Marilyn Demas is the author of Agnes Jaycoax, 1846-1876: Joy and peace (1994), Ungraded School No. 2—Colored: The African American struggle for education in Victorian Sacramento (Golden notes) (1999), A Monumental Love Story (2005), and of articles on Black History Month that have appeared in Sacramento Magazine for the past few years. The February 2007 issue contains her article on two Sacramento African American churches of the 1850s. Her talk dealt with the subject from an African American perspective.
Ms. Demas has both white and black grandchildren. She followed up on early black history after a grandson had to do a project on his black heritage.
In her talk, Marilyn spoke about Sarah Mildred Jones, an early black educator, and of the difficulties facing African Americans in pursuing an education. California had “separate but equal” schools for many years, but blacks could attend white schools if there were fewer than ten black students in a district. She recounted how impoverished African Americans raised money to build their own school and then had to raise the money again after it burned down. Eventually the school did receive some tax support. Desegregation came many years later.
Marilyn’s talk, following which she fielded a large number of questions, was very enthusiastically received by the twenty-five or so members present.
Report prepared by Wayne Luney