Across Alice Street is the Malonga Casquelord Center for the Arts. Originally built as the Oakland Women’s City Club in 1928, it later became the Alice Arts Center. It was renamed for Malonga Casquelourd, a drummer and dance instructor at the center who died in a car crash at the age of 55.
Casquelourd was featured in a large mural that surrounded what used to be a parking lot behind you. He was not alone, it also included Cephus Johnson, Oscar Grant’s uncle; a Black “Rosie the Riveter”; C.L. Dellums; journalist Jerry Lange; journalist Chauncey Bailey; musician Destiny Muhammad; dancer Ruth Beckford; and numerous other Oaklanders.
There’s lots more to learn about all the people included in the mural. For example, most people know of Ruth Beckford for her contributions to dance, but fewer know that she also co-founded the Black Panther Party’s free breakfast program. To learn more about her amazing life, listen to the East Bay Yesterday podcast episode on Ruth Beckford.
The mural is no longer visible because of new construction, but at the next stop you’ll see a new mural that was painted after this one was lost to view.