© 2024 KZYX
redwood forest background
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local News

"The first Black man in Mendocino"

Nathaniel Smith
Nathaniel Smith

Nathaniel Smith was at one time "known to every man, woman and child on the coast," according to an early account of his life. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, as a free person, he arrived in Mendocino on a whaling ship in 1851 as a young man. He spent the rest of his life here, was married twice to Pomo women, and used his ingenuity and skill to become indispensable. A logger, hunter, fisherman, farmer, stagecoach driver and sailor, he was also said to be witty and quick with repartee. When he died in 1906 at the age of 75, his funeral was reported to be the largest ever in the burgeoning community.

The Kelley House Museum is currently showing an exhibit chronicling his life, along with a timeline of historical events that affected him as a person of color. The exhibit runs through May 27th. Museum hours are Thursday through Monday, 11 am-3 pm.

In this report, Kelley House director Anne Semans talks to Marty Durlin about the historical importance of this first-ever exhibit of Nathaniel Smith's life.

Local News
A pioneer in community radio, Marty Durlin came to KZYX after serving as manager of KZMU in Moab UT. Her longest tenure was at KGNU in Boulder CO, where she helmed the station for more than 20 years, cofounded the Grassroots Radio Conference and served as chair of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, the Pacifica National Board, and the Rocky Mountain Community Radio Coalition. Also a print and radio journalist and a musical playwright, Durlin has spent her career in community media and community theatre. To reach her, email marty@kzyx.org.