West Oakland

You Should Know About Ida Jackson

“Since I’ve gotten old, I have wondered how I did all the things that I did then,” Ida Louise Jackson reflected in 1984 at the age of 82. Jackson participated in some of the major movements of the 20th century: the Great Migration, school desegregation, the battles for equitable education and health, and the Civil Rights Movement. Some of her earliest activism began at Berkeley when she organized the first Black sorority on the campus.

From the Fall 2020 issue of California.

Why Moms 4 Housing Is Such A Big Deal

On November 18, 2019, Dominique Walker and Sameerah Karim moved with their children into an unlocked, vacant house on Magnolia Street in West Oakland. They had been housing insecure for months, moving from place to place, often in hotels which one of the Moms, Misty Cross, described as “Very unsafe for young girls, which I have three of.” But it was also an occupation meant to draw attention to the city’s failure to combat the growing housing crisis.

“We knew that from the beginning this was bigger than us. This is about building a movement.”

The People’s Museum: Evelyn Orantes Connects Oaklanders with the OMCA

When Evelyn Orantes studied history at UC Berkeley, she lived just a few blocks from the Oakland Museum. To her and her roommates the museum seemed as inaccessible as a castle, complete with moat. The Class of ’99 had gotten involved with Chicano politics while at Berkeley, so when she finally went to the museum for its Day of the Dead celebration, it wasn’t to enjoy but to see how OMCA was co-opting the Mexican holiday.

Love, Life and Baseball: A Filmmaker Follows Little Leaguers from Oakland to Havana

There are men of vision, and there are men of vision about men of vision. This is a story about both kinds of men, and about a movie, and about kids, and baseball.

If Hollywood were to make a movie about the movie, the opening scene would be in a blue-collar bar in Berkeley, two men having a beer. One of the men is Eugene Corr. He is wearing a hipster beret and workingman’s clothes. Gene looks what he is, a documentary filmmaker who graduated from Cal back in the days of ideals and dreams.

From the Winter 2014 Gender Assumptions issue of California.

Bruce Beasley Provides a Bright Spot for Oakland and for California

New York City or West Oakland? That was the choice facing young sculptor Bruce Beasley after his graduation from UC Berkeley in 1962. New York City was, as now, the epicenter of the art world, bursting with energy and promise, and teeming with young, aspiring artists from around the world. West Oakland, on the other hand, was an all but forgotten wasteland—impoverished, neglected, and crime-ridden. Yet, somehow, Beasley glimpsed opportunity.

“Rough as it appeared to the eye,” he said in a recent speech, “it seemed like a good place to be.”

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