OAKLAND HISTORIANS WORKSHOP

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Golden Gate Branch Library

5606 San Pablo Avenue

Oakland CA

We've embraced play as a way to share knowledge about the place where we live. We partnered with Liam O'Donoghue, the beloved local history buff behind East Bay Yesterday, as well as Oakland history experts Annalee Allen and Gene Anderson, to kick off the Golden Gate library's fall 2018 Centennial Celebration.

Always an engaging host, Liam challenged neighbors to put their knowledge of our city's history to the test. Questions ranged from niche Golden Gate neighborhood knowledge to Oakland music, sports, arts and culture. By answering questions about Frank Ogawa, Bruce Lee, The Pointer Sisters, mai tai cocktails and more, winners took home prizes like a gorgeous East Bay Yesterday Oakland map, gift certificates to local restaurants and a Commons Archive tote bag commemorating the library's centennial anniversary.

In 2019, Liam featured interviews gathered by Commons Archive in an episode about gentrification in the Golden Gate Neighborhood. The stories told by longtime Golden Gate neighbor Josephine Lee and other residents were featured on "Get to know us first," Episode 36 of East Bay Yesterday, an independently- produced podcast on culture, politics, and nature hosted by Liam O'Donoghue. Give East Bay Yesterday a listen and learn more about the fascinating local stories often left out of mainstream narratives.

Also part of the centennial festivities, local history experts Annalee Allen and Gene Anderson shared the complicated legacy of nineteenth-century industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie's fiscal sponsorship of hundreds of libraries throughout the United States in the early 20th century.

The Golden Gate and the former Charles Greene Library now the African American Museum and Library of Oakland (AAMLO) are among the several Carnegie libraries built here in Oakland that are still in use today. A powerful and influential steel magnate with a controversial relationship with labor, Andrew Carnegie was determined to release much of his  wealth back to the community. Carnegie's generosity in funding 2,800 free libraries across the US established the role of this American institution, allowing public to access worlds of knowledge.

Test Your North Oakland Knowledge!

Q: Before becoming a famous action star for movies such as "Enter the Dragon," this man lived in Oakland and taught kung fu at a studio that was located on Broadway's Auto Row. What was his name?

A: Bruce Lee

Q: During World War II, this man was imprisoned for several years as part of the mass incarceration of Japanese-Americans during that era. However, he later became the first Japanese-American to serve on Oakland city council from 1966-1994 -- the longest tenure of any Oakland council member. What was his name?

A: Frank Ogawa

Q: What was the name of the man who invented "The Wave" in 1981 at the Oakland Coliseum?

A: Krazy George.

There's some dispute, but George says: "I don't claim to have invented the wave. I DID INVENT THE WAVE."

Q: For about 10 years in the 1980s, an organization known as the East Bay Negro Historical Society had its collection in the Golden Gate Library.  In the early 2000s, it moved downtown to the Charles Greene Library on 14th Street, which then became the African American Museum and Library at Oakland. What was the name of the family that gathered this collection and started the historical society?

A: The Lasartemay family.

Eugene and Ruth Lasartemay started in the the East Bay Negro Historical Society in the 1940s to collect stories, memories and artifacts from their church community -- Beth Eden Baptist Church.

Q: What world famous cocktail was invented at a bar on the corner of 65th and San Pablo in 1944?

A: The mai tai

The rum-based drink was invented by "Trader Vic" Bergeron! In 2009, during a ceremony held at the Conga Lounge on College Avenue, Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan officially named the Mai Tai Oakland's "official drink."

Q: Amelia Earhart had an office in a downtown Oakland hotel where she planned her attempt to fly around the world. The building still exists, although it's no longer a hotel. What's was the hotel named?

A: The Leamington.

We each hold stories that, when shared with our communities, become public knowledge. Organic & changing over time, public knowledge reflects the diversity of our neighborhoods. Local narratives shared by neighbors reveal layered cultural history in ways that no map or history book can. We look to neighbors as keepers of stories and deep community knowledge and we believe everyone is a teacher and a learner. To engage in systems change, it is vital to create space for unheard voices. Our role is to make these stories accessible for everyone in our communities to nurture long-term resiliency.

Annalee Allen is an Oakland historian, former Tribune columnist, and also runs the downtown walking tours program for the city. She is the author of several books on Oakland history, including Oakland (Postcard History), Selections from the Oakland Tribune Archives and Oakland Landmarks: An Artistic Portrayal of History which was co-created with artist Heidi Wyckoff.

Author and blogger Gene Anderson lives in Oakland, where he can regularly be found exploring different parts of the city. His great-grandfather worked on one of the Southern Pacific ferryboats that plied San Francisco Bay in the 1890s, and his grandfather worked for the Sacramento Northern Railway in Oakland.