Black History Month 2023
Take some time to explore local Black history this month. Black communities in Marin County, along with the rest of the Bay Area, have a rich and complex past, present, and future—while we are highlighting the past this month, let us be sure that we work to support a just present so we can create an equitable future.
The 1944 California Supreme Court case James v. Marinship originated in the Marin City shipyards and ultimately ruled that union membership could not be withheld from individuals on the basis of race. To learn more about the history of Marin City, directly from the stories of those who live and have lived there, check out Marin City Memories by Marilyn L. Geary. You can also attend our VR Experience Highlight drop-in program this month to learn more in A Way Out Of No Way: Marin City’s Hidden Shipbuilders. Researchers can also contact us via email about local history resources in our California Collection.
Though it has changed quite a bit in recent years, San Francisco’s Fillmore District has a deep history as a hub of Black culture. Between the 1940s and 1960s, just one square mile of the district contained at least two dozen night clubs and music venues that were home to a great number of Black musicians. Check out more in Elizabeth Pepin’s book Harlem of the West, which documents San Francisco’s Fillmore Jazz Era.
The East Bay’s dense Black history and culture intersects with the sometimes lesser–known Black cowboy and rodeo community. Gabriela Hasbun spent over a decade photographing the Black contestants at Oakland’s annual Bill Pickett Rodeo, and you can experience this iconic event through her photographs in The New Black West.
Libraries now: Discover & Go
Visit the Oakland Museum of California and experience the special exhibit “Angela Davis: Seize the Time” through June 11—you can use your library card to get a museum pass with Discover and Go! If you want to learn more about Angela Davis, check out her autobiography or her other writings, such as Freedom is a Constant Struggle.
Libraries then: Segregation and civil rights
Those who fought for the desegregation of public libraries played a huge role both in the civil rights movement and in shaping the libraries we have today. Check out more on the history of libraries and segregation in Not Free, Not for All by Cheryl Knott and Freedom Libraries by Mike Selby.