The tour is designed to be experienced in a number of ways; to physically go through in order, location-by-location, at once or in part, and virtually via this website.
We have built this tour to logically move you through it and help you feel the energy we did exploring the streets of Oakland. Though it can be done in one day, try to do it in 2 or 3 days.
If you can, take the time to experience the locations more fully--you might eat lunch in DeFremery Park or have a slice of pie at It's All Good. DEFINITELY save yourself time to enjoy Marcus Books. They've got rare old books, and it's a comfortable environment where customers can feel free to ask questions. Founded in 1960, it's the oldest Black-owned independent bookstore in the country. Any of these suggestions would really help to embed you into the communities as you experience the tour.
FYI - The locations may no longer have the original building/configuration/usage. The images in the Google Street View are mostly years old, though it's interesting to see the Google Street View and then see the various pictures and videos we provide in our Detailed Tour Information page. [which you are currently on]
Taking this pilgrimage is like walking the streets of Birmingham or Montgomery, Alabama. Even the most depressed areas whisper, "...greatness has come from here."
"Oakland has a distinct, important history; and you can't understand the Panthers without having a sense of the city's unique blend of southern black, militant trade union, and western American cultures.
Originally Oakland served as the railhead for the transcontinental railroad, a ferrying point for goods shipped to and from San Francisco. Populated mainly by Italians and Portuguese, the Victorian houses that line the streets also housed Pullman porters, members of the first organized black trade union . . . who, as they crisscrossed the country, passed the word about the liberal, thriving town. By the twenties Oakland was attracting blacks from the Gulf states. Because a nucleus of local industrialists increased their power in the state, the port won important contracts; when World War II began all Pacific Theater forces left from the Oakland docks, promoting a surge in the city's growth that attracted more blacks, a migration that continued into the fifties. (Blacks weren't the only southerners to get jobs in the ports; whites from the Gulf states came too, many of them joining the Oakland Police Department, thereby giving that organization an especial notoriety.
The newcomers--like my family--settle in the 'flats,' the tableland that stretches from the port to the hills inhabited by the city's traditional power brokers. No one in the flats has money. . . .
We don't only change Oakland. The newly emerging western city also affects us. First, the place is a raw settlement, a boomtown, violent and full of adventure. Vigilantes play . . . a . . . distinguished and important a role in the area's life. . . . Plus, the area has a rich union tradition. The area's local hero is not a college football coach but Harry Bridges, head of the radical longshoreman's union. . . . The political environment encourages the idea of internationalism; solidarity is the watchword, and we are surrounded by examples of people collectively asserting their power.
The internationalism is emphasized by the fact that Oakland . . . is an integrated community. You don't simply find whites and blacks, but yellows, browns, Native Americans too. These groups coexist in a particular way. New York is famous for its many ethnic communities. But whenever I visit there, I'm surprised at how groups don't mix: the city is multiracial, not interracial. But on July 4, when the young people of Oakland crowd the park by the bay to watch the fireworks, the array of skin shades is beautiful and impressive . . ." From Hilliard and Cole, This Side of Glory
The Second Great Migration: Overview
The dramatic exodus of African Americans from countryside to city and from South to North during World War I and the decade that followed changed forever black America's economic, political, social, and cultural lives. The Great Migration was, up to that point, the largest voluntary internal movement of black people ever seen.
Somewhat ironically, the Great Migration's sequel during and following World War II has not been given its own title by scholars. It is, in fact, often considered to be merely a continuation of the earlier movement, following a momentary pause during the Depression. In many ways, however, this second huge exodus from the South deserves a separate identity; it was larger, more sustained, different in character and direction, and precipitated an even more radical and lasting transformation in American life than its better-known predecessor.
By the end of World War II, the character of the black population had shifted: the majority was urban. In 1970, at the end of the second Great Migration, African Americans were a more urbanized population than whites: more than 80 percent lived in cities, as compared to 70 percent for the general population of the United States; and 53 percent remained in the South, while 40 percent lived in the Northeast and North Central states and 7 percent in the West. Complete article
This school documentary does an amazing job of presenting a multiethnic perspective of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense by using the people who worked with the BBPS-D as its source.
This video is dedicated to the Counter Intelligence Program that the FBI used against many of the human rights/civil rights organizations.