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 (an early African