African American Museum and Library at Oakland

The African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) is housed in a magnificent building that was once the Oakland main library, a Carnegie library that opened in 1902. But AAMLO had much more modest beginnings. In 1946, Eugene and Ruth Lasartemay and Jesse and Dr. Marcella Ford began collecting the oral histories and artifacts […]

Federal Building

From the center of the plaza, the Ron Dellums Federal Building wraps around you. Ron Dellums served in the U.S. House of Representatives for many years representing the 9th congressional district in northern California. During that time, he helped obtain federal funding to retrofit City Hall following the 1989 earthquake instead of demolishing it. Dellums […]

City Hall

In 1973, Black Panther Party member Bobby Seale ran for mayor, and to the surprise of the white establishment, made a strong showing against incumbent John Reading. So in 1977, Lionel Wilson was seen as the “safer” candidate and was elected Oakland’s first Black mayor, serving until 1991. He ended up being more progressive than […]

City Center

From City Center at Broadway at 13th Street, look east to see the Tribune Tower. Robert Maynard was a remarkable journalist. He dropped out of high school at age 16 to take his first writing job, and later wrote for the Washington Post. In 1977, he and his wife Nancy Maynard founded the Maynard Institute […]

Joyce Gordon Gallery

The Joyce Gordon Gallery features innovative exhibits showing social and cultural diversity, from both local and international artists. The manager of Oakland’s cultural arts and marketing program said “[Joyce Gordon] invested in downtown Oakland before it was fashionable.” Stop in for a look if the gallery is open. Upstairs is the music and event space, […]

Oakland Post

Thomas Berkley was a Renaissance man. He was an Olympic-class athlete, a WWII veteran, he started the largest racially integrated law firm in the U.S., and in 1963 he and his wife Velda Berkley started the Oakland Post newspaper. Later he was the first Black port commissioner in Oakland, twice president of the board, and […]

Malonga Casquelord Center

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 […]

Oakland Library and Oakland History Center

You’re outside the Children’s Room of the main Oakland Public Library. This building has been the main library since 1951; you’ll see the earlier main library at the end of this tour. The main library is home to the Oakland History Center. This remarkable resource is headed by Dorothy Lazard, and in addition to regular […]

Alameda County Courthouse

Many people know of the Black Panther Party (BPP), but too many don’t know much about the Black Panther Party. It was started in 1966 as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, who met at Merritt College, then located in North Oakland at the former University HS. The BPP […]

Oakland Auditorium

Every American should know of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. But before MLK gave that celebrated speech, he expressed many of the ideas in it in other speeches, building and refining over time. One of those speeches was given here at the Oakland Auditorium on December 28, 1962, on the […]