East Bay Yesterday
Summary: East Bay history podcast that gathers, shares & celebrate stories from Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and other towns throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
In the early 1900s, newspapers proclaimed that Oakland would become “the great metropolis of the West Coast.” During these boom years, East Bay politicians and business leaders celebrated a hot air balloon called “The City of Oakland” as a representation of the region’s rising prospects. This episode explores the relationship between the balloon’s eventual fate and Oakland’s economic trajectory. Featuring an interview with Gene Anderson, author of “Legendary Locals of Oakland” If you want to get a copy of the Long Lost Oakland map, you get it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eastbayyesterday/long-lost-oakland
Out of all the features on the Long Lost Oakland map, the Ohlone shellmounds have drawn the most questions. Many of those questions were addressed in an earlier episode, so I’m sharing it again. Here’s the original description: “Have you ever wondered what the East Bay was like before colonization? In this episode, Corrina Gould of Indian People Organizing for Change shares knowledge of how her ancestors, the Ohlone people, maintained a relatively peaceful culture here for thousands of years. Although this history was nearly wiped out, struggles to protect sacred shellmound sites—some of them older than the Egyptian pyramids—have sparked a movement to honor this region’s original inhabitants and reclaim ‘lost’ languages, crafts and practices.”
Oakland’s Black population nearly quintupled during the 1940s. Tens of thousands of African Americans fled the Jim Crow-era South to work in East Bay shipyards like Moore Dry Dock Company. The backlash to this boom laid the foundation for decades of entrenched inequality and discriminatory housing patterns. This episode explores the rise of one of one of Oakland’s biggest industrial operations ever – and the aftermath of its demise. Featuring interviews with: -Dorothy Lazard, librarian at Oakland Library History Room -Ron Moore, son of Moore Dry Dock Company co-owner -Marilynn S. Johnson, author of “The Second Gold Rush: Oakland and the East Bay in World War II” If you want to get a copy of the Long Lost Oakland map, you get it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eastbayyesterday/long-lost-oakland/posts/2137822
When the Cypress Freeway collapsed during the Loma Prieta earthquake, many Oakland residents risked their own lives to rescue victims trapped in the ruins. In this episode, a collaboration with Snap Judgement, Raven Roberts shares his memories of what it was like to live through that disaster – and the traumatizing aftermath. Raven’s story reveals that even though West Oakland has changed dramatically since the freeway came down, many long-time residents still carry deep scars from the quake. This story was co-produced by Snap Judgement -- an Oakland-based, nationally syndicated radio show and podcast. To listen to their amazing catalogue of stories, visit: http://snapjudgment.org/ Snap Judgement on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/snapjudgment Extra thanks to Eliza Smith, Mark Ristich and Glynn Washington for giving “East Bay Yesterday” a platform on Snap Judgement and Davey Kim the incredible sound design!
Up until the 1850s, the East Bay was home to hundreds of grizzlies and some of the tallest redwoods in the history of the planet. Within about a decade of the Gold Rush, nearly all of the bears and the trees were wiped out. This episode looks back at the local environment before colonization—and explores how such a massive wave of devastation was able to change the landscape so quickly. Today's show features interviews with Laura Cunningham, author of “State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California,” and Amelia Sue Marshall, author of “East Bay Hills: A Brief History.” For more information on these books, visit: https://lcunningham-art.com/books https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781467137256 About Long Lost Oakland: The goal of Long Lost Oakland is not to evoke nostalgia or romanticize past eras. It’s to highlight the constantly shifting nature of Oakland in midst of a moment when we can look around and literally watch the landscape of our city change before our eyes. This multimedia collaboration will consist of a podcast mini-series, several events, a walking tour and a hand-illustrated, poster-size map. The full-color map will include an array of geographic features ranging from buildings and infrastructure to plants and animals. The unifying theme of these objects is that they once existed in Oakland, but don’t anymore. Long Lost Oakland will blend art and history in order to explore how our past connects to the world we live in today and the future we may be living in soon. *Kickstarter to fund map printing coming soon!* To receive updates, follow East Bay Yesterday on social media and sign up for the newsletter: https://eastbayyesterday.com/ https://tinyletter.com/EastBay_Yesterday
John Muir died on Christmas Eve of 1914, but his gravesite is finally just opening up to the public now. In honor of this occasion, we’ll take a look at a side of “the father of America’s National Parks” that’s not widely known — his life in Contra Costa County. This episode features interviews with John Muir Historic Site park rangers who share stories of Muir’s local adventures, his family and why he was often spotted carrying “pillowcases full of money.” For more info on visiting Muir’s grave: https://www.nps.gov/jomu/index.htm For more info on East Bay Yesterday: https://eastbayyesterday.com/
Although Oakland has one of the highest concentrations of lesbians in the country, the history—and impact—of this community is relatively unknown. Lenn Keller is trying to change that with the upcoming launch of the Bay Area Lesbian Archives, a wide-ranging collection of photographs, activist materials, meeting notes, videos and more. In this episode, Keller shares stories of why some of the world’s first lesbian of color groups formed, discusses the thriving network of collectives that existed here in the 1970s and 80s, and reminisces about some of her favorite lesbian bars of the era. Note: The Bay Area Lesbian Archives site has not launched yet, but to support the organization online, visit the fiscal sponsor's webpage: http://labryshealthcarecircle.com/ace/balhap.html
What do a Buddhist Church, a lighthouse, a 72-room hotel and a whole block of Victorian houses have in common? They’re all Oakland buildings that were picked up and moved from their original settings. This episode explores the history of structure relocation in the East Bay, from the Gold Rush to current projects. Warning: Assumptions about authenticity, technology and historic preservation will be challenged. Featuring interviews with: author Diane Donovan, Oakland Heritage Alliance board member Naomi Schiff, architect Jim Heilbronner and real estate developer Paul Gryfakis.
