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.
Although rarely credited, Berkeley became America’s first sanctuary city on November 8, 1971. This episode explores how an ancient idea was revived in protest of the Vietnam War and again to support Central American refugees during the 1980s. With sanctuary cities under attack by the Trump administration, learn how the sanctuary movement started—and triumphed over previous crackdowns by the U.S. government. Featuring interviews with: Jose Artiga, Sister Maureen Duignan, Bennett Falk and Prof. Jennifer Ridgley.
In the mid-1990s, the East Bay was the center of the punk rock universe. Lookout Records co-founder Larry Livermore shares his thoughts on the surprising origins of the scene that produced the biggest-selling punk band of all time and countless other influential (and occasionally notorious) groups. He also reflects on how letting his little record label grow beyond his bedroom into a multi-million dollar company sowed the seeds of its downfall. “It was far beyond the wildest dreams of the young assembly line steel mill worker that I started out as...”
The East Bay’s KKK started by burning crosses in the hills, and they quickly captured power in City Hall. This movement didn’t last long—their rise and fall all happened around the time of the 1920s. But they did make an impact that changed Oakland forever. The kind of impact that Trump could have on America. This episode features an interview with Professor Chris Rhomberg, author of “No There There: Race, Class, and Political Community in Oakland” [Also available on iTunes and Stitcher]
“Black Ahab’s” adventures made him an Oakland hero and one of the most powerful men of color in California—but there’s a dark side to his story that’s rarely discussed. This episode weaves together histories of slavery, whaling and a flood of African American seamen into 19th century Bay Area to explore William Shorey’s rise to the top of a bloody, brutal industry. [Also available on iTunes & Stitcher]
When Brock Winstead bought a house in the Golden Gate district, he decided to research the history of his property and find out the identity of every single person who had ever owned that plot of land. What he discovered reveals much about the patterns of land use and displacement that continue to shape Oakland today. From colonization to redlining to rebranding, this episode explores the powerful forces that have shaped the East Bay’s development. [Subscribe to this program on iTunes or Stitcher]
From 1973 until 1982, the Black Panthers operated a school in East Oakland that has been called “arguably the Party’s most important organizing legacy.” Although the school solved many problems that continue to plague America’s education system, these lessons have been largely forgotten. Today’s episode explores the history of the Oakland Community School with a former student, a former teacher, and the school’s former director, Ericka Huggins. [Subscribe to East Bay Yesterday though iTunes or Stitcher]
Bobby Mardis had one hit song in the 1980s and then hung up his leather pants and retired his dreams of pop music stardom. Thirty years later he was re-discovered, thanks to a random encounter at the Oakland museum. The surreal night of partying that followed shows what can happen when you get to re-live the glory days of your youth—for a single, sweaty night. [Please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher]
“When they demolished it, it’s like a little part of you… goes with it.” That reaction from a former regular customer of Biff’s Diner was shared by many when the spaceship-shaped building was finally torn down last month. This episode explores the stories of Oaklanders who ate and worked at Biff’s—and why so many of us hold a special place in our hearts for diners. [Also available on iTunes & Stitcher]
What better time than election season to explore the first novel to predict the rise of fascism and a brutal government run by corporate elites? This episode features Tarnel Abbott, the great-granddaughter of Jack London, discussing “The Iron Heel,” Occupy Oakland, and a conspiracy to commercialize the East Bay’s most famous writer.
Loretta Nguyen spent the first few decades of her life living in the only house on the grounds of Oakland’s oldest cemetery. As a young girl, she learned that people are much scarier than ghouls and spirits. This episode explores the nature of fear through stories of grave-robbers, escaped convicts and a very spooky basement. [Also available on iTunes]
Get in the mood for Día de los Muertos with this history of Oakland’s “lost” Latino neighborhood. Tina “Tamale” Ramos and her mother Natividad share delicious stories from their decades of running one of the Bay Area’s oldest Mexican restaurants. This episode explores everything from the “birth” of Old Oakland to the dubious origins of Taco Bell. [Also available on iTunes]
Oakland has been an epicenter of minors engaged in the sex trade for a long time. A recent OPD scandal put a spotlight on this crisis, but failed to illuminate the roots of the problem. This episode features four women with an intimate knowledge of this history – and explores an often overlooked factor for why there are so many underage girls out there on Oakland’s “track.” [This episode is also available on iTunes]
Ronald Reagan inadvertently sparked the birth of one of Oakland's most renowned and visionary art organizations. Find out how in this new episode that explores the explosion of "outsider" art, the redevelopment of Uptown and the gentrification crisis. Featuring Tom di Maria, director of Creative Growth.
Nellie Ozen has been cooking soulfood in the East Bay since 1950! Find out why the Raiders loved her, her connection to Huey Newton and her thoughts on the history of this African-American cuisine.
Here's the story of how one of the Bay Area’s brightest literary stars became the reigning “goddess” of Oakland’s first public library.... Back in the day, poetry was a lot like the hip hop industry is today—and I’m not just making that comparison because poets and rappers both kick rhymes. If you’re skeptical that the lives of California poets in the 1870s were just a wild as rap stars, listen to this episode about the life of the Bay Area’s first literary “It Girl.” Aleta George, the author of “Ina Coolbrith: The Bittersweet Song of California’s First Poet Laureate,” shares incredible stories of Ina’s connection with the early Mormon church, her rise to fame alongside the Bay Area’s first bohemians (including Mark Twain!), her impact on Oakland, and much, much more.