Then and Now: The Downey Block of downtown LA, where:
“on most Mondays, a local administrator auctioned off Indians who had been imprisoned for one week of servitude. The ironically named California Act for the Government and Protection of Indians of 1850 allowed any white person to post bail for convicted Indians, whom he could then require to pay off the fine by working for him — a new form of slave labor. According to George Harwood Phillips, in 1850 the Los Angeles Common Council declared, “When the city has no work in which to employ the chain gang, the Recorder shall, by means of notices conspicuously posted, notify the public that such a number of prisoners will be auctioned off to the highest bidder for private service.” (Drawing courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library (date unknown); photo of the former site of the Downey Block - now the site of a federal courthouse - by Wendy Cheng, 2010)
So that’s a fun bit of slave history in my city.