East Bay Yesterday show

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.

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 “If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with”: When Ronald Reagan sent troops into Berkeley | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:39:57

50 years ago, a group of students, activists and community members transformed a muddy, junk-filled parking lot into a park. When the University of California, under heavy pressure from Gov. Ronald Reagan, tore up the grass and surrounded the land with a heavily-guarded fence, this response triggered a surreal and tragic set of events. The maelstrom of violence that engulfed Berkeley in May 1969 would be almost impossible to believe if the cameras hadn't been rolling. Dozens were shot, hundreds were arrested, and thousands were teargassed – protesters and innocent bystanders alike. During the military occupation of Berkeley by National Guardsmen, a helicopter launched a chemical attack on the University campus, children were surrounded by bayonet-wielding soldiers, and journalists were detained under the supervision of brutally sadistic guards. Amidst this upheaval, Gov. Reagan told a group of reporters, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with, no more appeasement.” This episode explores the conflict with Tom Dalzell, the author of “The Battle for People’s Park” (Heyday Books), and through archival audio captured by KPFA-FM reporters in 1969 and 1970. If you enjoy the episode, please support East Bay Yesterday: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday To see photos related to this episode: https://eastbayyesterday.com/ To purchase “The Battle for People’s Park, Berkeley 1969”: https://aerbook.com/maker/productcard-4196911-4706.html Episode art: Photo: Ted Streshinsky; courtesy of the Streshinsky Family. Image used by kind permission of Heyday Books.

 EBY Q&A: Exploring Lake Merritt and Children’s Fairyland | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:04:00

With the weather warming up, I thought now would be a great time for a deep dive into Lake Merritt (not literally!). First, this episode will explore the wild side of this body of water (which is technically a tidal estuary) with Constance Taylor, a naturalist with California Center for Natural History. Then, I’ll interview Children’s Fairyland director C.J. Hirschfield about the enchanting amusement park that’s been entertaining families on the shores of Lake Merritt since 1950. Listen now to hear about the origin of the lake’s geodesic dome, the real story behind Walt Disney’s “inspiration,” and much more. If you enjoy the episode, please support East Bay Yesterday: https://www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday To see photos related to this episode: https://eastbayyesterday.com/ To learn more about California Center for Natural History: https://calnature.org/ To learn more about Children’s Fairyland: https://fairyland.org/

 Deep in Canyon, part 2: “It wasn’t utopia... it was real.” | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:52:03

During the 1960s, young people from all over the country flooded into a small village tucked behind the Oakland hills amidst a grove of towering redwoods. Some of them just came to party, but many sought to build an alternative to what they saw as the violence and reckless consumerism of mainstream society. In the forest, they built psychedelic cabins out of scavenged materials and taught each other how to garden, sew, raise chickens and goats, play music, bake bread, and much more. By the end of the decade, this hippie enclave faced several major threats: a crackdown by local government agencies and – even more terrifying – a catastrophic explosion that killed a man and left several of the town’s most important structures in smoldering ruins. This episode explores Canyon’s fight for survival… and why it was worth saving. Featuring interviews with: Christina Bernard, Ed Johnson, Karen Pickett, Deva Rajan, Vicki Saputo, Esperanza Pratt Surls, and also an archival interview with George Menge, conducted about two decades ago by Roberta Llewellyn. (Big thank you to Digital Roots Studio for digitizing the audio cassette.) If you enjoy the episode, please support East Bay Yesterday: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

 Deep in Canyon, part 1: “Paradise with a dash of chaos” | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:38:38

During the Gold Rush, Canyon had more residents than Oakland, but today few people know that this tiny village nestled in the East Bay hills even exists. The “Deep in Canyon” mini-series will explore the history of what author John Van Der Zee called “the last rustic community in metropolitan America.” This episode covers Canyon’s many transformations between the 1840s and the early 1960s – from its rise as a Wild West logging town to the dawn of the “hippie invasion,” with many colorful detours along the way. Featuring interviews with: Vicki Saputo, Esperanza Pratt Surls and Karen Pickett. To see photos related to this story, visit: https://eastbayyesterday.com/ If you enjoy the episode, please support East Bay Yesterday: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

 Bonus episode: Q&A with “Evolutionary Blues” director Cheryl Fabio | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:03:05

Instead of the usual narrative format, this episode is a one-on-one interview with Cheryl Fabio, the director of “Evolutionary Blues: West Oakland’s Music Legacy.” I interviewed Cheryl for my KPFA radio show this week and I enjoyed the interview so much, I've decided to share it as a podcast. Also, I wanted to spread the word about Cheryl’s upcoming film & artist talk series “Resistance, Resilience & Anticipation: A fresh look at the Black Arts Movement in Oakland.” For more about those events, check out: https://www.swfcenter4sj.org/ For info & upcoming screenings of “Evolutionary Blues,” check out: https://evolutionarybluesfilm.com/ If you enjoy the episode, please support East Bay Yesterday: https://www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday Since this interview is about the history of West Oakland blues, I also wanted to re-share one of my favorite episodes from 2017. Here is the original description of that program, which follows the Q&A with Cheryl Fabio… “The queen of the West Coast blues”: Sugar Pie DeSanto serves up sweet & spicy stories 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: sugarpiedesanto.com/

 “The Silent Generation was over”: Building Berkeley’s 1960s student movement | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:38:23

