The Haight Syllabus is a historic reading list by the Rename Haight Coalition to inform those interested in Asian, Black, and Indigenous histories of California, and the life and opinions of Henry H. Haight, former California Governor and namesake of Haight Elementary School.


  • Preface
  • Key Terms
  • Timeline
  • Readings by Theme and Topic


This syllabus project contributes to the growing movement to educate the public about the long history of white supremacy in Alameda County. Haight Elementary School is named after a white supremacist, Henry Huntley Haight, that used racism to reach the highest elected office within the State of California and then used that power to oppress non-white people.

The different sections offer primary and secondary sources and a list of important terms for discussing white supremacy, reading the words of Haight and placing them in their historical, political, economic, and social context of Nineteenth Century California. Due to the time period when these sources were produced and their general inaccessibility to the public, this project seeks to make this information accessible. These resources centralize information and are a resource for those unfamiliar with Asian, Black, and Indigenous histories of California.


  • Capitalism
  • Collective Memory
  • Free Labor Ideology
  • Indigenous
  • Manifest Destiny
  • Reconstruction
  • Settler colonialism
  • States’ rights
  • White Supremacy


1826     May 20: Born in Rochester, N.Y.

1844    Graduated from Yale College

1846    Moved to St. Louis, Missouri

1850     Moved to California

1959     Elected Chairman of State Republican Party

1963     Switch to Democratic Party

1965     U.S. Civil War ends with surrender of Confederacy.

1967    July 9: Speech at Democratic Mass Meeting at San Francisco’s Union Hall

September: Haight defeats George Gorham and is elected California Governor

December 5 Inauguration Speech

1868    Wrote privately to Andrew Johnson

1868     Refused to transmit Fourteenth Amendment to Legislature

1869    U.S. Congress adopts Fifteenth Amendment

15th Amendment sent to California Legislature

1870     On January 6, 1870, Governor Haight presented the proposed Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to the State Legislature. In his message, he make a long argument for states’ rights against the federal government as using military power.

  • On the same day, State Senator William M. Gwin Jr. moved that the state had the right to declare which persons could vote within the state and that the federal government could not take away or modify that right.
  • January 13, he amended that resolution to reject the proposed Fifteenth Amendment.
  • On January 28, the proposed amendment was defeated and Gov. Haight approved the resolution.
  • On March 30, after 29 states ratified the amendment, the amendment was binding on all states, including California.

1871    The Indian Appropriation Act is passed.

1871     Haight looses Lost reelection bid as Governor to Newton Booth

1872     Haight elected to Alameda City & Township Board of Trustees

1875    Haight School Built

1878    September 2: Henry Haight died in San Francisco

1892    Haight Ave named after former Governor

1910 – Haight School Rebuilt

1976 – Haight Elementary Built

2017  December 5: Rename Haight Campaign Launched

December 12: Superintendent voices support for renaming Haight

2018    January 10: Haight School PTA meets to discuss Renaming Haight

January 15: Over 150 people gather at Haight School for “Beloved Community Rally and March”

February 1: Students and parents collect and submit 100 signatures to create School Renaming Committee.




Primary Sources



Russell Buchanan and Henry Huntley Haight, “H.H. Haight on National Politics, May 1861,” California Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep., 1952), pp. 193-204.

Manuscript Collections

  • Henry H. Haight Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Henry Huntley Haight Papers, Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
  • Vertical files, Alameda (City) – Biography (H), Henry Huntley Haight, Alameda Free Library. Available here [PDF].
  • Rename Haight: (

Secondary Sources



  • Fred Cook, “Alameda’s first Mayor: Henry Huntley Haight,” Alameda Centennial Almanac, 1872-1972, Alameda Collection, Alameda Free Library. [PDF]
  • Leigh Dana Johnsen, “Equal Rights and the “Heathern ‘Chinee’”: Black Activism in San Francisco, 1865-1875”, Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Jan. 1980), pp. 57-68.
  • Christian G. Fritz, Politics and the Courts: The Struggle Over Land in San Francisco 1846-1866, 26 Santa Clara Law Review 127 (1986). <

Racialization and White Supremacy

  • Ibram X. Kendi, “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” (2017)
  • Michael Omi and Howard Winant, “Racial Formation in the United States.” Routledge, Third edition, 2014.
  • Theodore W. Allen, “The Invention of the White Race,” Volumes 1 & 2. Verso, Second edition, 2012.
  • Nell Irvin Painter, “The History of White People.” W. W. Norton & Co, (2010).
  • Tomas Algauer, “Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California,” University of California Press, (1994).
  • Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, “Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Inequality in America,” Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, (2003)
  • Kevin Waite, “The slave South in the Far West: California, the Pacific, and proslavery visions of empire,” (2016), dissertation, University of Pennsylvania. Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI10241777.
  • ______________ “California Redeemed: The Retreat from Reconstruction in the Far West,” Penn DCC Workshop, unpublished, January 21, 2015, <;. [PDF]


  • Ronald Takaki, “Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans,”
  • Judy Yung, “Unbound Feed: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco,” University of California Press (1995).
  • Jean Pfaelzer, “Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans,” University of California Press, (2007).
  • Charlotte Brooks, “Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California.” University of Chicago Press, (2009).
  • Connie Young Yu, “Remembering 1882: Fighting for Civil Rights in the Shadow of the Chinese Exclusion Act.” Chinese Historical Society of America, (2007).
  • Him Mark Lai, Judy Yun and Gordon H. Chang, “Chinese American Voices from the Gold Rush to the Present), Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.


  • A. L. Kroeber, Handbook of the Indians of California (Smithsonian Institution, 2012)
  • James J. Rawls, Indians of California: The Changing Images (University of Oklahoma Press, 1986)
  • James A. Sandos, Converting California: Franciscans and Indians in the Missions,” (2008).
  • Roxanna Dunbar-Ortiz, “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (ReVisioning American History)”, Beacon Press, (2014).


Primary Sources

  • Colored Citizens of California, Proceedings of the First State Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California, 1855.
  • Colored Citizens of California, Proceedings of the First State Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California, 1856.

Secondary Sources


  • Quintard Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, 1528-1990 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998).
  • Lawrence B. De Graaf, Kevin Mulroy, and Quintard Taylor, Seeking El Dorado: African Americans in California, University of Washington Press, 2001.
  • Rudolph M. Lapp, Blacks in Gold Rush California (Yale University Press, 1995)
  • Delores Nason McBroome, “Parallel Communities: African-Americans in California’s East Bay, 1850-1963,” University of Oregon Press, 1991.