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California’s hidden history of slavery
Jean Pfaelzer reveals the various forms that slavery has taken in California over time, from Native Americans forced into indentured labour to girls trafficked into caged brothels
Today California is renowned worldwide as a heartland of sun-drenched luxury. But, according to Jean Pfaelzer, the state’s prosperity is in large part built on the proceeds of human bondage. Jean speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about the various forms slavery has taken in the state down the centuries – from Native Americans forced into indentured labour to Chinese girls trafficked into caged brothels.
Jean Pfaelzer is the author of California: A Slave State (Yale, 2023)
Ellie Cawthorne is HistoryExtra’s podcast editor. She also contributes to BBC History Magazine, runs the podcast newsletter and hosts several live and virtual BBC History Magazine events.
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