The African American Museum & Library at Oakland is working to preserve Oakland's music heritage.
It was forty-five years ago when Jay Payton, a well-known Bay Area emcee and music promoter, launched his own music and dance variety, Soul Is (later named “The Jay Payton Show”) on Oakland’s KEMO-TV. The variety show was modeled in part on Don Cornelius’ Soul Train, which had premiered two years earlier and created a model for a youth-focused music and dance variety show that promoted African American performers on a national stage.
Soul Is featured many Bay Area musicians and dance groups that frequently performed at Jay Payton’s Top Star Awards, an annual music award show produced by Payton for Bay Area African American R&B musicians held at the Showcase, Bimbo's 365 Club, the Claremont Hotel, and other venues.
Recipes and DIY holiday gift ideas.
Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa are fast approaching. For those who celebrate these holidays, cooking, baking and exchanging gifts are often part of the celebration. If you're looking for holiday recipes or gift making ideas, look no further! OPL has a book for you.
Celebrating Oakland's Rich Multicultural Arts: The Legacy of the Malonga Casquelourd Center
Come to the Oakland Public Library Main now until December 1 to “Give Praise to Life”. The event features:
The Malonga Center Community Ancestral Installation - If you have never been to “the Malonga” you’re missing out on a historical Oakland jewel. Since the 1920s, this grand building has been the go to place for theatre, special events, multicultural arts, classes and more. Check out their website http://mccatheater.com/
The Malonga Center, formerly known as the Alice Arts Center, was renamed for renowned African choreographer, dancer, musician, singer,
We've compiled a list of some of our favorite books for kids, teens and adults for your year-end gifting needs.
Giving a gift to a book lover anytime soon? Our third annual Holiday Gift Guide features some of our favorite recent books for kids, teens and adults. If you don't already have a favorite local bookseller, we've also provided a list of Oakland bookstores below.
Have suggestions of your own? We would LOVE to hear them--please share in the comments!
Books for Children
Facing racism and discrimination African Americans have served the Oakland Fire Department with honor for nearly 100 years.
Royal Towns (center) and two Oakland firefighters standing outside of fire engine no. 22
In 1919 the city of Oakland began seeking and testing African Americans applicants to serve as firefighters for a segregated unit of the Oakland Fire Department. As a result of this test, on January 1, 1920, three African American men were hired. The first firefighter worked at a pumping station at Lake Merritt until two additional men were hired. These men worked in the same firehouse on 8th and Alice as their white counterparts but on separate shifts. In 1925, the first all-African American firehouse 22 Engine opened in west Oakland at 3230 Magnolia Street.
Royal Towns was one of the many African Americans to work at 22 Engine. He served as a firefighter for 17 years before being promoted to Lieutenant. He helped recruit African American firefighters and conducted classes to help them study for the fire-
The Handmaid’s Tale and Other Dark Dystopian Dreams: 5 novels of speculative fiction exploring themes of gender and power.
The Handmaid’s Tale and Other Dark Dystopian Dreams
If the news has been feeling like some dark dystopian TV series for the past year, consider reading some speculative fiction exploring themes of gender and power. (And when is the next installment of The Handmaid’s Tale returning to Hulu, anyway?)
“All over the world, teenage girls develop the ability to send an electric charge from the tips of their fingers. It might be a little jolt, as thrilling as it is frightening. It might be powerful enough to leave lightning-bolt traceries on the skin of people the girls touch. It might be deadly. And, soon, the
A Readers' Advisory Round-Up
What do you like to read? Do you follow an author until you’ve read everything then wait impatiently for the next book? Do you read one genre exclusively? Science fiction? Popular science? Biographies?
How do you find the next book you’re going to read or listen to? Do you read reviews? Ask your friends? Or do you ask a librarian?
Good idea. Readers’ Advisory is our middle name. Names. When you ask us for help we open our bag of librarian tricks. Guess what the first trick is -- we will ask YOU more questions. We’re going to find out what you like and don’t like. And why. Once we’ve drawn you out, we’ll pull our other tricks out of the bag. Like the library catalog. A catalog search really can get you to a book with qualities like other books you’ve liked. We usually will start with keywords in the basic search box, moving later to an advanced search.
We also use library databases like
Help us serve you better by filling out a short music survey, and you'll be eligible to win tickets from local venues.
Blues or bluegrass? Jazz or folk? Streaming, vinyl, CDs ... or cassettes? What are your favorite kinds of music, and how do you listen to them?
We'd like to know more about your listening habits to ensure that our music collection meets your needs. That's why we've created a short survey on listening to music, whether live or recorded. Please take the survey to let us know what you're listening to and how:
Rather write than type? Paper copies are coming to a library near you.
Did you say prizes?
Everyone who completes the survey will be eligible to enter a raffle. Just fill in your name and phone number at the end of the survey to enter. The results will be tallied anonymously, and your information will not be shared.
The raffle is optional, but the prizes are pretty enticing. You could win:
- A $75 ticket voucher from
Staff at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland share stories and information about West Oakland's Music Legacy.
Guest post by African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) Staff Member, Sean Dickerson. Stay tuned for more posts from AAMLO soon!
Jenkins' corner building exterior, Harold Jenkins Photograph collection, MS 11, African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.
Singer Sugar Pie DeSanto, one of many musicians featured in filmmaker Cheryl Fabio’s documentary Evolutionary Blues, remembers learning to play classical piano as a child in the 1930’s Bay Area. DeSanto, whose mother was an African American concert pianist, grew up studying classical and jazz standards