Sacramento History Center honored for short film series

Untold Sacramento stories of John Sutter, Nathaniel Colley, and more.


One of the center’s films focuses on the fight for housing equality in Sacramento.

The American Association for State and Local History recently honored the Sacramento History Center with its Leadership in History Award of Excellence for the organization’s first three installments of the short film series, “Unlocking the Past: A History of Prejudice and Racism in Sacramento”.

Through a combination of archival footage, academic interviews, and firsthand accounts from community members, the center has tapped local filmmakers to shed light on the history of systemic racism across the City of Trees, and how it continues to affect its communities in 2023.

The first film focuses on John Sutter — the man who established Sutter’s Fort — and his relationship with/treatment of Native Californians during the development of what would later become Sacramento.

The second entry spotlights Nathaniel Colley, Sacramento’s first Black attorney, and his efforts to end discriminatory housing practices across the city in the 1960s by challenging Prop 14.

The third piece recounts former city manager Clyde Seavey’s fight to keep the Ku Klux Klan out of positions of power within city government, along with the “Sacramento Bee’s” work to expose the group’s members.

Three more films are currently in production by the Sacramento History Center, which is open to the public for research purposes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment.

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