Stories about Berkeley’s rebellious student movement of the 1960s often start with the launch of the Free Speech Movement. But the roots of this pivotal event go all the way back to the previous decade, when a campus group fed up with the innocuous role of student government started rallying around controversial political issues such as civil rights. This episode explores the history of SLATE, a student-led organization that rarely gets credit for their influential role in helping spark a decade of social change. This episode features interviews with former SLATE members Mike Miller, David Armour, Cindy Kamler and Michael Tigar. Interview were conducted by Martin Meeker and Todd Holmes of UC Berkeley’s Oral History Center. To read full interview transcripts, check out the SLATE Oral History Project: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/libraries/bancroft-library/oral-history-center/projects/slate If you enjoy this episode, please consider supporting East Bay Yesterday on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

 “Getting shot was one of the best things that happened”: Life after an Oakland assassination attempt | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:31:49

Growing up in Oakland, Mike lost many friends and family members in the streets. Three years ago, he almost became a victim, too, when he was shot seven times while sitting in a car with his daughter. Since then, Mike has recovered his health and built a thriving shoe customization business*. He also moved to a safer area. Today’s episode features a deep exploration of Oakland’s violent history with somebody who understands it intimately. *Check out Magic Mike Customs here: https://www.instagram.com/magicmikecustoms/

 “Respect the patch”: How Oakland’s oldest Black motorcycle club survived nearly 60 years | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:33:42

Tobie Gene Levingston left behind his life as a Louisiana sharecropper in the mid-1950s to work at a Oakland metal foundry. Within a few years, he started the East Bay Dragons, which grew to be one of the most legendary Black motorcycle clubs in the world. This episode goes into the Dragons’ clubhouse for a deep conversation with two long-time members, Melvin Shadrick and Picasso, to explore how the club has managed to thrive all these years – and what it feels like to cruise past another motorcycle pack on the highway going 140 miles per hour. This episode’s art is a watercolor painted by Oakland-based illustrator and author Robert Liu-Trujillo. You can see more of Rob’s work at http://work.robdontstop.com/

 “It’s in the DNA of hip-hop”: Tracing the local roots of a musical movement | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:28:42

The style, music and politics of the East Bay have had a major influence on hip-hop since even before the very first rap album dropped. Photojournalist Eric Arnold recently mapped out the most important locations of this history in the “Hip Hop Atlas of The Bay,” part of the Oakland Museum’s exhibition: “RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom.” In this episode, Arnold shares stories about the Oakland dance trends that laid the groundwork for “b-boy” culture, how Too Short changed the music industry and much more. The Oakland Museum’s hip hop exhibition is running through August 12th. Details here: http://museumca.org/exhibit/respect-hip-hop-style-wisdom

 “Get to know us first”: Longtime residents reflect on Oakland’s transformation | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:37:52

North Oakland’s Golden Gate neighborhood has undergone a rapid demographic shift over the past decade as many longtime Black residents have moved out and wealthier, younger white people have moved in. This episode features five stories that explore how folks are navigating these changes. Interviews for this episode were conducted by cultural researcher Sue Mark, founder of Commons Archive. To learn more about the “neighborhood memory bank” that Sue is building, visit: http://www.commonsarchive.net/ The woman featured in this episode’s art is Josephine Lee, who was born in Oakland on August 29, 1925. As you’ll hear in her interview, she is one of Oakland’s many Black residents who refuses to leave the town she loves. You can see more of Josephine Lee and the other residents featured in this video: https://vimeo.com/138672648

 “This strange monument”: The story behind one of Oakland’s most prominent abandoned buildings | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:36:18

The abandoned pink building on the corner of MacArthur and Martin Luther King Jr. Way has visually dominated that busy intersection for so long that it feels like a monument. But what this monument represents depends on your perspective. It could by a symbol of what happened to one of Oakland’s thriving Black business corridors and the ongoing exodus of a community. Or it could be a symbol of how the revolutionary dreams of the Occupy era literally went down in flames. Or it could symbolize the East Bay’s insane real estate market, where the same piece of property could sell for $90,000 in 2012 and then $3.2 million a few years later. This episode explores these questions with journalist Sam Lefebvre, who recently dug into this history for Open Space magazine. Here’s a link to Sam’s article: “Nine Tenths of the Law” https://openspace.sfmoma.org/2018/05/nine-tenths-of-the-law/

 Long Lost Oakland, chapter 5: Overcoming racism, Lew Hing became king of Oakland’s canning industry | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:39:28

Following the 1906 earthquake, Oakland’s Lew Hing supported thousands of victims from San Francisco’s Chinatown who were turned away from official relief camps due to rampant discrimination. On the grounds of his massive Pacific Coast Cannery in West Oakland, Lew fed and sheltered this marginalized community when nobody else would. This episode explores how a self-made mogul overcome California’s vicious anti-Chinese racism to become one of the most powerful businessmen in the early 20th century Bay Area. We’ll also take a tour of the Pacific Cannery Lofts to see what’s left from when the East Bay was the canning capital of the Pacific coast. Featuring interviews with: -Bruce Quan, Lew Hing’s great-grandson -Don Hausler, retired Oakland librarian -Rick and Nancy Holliday, who converted the abandoned cannery into a residential development

 Long Lost Oakland, chapter 4: Balloons, booms & busts | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:32:06

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

 Long Lost Oakland, chapter 3: How battles over sacred sites have revived Ohlone culture | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:40:22

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.”

 Long Lost Oakland, chapter 2: “When the shipyard closed, my dad came home and cried” | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:38:38

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


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