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Honoring A Forgotten History: Sacramento African-American History Museum Proposed

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento councilmember Allen Warren is calling for the city to help create the city's first African-American museum.

He says a museum would create an opportunity to honor a history in Sacramento that many people simply do not know.

"The idea is really to illustrate the achievements of African Americans in Sacramento," Councilmember Allen Warren said.

Warren's public call for a Sacramento African-American museum comes a day after the city council voted on plans that do not protect the historic New Helvetia public housing complex from demolition. The homes are the site of a landmark 1952 civil rights case that helped end housing segregation across the country. The case was argued by Sacramento attorney Nathaniel Colley.

"It's a shining example of something that most people don't even know about," Warren said. "And yet how an historical presence it is in our city."

Nathaniel Colley was the first African-American attorney in Sacramento. He was also the first African-American to serve on the California State Board of Education. He helped shape the course of American history from his law office in Sacramento.

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Chris Lango produced a documentary on Colley, titled "The Time is Now." He says Colley's contributions have been lost in his own city's history.

"The only place that I know of publicly, in Sacramento County, that you can go and see his name, is on his gravestone," Lango said.

Colley is buried at the Sacramento County Veteran's Cemetery. He served as a captain in the Army during World War II.

Celebrating African-American history in Sacramento with a museum, to ensure the future doesn't include faded memories of the past.

"The very significant, accomplishments of people who did things in Sacramento, that had implications across the country, like Mr. Colley," Warren said.

Warren hopes to have details of his museum plan ready to present by next month.

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