Searching for the Lost Oakland Culture in New Oakland

Oakland, California, located on the west coast, has been considered as the effective center that merges and portrays the rich culture of Africans with Americans. In the early Fifties Oakland was an entertainment hub and later during the Sixties with the advent of the Black Panther Party, the blacks increased in population and fame.

First Fridays in New Oakland

First Fridays in Oakland

At present Oakland is occupied by both blacks and whites in equal proposition along with the contributions from Asian and Latino respectively. This diverse in population has ignited a cautious mind amongst the people of Oakland origin regarding the identity of black’s revolutionary culture. There has been a decline in the black population in most of the cities like N.J. Washington, Atlanta, D.C. and Newark, which has stirred a sense of alarm in the Oakland City.

The New Oakland has been innovative and changed dramatically with people crowding the art galleries, hip bars, truck grub and eat outs during the sizzling Fridays instead of the olden times Art Murmur performances. The people who have been born and grown in this awesome city are forgotten during the miraculous emergence of new Oakland from old Oakland.

The standup comedian Chris Riggins said that the major issue faced by the black origin people is that this wonderful Oakland city is now being occupied by people around the globe with diverse culture, which has generated a cold war between the old Oakland and the new Oakland eventually. And the sad part is the people who belonged to the old Oakland are slowly leaving the city because of the hike in the rental rates.

Violence percentage has also swiped high. This has become a complicated issue that created a negative aspect, when Kiante the 18 year old black Oakland student became a victim to this murderous evolution. The rise in violence and rental rates are the two basic factors responsible for the 25 percentage drop in the black population in Oakland. The seriousness of this issue can be understood when we came to know about the suburban escape planned by Dave “sweets” Ward, a native of Oakland in order to protect his daughter from the shooting culture prevalent in the new Oakland.

The Sweet Jimmie Ward, father of Dave Ward, was famous for the chain of successful nightclubs that he owned for decades in Oakland until the year 2006. This fascinating nightclub was owned by African American generation with much pride until it was sold. Sweet Jimmie rose to this spectacular position by initially working as a longshoreman in the shipyards. By night he worked as a bartender, which gave him the experience and urge to install his own nightclub on the Telegraph Avenue in the year 1969, with the little push from the other investors Huey Newton and Melvin. When Dave Ward was questioned about how his dad reacted to the new Oakland he said, “He couldn’t say nothing but that it’s beautiful but it ain’t for black folks.”

Presently at the site where the traditional Sweet Jimmie used to be located is a New Parish Club where diverse cultured population crowd around for entertainment, but in recent times only less black could be spotted.

Slowly and swiftly the magnificent treasured cultures of old Oakland has been captured by the new Oakland. O’Connor, a San Francisco native with Irish roots, who is the owner of the club said that it is essential for the people to learn to live happily in a successful new Oakland even while struggling to maintain the African American culture in the diverse cultural blend. The young natives of Oakland who were born in the 90s seldom know about Sweet Jimmie or the historical challenges faced and overcome by Black Panthers or about the black culture identity that prevailed decades ago in Oakland.

Change is essential in any progressive nation though people worry about Oakland losing its soul still the multicultural New Oakland is emerging fast!

photo credit: youngthousands via photopin cc

About BayApartmentBroker

Nick Myerhoff is a Bay Area apartment market specialist and property manager. He owns and operates his own multi-family portfolio and assists clients and prospects with their purchases and exchanges of commercial real estate in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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