There is no Oakland history without a history of the black community of Oakland. This entry needs work! We'd love your help :) Hit "edit" up top and please add.


Early History

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WWII and Post-War Years

A map showing the black population % change by U.S. state between 1900 and 1990. [Source: WikipediaWWII had a major effect on the city and its black population. The defense industry was a key economic driver during WWII. By the end of the war, the Federal Government was the largest public employer in the Bay Area [Johnson, The Second Gold Rush]. Through the activities of the NAACP, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and others, black workers were able to fight defense industry discrimination in employment and gain access to well-paying jobs. Demobilization after WWII devastated Oakland's economy. As opposed to other cities like Los Angeles, where the defense industry laid the groundwork for peacetime high tech industry (often still linked to the Defense Department), few of Oakland's wartime industries (especially shipbuilding) were applicable after the war [Murch, Living for the City, 17].

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  • Johnson, Marilynn S. The Second Gold Rush: Oakland and the East Bay in World War II. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1993.
  • Murch, Donna Jean. Living for the City: Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 2010.