New Nonfiction

Check out new nonfiction at OPL.

This month we received some exciting new nonfiction books. Here are a few that I look forward to reading. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Eloquent Rage      This Will Be My Undoing       When the Call You A Terrorist      

Click here to read more

Oakland's Long View of History

The study of African American history has engaged generations of Oaklanders and East Bay residents.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the student movement to institute Black Studies into college curricula. The drive to learn the history of African Americans, a history brutally suppressed during slavery and denied and ignored for decades after slavery, was always present. Decades before the Black Power Movement of the 1960s inspired San Francisco State College students to demand the curriculum be representative, Oaklanders were passing along African American history in formal and informal settings.

Journalist Delilah Beasley, the mother of Black California history, published her groundbreaking book, “Negro Trail Blazers of California” in 1919.  This masterfully documented work includes interviews with former slaves, profiles of civic groups and prominent citizens, and reports from national conferences. Ms. Beasley also wrote for the Oakland Sunshine

Click here to read more

We've Accomplished so Much!

What has OPL accomplished in the last six months?

Here at the library, we are engaged in a strategic planning process and through that process, we have developed a new mission statement, a vision statement, core values, and three-year goals.  

You've probably seen "explore, connect, and grow" on some of our materials recently, including our last annual report and all of our summer program materials.  This year our (coming soon) annual report will be focused on YOU and Your Oakland Public Library.  That's because our mission is, "Your Oakland Public Library empowers all people to explore, connect, and grow," and we take it quite seriously.

Hopefully our core values aren't a surprise to you, as we aspire to infuse them into everything we do.

And what about those three year goals?  Well, in no particular order, we are working to

Click here to read more

Lifting as They Climbed: Making a Home for African American Seniors

African Americans worked to feed, clothe, and house their seniors in early Oakland.

The forgotten community of Beulah was a district of large, beautiful homes, many of which provided social services to the orphaned, poor and elderly. It was located in what is now East Oakland, just north and east of Mills College. One of Beulah’s most prominent institutions at the turn of the 20th century was the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People. Retirement homes at the time were racially segregated, accepting whites only, so Oakland’s African American civic and religious leaders came together to establish a home for its seniors and aged homeless.

The Old Peoples Home Association incorporated in 1892 for the purpose of building such a home. Its founding board included several prominent Oakland-based African American women such as Hettie Tilghman, Julia Shorey (shown here with her family), Harriet E. Smith, Ann S. Purnell, and Mary C. Washington. This early board of directors—and those who followed them—sponsored festivals, dances

Click here to read more

African Americans Establish a Growing Community in Early Oakland

In honor of Black History Month we celebrate Oakland's pioneering African Americans.

For most of us, the story of African Americans in Oakland begins with the westward migration during World War II. And while that is an amazing history, the story really began nearly 100 years before when Oakland was little more than dirt roads and clapboard buildings. The original town ran along 14th Street over to the estuary, from the tidal slough we know as Lake Merritt to West Street.

The same dreams of personal and economic freedoms that brought whites west drew African Americans to the state. They had come to California to start new lives unharnessed by tradition and restriction. They had come in search of gold. They had come accompanying slave masters. They had come to set down new roots. The first East Bay census, taken in 1852 when the city was founded, recorded that five African American men and one African American woman, and eight foreign-born African American men lived in Oakland. In those early days, African Americans in Oakland worked as sailors, laborers, draymen, barbers, maids, dressmakers, railroad porters, hotel workers, cooks, and waiters.

Click here to read more

OPL Responds: I.C.E. in the Bay Area

Here's what you need to know to protect yourself or support friends and neighbors in the event of an I.C.E. raid in the Bay Area.

OPL Responds Logo

Recent reports that I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) descended on businesses in the Bay Area remind us how important it is to know your rights.  

The library can help you get the information you need to protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors. Ask us! If we don’t know the answer, we’ll connect you to someone who does.

Creative Commons photo by Joe

Click here to read more

10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in February 2018

If you're a fiction lover, here are ten great February arrivals for you to drool over.

Click here to read more

African Americans in Times of War: The Story of We Also Serve

In honor of this year’s Black History Month theme, “African Americans in Times of War,” the African American Museum & Library at Oakland will feature events and community blog posts in February that tell the stories African Africans’ valiant and brave contributions to our country both at home and abroad in war time.

World War II brought profound changes to the African American community in Oakland and across the Bay Area. In the first four years of the war, the African American population of Oakland bloomed from 8,462 in 1940 to 21, 770 by 1944 to a considerable 47,562 residents by 1950.  Some families were beckoned to the Bay Area by government recruiters that scoured the South and Midwest looking for workers to fill the manpower shortage in war industries caused by the war. But most families moved here based on word of mouth from family members and Pullman Porters who touted the area’s plentiful jobs, good wages, and better opportunities for families seeking to escape the brutal social conditions of the American South. Most African Americans migrants came from four states – Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma – and some referred to the trains out West as ‘Liberty trains.’ Economic opportunities for African Americans expanded exponentially following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8802 prohibiting racial discrimination in hiring in federal war industries. Roosevelt was

Click here to read more

OPL Responds: A Booklist for the 2018 Women's March

Need some reading to go with all that marching? OPL has lots of great books on topics such as suffrage, civic engagement, dissenting women, and women in politics.

Saturday, January 20th will be the second annual Oakland Women's March.

Last year the Mercury News reported that 100,000 people marched here in Oakland. The route goes right by the Main library! We hope to have power restored and be open. If you are planning to visit the library on Saturday, please be aware that parking, and even walking, in the area may be difficult. If we are not open, we will have a table outside the library where you can pick up booklists, flyers, and even do a fun craft.

If you're marching (or if you're interested in reading more about issues being highlighted by the march) we've pulled together some books you might want to take a look at. 

Suffrage

Click here to read more

African Americans in Times of War

Black History Month 2018 focuses on African Americans in Times of War. Join us for events every Saturday in February as we honor veterans of various wars.

                                                                                

This years’ Black History Month theme is African Americans in Times of War.  The African American Museum and Library at Oakland [AAMLO] is commemorating this every Saturday in the month of February with programs honoring our veterans.

Saturday February 3 “Black Warriors, The Buffalo Soldiers of World War II”

Saturday February 10 “Finding Our Place: The Oakland Black Veteran Experience”

Saturday February 17 “Col. Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers at the Presidio”

Saturday February 24 “Why We Fight”

African Americans have served our country with pride for centuries in the United States military.

Click here to read more