981page104bz  Page 104. Hauling lumber to the Cuyamaca Flume, 1885. African-American workers helped construct the flume which brought water to San Diego.


Apr1981page105z  Page 105. Reuben the Guide is seen here with his sombrero in 1897.


Apr1981page105bz  Page 105. The Acme Social Club enjoys a harborside party in 1917.


Apr1981page106az  Page 106. Sandy Baker, Tim Williams, John Cross and Joe Smith (above) were early firemen in Logan Heights, 1927.


Apr1981page106bz  Page 106. Titled “Color Line Case” a San Diego Union article reports on the Anderson Case — a test of discrimination in San Diego — August, 1897.


Apr1981page107az  Page 107. The Church of God in Christ holds a waterside baptizing in the Imperial Valley in 1916.


Apr1981page108bz  Page 108. Church life was a focal point in the lives of many African-­American pioneers.


Apr1981page109z  Page 109. Middletown School in 1903 had at least one African-American in its Seventh Grade Class. The young woman in this photograph might have been the teacher, however, the San Diego City Schools were slow to officially hire African­American teachers. Henrietta Goodwin was hired as a substitute teacher after graduating from the Normal College for teachers in San Diego, but it wasn’t until 1941 when Lorraine Van Lowe was hired as an elementary school teacher that blacks were allowed to teach in the city schools.


Apr1981page109bz  Page 109. An early lodge member, c. 1895. Other residents such as Edward Anderson, Charlie Goodwin, Walter McDonald, C.M. Dickens, Walter Meadows and Gus Thompson were among the first members of Fidelity Lodge No. 10 of the Masons. Richard Marshall of Coronado was Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons of California in 1906.


Apr1981page110z  Page 110. The Edwards of La Jolla were among several African-American families who settled in the La jolla area during the 1920s.

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The photographs are from the San Diego History Center’s Title Insurance and Trust Collection.