Oakland Oral History Project
A project that bridges Oakland's activist past and present through community storytelling
Oakland’s long history of social activism — from the birth of the Black Panthers and Asian and Chicano rights organizations to the recent proliferation of economic and social-justice NGOs — underscores its history as a wellspring of community voice.
The Oakland Oral History Project will create a bridge between Oakland’s activist past and present. Over the years, many of the stories of Oakland’s activist history have been documented visually through a multitude of murals found throughout the city. We will use a selection of these murals as a springboard for community members to share their experiences and memories of Oakland.
This project represents aspirations as big as Oakland itself. Rather than viewing the city as riddled with long-standing systemic problems — violence, poverty, inequity — the project will use art, storytelling and oral history to highlight Oakland’s heritage as a vibrant, growing, and resilient community. It will be a call for Oaklanders to understand and learn from one another as they create an inclusive community that celebrates the diversity of their vibrant city. Dialogue and storytelling around the murals will also create the space for interpretive discussions about the artworks’ historical relevance and connection to current events and perceptions.
“Knowing your neighbors” through the oral history interview process is at the core of this project. By integrating arts, creativity and expression into both the process and products, community members are empowered to create and promote their own narrative that includes the voices of the under-heard and misrepresented. And, in the process, lift up all residents and establish an arts-based platform for ongoing community engagement and social change.
Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in hosting the exhibition.
Participating Artists and Organizations