May 292011

The Black History 101 Mobile Museum is coming to San Leandro on June 4th for a 1-day-only Taste of Freedom event at the Linen Life Gallery.  The Museum travels around the country and features exhibits that highlight the historical experience of African-Americans, from the slave era to hip-hop culture.  This particular event will be commemorating Malcom X, and will feature a lecture by Professor Griff, a rapper with the group Public Enemy.

Tickets for the event start at $30, and include an all-you-can-eat taster, access to the exhibit, lecture and entertainment.  You can buy them online or at the venue. The event is for adults 21 and older.

I find it very fitting that this event will take place in San Leandro – a city that does not have a black history of its own, as African-Americans were not allowed to live within the cities until the 1980s.  Before that, both restrictive covenants and a conspiracy of homeowner associations, realtors and local politicians kept African Americans from buying property in town.  In the late 1960’s, the US Commission on Civil Rights held hearings on housing discrimination in San Leandro but they did little to solve the problem.  By 1971, Sa Leandro was known as the “most racist town in America” and its discriminatory practices were the subject of  The Suburban Wall, a TV documentary, which features San Leandro Mayor Maltester explaining how blacks don’t want to live in San Leandro because this is a boring town.  Anyone interested in this period of history should read Brian Copeland’s amazing memoir Not a Genuine Black Man: Or, How I Claimed My Piece of Ground in the Lily-White Suburbs.