Black Migrations to the Bay Area

Prepare for a visit to AAMLO with these special topic resource guides.

This resource guide is intended to help users locate holdings at AAMLO related to the historical migration of African Americans to the Bay Area.

It highlights holdings in the following areas:

● Selected Library Material at AAMLO
● Selected Archival Collections at AAMLO

Other collections may contain relevant materials. Please contact AAMLO ( with any questions or to schedule an appointment to view materials in person.

A printable PDF version of this resource guide is available for download.

Selected Library Materials

New world a-coming : Black religion and racial identity during the great migration by Judith Weisenfeld

The warmth of other suns : the epic story of America's great migration by Isabel Wilkerson

Making a way out of no way : African American women and the second great migration by Lisa Krissoff Boehm

Abiding courage : African American migrant women and the East Bay community by Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo

The second gold rush : Oakland and the East Bay in World War II by Marilynn S. Johnson

The Great Migration : journey to the North by Eloise Greenfield ; illustrated by Jan Spivey

This is the rope : a story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson ; illustrated by James Ransome

Selected Archival Collections

Shades of North Oakland Photograph Collection. The mission of the Shades of North Oakland Project was to document the activities and history of current and former residents of African descent of the North Oakland neighborhood by copying photographs from family albums and private collections. The photographs were reproduced and donors provided details of the history of each donated photograph and their family’s migration to California.

Historic image of two women sitting on front tires of automobile
Two women sitting on front tires of automobile, circa 1924, African American Museum & Library at Oakland Photograph collection, MS 189, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library.

African American Museum & Library at Oakland Vertical File Collection. The African American Museum & Library at Oakland Vertical File Collection consists of programs, flyers, correspondence, posters, pamphlets, and ephemera collected by the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.


Box 58:5 France, Edward E. / "Some aspects of the migration of the Negro to the San Francisco Bay Area since 1940," by Edward E. France [two copies] 1962

African American Museum & Library at Oakland Oral History Collection. The African American Museum & Library at Oakland Oral History Collection includes 79 oral history interviews conducted in 2002-2007.

The following interviews include discussions of migration: Elizabeth Creely, Rosario Flores, Rev. Carl and Beverly Kennedy, Bishop Aurea Lewis, Bishop Ernestine Reems, Rev. J. Alfred Smith Sr., Dr. Leon Taylor, Henry Delton Williams, Lee Williams, Flo Oy Wong, and Oscar Wright.

Rushing Family Photograph Collection. The Rushing Family Photograph Collection consists of 200 photographs and ephemera documenting the Great Migration of African Americans to California from the American South during World War II.

Additional Information

Search the library using the catalog.

Consult AAMLO's finding aids in the Online Archive of California.

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