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

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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 Bruskins via Flickr.

We

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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

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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

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E.J. (Evangeline) Montgomery: Oakland African American artists' advocate

The African American Museum & Library at Oakland celebrates an arts champion.

Portrait of Evangeline J. Montgomery (1973)Oakland Post Photograph Collection, MS 169, African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

E.J. (Evangeline) Montgomery, who had been active in the Los Angeles art networks in the 1950s and 1960s, moved to Oakland in 1965 and by 1967 had founded an African American artists' advocacy group called Art West Associated North (AWAN). Like other political organizations concerned with African American visibility and self-definition, the association protested the exclusion of African American artists from local museums and galleries. In a note published in the exhibition catalog "

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Calling All Immigrant Artists!

Apply Now! The Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Oakland offers immigrant artists the opportunity to focus on their creative practice, gain support and exposure for their work, while upholding their distinct cultural identities.

Photo of artistsThe Oakland Public Library is excited to be a partner in an exciting new program being brought to our city by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).  The Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Oakland offers immigrant artists the opportunity to focus on their creative practice, gain support and exposure for their work, while upholding their distinct cultural identities.

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NYFA has developed a method that has proved successful in helping artists access resources, build networks and develop skills, as well

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Welcome to the new AAMLO!

AAMLO's new Interim Chief Curator, Susan Anderson, greets the community.

Portrait of boy and girl, Oliver Denny photographer, Sacramento,1867 Royal E. Towns papers 

I started my tenure as Interim Chief Curator at the African American Museum and Library on October 21. It’s been an eventful and productive couple of months. The African American Museum and Library at Oakland is re-dedicating itself to its mission – to preserve and make accessible the history of African Americans in the Bay Area and California. We want people to know that our doors are open. Our research collections are available for researchers of all types from high school students and local residents to worldwide academic scholars. Our museum space invites collaborative exhibits and stimulating programs. The wonderful staff here is knowledgeable and skilled at assisting researchers and partnering with the community. During the hours we’re open, when

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The Jay Payton Show: Oakland’s Own Soul Train

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.          

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African American Firefighters In Oakland

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-

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Evolutionary Blues: West Oakland’s Music Legacy

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

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

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