Instead of one long story, the 25th episode of East Bay Yesterday features four shorties. In one interview, a man reminisces about using very unusual bait while fishing with his grandpa at the Berkeley pier. In another, a longtime Oakland postal employee recalls his close calls with stray gunfire. From underground circuses to sideshows, this episode compiles quirky memories into an audio time capsule of East Bay history. Support for this episode was provided by my dentist, Dr. Curtis Perry. You can find information about his dental practice at: http://www.oaklandsmiles.com
Richard Pryor was one of the most influential comedians of all time, but when he first arrived in the East Bay, he said: “I don’t think I have a style yet.” This episode explores how living in Berkeley during an era full of riots and revolutionaries sparked Pryor’s creative evolution. Authors Cecil Brown and Ishmael Reed share memories of these tumultuous times and Pryor biographer Scott Saul explains how the controversial performer went on to change American culture forever.
From jumping off pianos with James Brown to running the streets with Etta James, Sugar Pie DeSanto has led a wild life. In this episode, the soul singer shares memories of performing in Oakland’s legendary 1950s blues clubs, stunning global audiences with her risqué moves, and making grown men cry. As Sugar Pie puts it, “I’m one of the roughest women you could ever know. I ain’t to be played with!” Listen now to find out what happened when one aggressive fan learned this lesson the hard way. Special thanks to Mr. Jim Moore and Jasman Records. Support Sugar Pie DeSanto by purchasing her music at: http://sugarpiedesanto.com/ Also, check out my article about Sugar Pie in this week’s issue of East Bay Express: https://www.eastbayexpress.com/
“OG Told Me” isn’t just a new book, it’s a survival guide packed full of advice that Pendarvis Harshaw gathered from more than 50 interviews with Black elders. This episode takes a trip back in time though hyphy-era sideshows, graffiti yards and even a possibly haunted building in downtown Oakland.
For decades, millions of drivers passing through Emeryville saw an ever-changing array of giant statues along the bayshore. In addition to the towering wooden vikings, dragons and other whimsical creatures, activists used driftwood and trash to build monumental projects responding to the tumultuous political era. This episode traces the rise and fall of this “renegade drive-thru art gallery” and explores the concept of public art. Featuring interviews with Joey Enos, Tom Enos, Denise Neal, Lincoln Cushing and Tim Drescher. Be sure to follow East Bay Yesterday on social media to see photos of the “Emeryville mudflat sculptures.”
Dorothea Lange is one of the most famous photographers of all time, but the local work she did during her many decades as an East Bay resident is often overlooked. This episode explores how she went from taking portraits of the Bay Area’s wealthiest families to documenting the poor and working class. Dorothea’s goddaughter, Elizabeth Partridge, and Drew Johnson, curator of the Oakland Museum’s new Dorothea Lange exhibition, share insights on what makes her photographs so iconic—and why they’re still so relevant. “Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing” is showing at the Oakland Museum of California from May 13 through August 13, 2017. For details, visit: http://museumca.org/exhibit/dorothea-lange-politics-seeing
Long before the Athletics moved to Oakland, teams like the Colonels, the Larks and the Aztec Stars played baseball in the East Bay. Special guest contributor Cyrus Farivar digs into the roots of our national pastime—and even visits “vintage” game. Did you know that Oakland’s first black mayor was a pitcher in the West Coast Negro League? This is just one of the many stories explored in today’s episode. Play ball!