Learning Alameda Black History

Gabrielle “Gaby” Dolphin    Rasheed Shabazz speaks to a group of some 30 local residents who learned about Alameda’s early black families on a walking tour last Saturday.

Writer Rasheed Shabazz led a Black History Month home tour last Saturday titled: “Early Black Pioneers of Alameda.” More than 30 local residents gathered at Lincoln Avenue and Grand Street for the two-hour walking tour of Alameda’s north shore, where the first pioneering Black Alamedans built their homes in the late 1800s. 

According to Shabazz, the first Black families were drawn to California and settled in Alameda for both the pleasant climate and employment opportunities. Initially Blacks lived in Alameda only as laborers in the homes of White people. 

“By 1900 eight Black families owned homes” in Alameda said Shabazz. “In the absence of Black institutions, these early pioneers used their homes as community centers for social, cultural and economic empowerment.” 

The next Black History month walking tour will take place on the West End and explore the impact of the Depression and World War II on Alameda’s Black community. See the Feb. 24 event listing on page 8 for details.