Oakland Community Archives

Tour curated by: Emma Wilson

Oakland's identity and its cultural memory are preserved through the archiving of its history. This tour focuses not only on physical archives, but also on community centers where knowledge is stored and shared. The storing and sharing of knowledge forms Oakland's identity and brings its communities together. Archives are not only about storing and preserving histories, but also about making them available and accessible to the public

Locations for Tour

The African American Museum and Library at Oakland is a museum and library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in the West, particularly in California. The library is located in the…

Centro Legal de la Raza was founded in 1969 to provide free or low-cost bilingual legal aid, as well as community education and advocacy for immigrant, low-income, and Latino communities. Centro Legal was founded by Latino law students from Boalt…

“If you live in this community, we only ask that you think about how you can use this building. Name it anything you like. Purpose it to any goal that benefits the community—library, social or political neighborhood center. All we ask is that you…

The Temescal Tool Lending Library is located in the basement of the Temescal Branch of the Oakland Public Library. Its resources are available to any resident or property owner in Oakland, Emeryville, and Piedmont The Tool Lending Library was founded…

“More than a library, the Asian Branch can be thought of as the "living room" of Chinatown, a local gathering space where hundreds of seniors, youth, and families congregate each day to read their ethnic newspaper, participate in…

“The Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project will create a sustainable non-profit, community-run archival institution to preserve lesbian history in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. By gathering and preserving historical material, the archives…

The Elinor Raas Heller Rare Book Room is located in the F.W. Olin Library of Mills College. The Heller room contains 12,000 volumes and 10,000 manuscripts, including printed books from the 15th century to the present. