Monday, March 3, 2008

A little story about Oakland

So I haven't written in a while, and for once I think I have a decent excuse: I'm moving. to Oakland. In tribute to what will become my new home, here are some facts and some history about the home of hyphy:
Oakland (and Long Beach) are the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States, speaking 150 different languages. Of approximately 415,000 people, 31% African American, 26% white, 25% Latino, 16.4% Asian American, 1% Pacific Islander, .6% Native American, 14% Other

It's the 8th largest city in California and the 44th largest city in the U.S.

Rand McNally claims that Oakland has the best weather in the country (coming from Southern California, I find that hard to believe...)

As far as Oakland's notorious reputation, it's somewhere between the 4th and the 8th most dangerous city in the country mainly due to homicides (hopefully my mom never reads this) of which there were 127 last year.

Home to the As, the Raiders, and the Golden State Warriors

As far as history goes, Oakland was granted to a dude named Peralta in the early 19th century from the Spanish Royal government and named "encinal" meaning "oak grove" which eventually turned into "Oakland." The Gold Rush of 1848 affected Oakland as well as a lot of California, bringing railroad lines, boats, and streetcars. When the 1906 earthquake hit San Francisco, Oakland's population doubled due to the amount of refugees escaping earthquake damage and fires. 1920s were a good time economically for Oakland, leading to the building of many houses and a lot of the downtown buildings still standing today. Oakland was home to many industries including shipbuilding, canneries, bakeries, metals, and automobiles. These industries, especially during WW2, attracted many African American laborers.

After WW2 the automobile and shipbuilding industries significantly dissolved and eliminated many jobs. However, many who had originally come for work had decided to settle in Oakland. Simultaneously, more affluent sectors of the population moved into easterly suburbs as an example of "white flight." After the war, Oakland had become increasingly poor.

The most significant aspect of Oakland's history during the 1960s and 70s was the creation of the Black Panthers by two students of Merritt College, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The Black Panthers were originally formed as a response to rampant police brutality at a time when only 16 of 661 police officers were black in a largely poor black community. Funk and the Hell's Angels were both visible forces and the 1970s were apparently a good time for all three professional sports teams.

Oakland was at the center of the ebonics controversy, when in 1997, Oakland's school board decided to formally recognize ebonics or AAVE (African American Vernacular English) as an official language.
Anyway, in less than two weeks, this is where I'll be..


Saxon Baird said...

Two Things:

1.I can totally testify about Oakland weather. For whatever reason, once you cross over the bay bridge and head south...the weather suddenly clears up immediately at Oakland. Its so strange.

2. Buy me a Baron Davis jersey and I'll forever be in debt to you.

nora said...

you'll be there in two weeks unless i happen to- catch you! unawares and rope you up and keep you in my closet... shrink you to the size of an action figurine and carry you in my pocket etc.