A number of African Americans joined the migrations in the 1840s and 1850s.
After the Civil War, especially in the late 1870s and 1880s, many more fled to the West to escape white violence in the South.
One early California settler was Biddy Mason, who came to the West as the slave of a Mormon family.
In 1856, when the Mormon family decided to move from Los Angeles to Texas, Mason and several other slaves won their freedom in a landmark California court case.
Mason worked hard as a nurse and midwife and saved enough money to purchase her own homestead.
She became wealthy through various real estate deals, helped found the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, and was well known for her generosity to those in need.