Feb 112014

copelandThe Commonwealth Club is feting the 10th anniversary of Brian Copeland’s celebrated one-man show Not a Genuine Black Man with a special program at the Lafayette Library.  It’ll take place on February 26th from 6:30 to 7:30pm.  Tickets are $12/$22 for members/nonmembers, but SLT readers can get $5 off the nonmember price by using the code: specialcopeland. Get tickets here.

I, personally, find it deliciously ironic that Brian will be celebrated for his book and one man show about growing up black in lily white San Leandro, in what is probably currently the whitest city in the Bay Area.  Just 166 out of Lafayette’s almost 23,893 residents are African American, or about 0.7%.

  2 Responses to “Commonwealth Club Fetes Brian Copeland in Lily White Lafayette”

  1. I grew was born and raised in San Leandro , Ca
    I do not know how old this guy is but I was born in 1960. This is a false statement about this city…it has never been lily white…he must be seeing things. I grew up with all culture most people have no clue even him.
    We have black…Mexican..Spanish…Phillipineo. …Chinese…Japanese. ..Italian. ..Portuguese. ..The list goes on…I have yr books from school to prove. Not sure where he or you are getting facts but you and he are misinformed. I’m happy I saw this post. His show should not go on as such a living lie.You / he have a great day…signing…half White…half American Indian

    • I would be interested in seeing your yearbook and see what you see there. You may want to look yourself and count how many blacks, Latinos and Asians you see.

      According to the US census, though, San Leandro was 99.3% white in 1960, 97% white in 1970 and 87.5% in 1980. There were all of 17 blacks living in the city in 1960 when you were born, and 84 ten years later. There were, however, more Native Americans: 40 in 1960 and 245 in 1970.

      African Americans had been kept out through covenants, and when those proved illegal, by an informal conspiracy of homeowners to not sell to blacks and realtors to not show them homes. There were congressional investigations in the early ’70s about housing discrimination in this city. The city finally started to integrate when more rental units were built.

      Brian Copeland lived this firsthand and Not a Genuine Black Man recounts his experience about living in San Leandro while black.

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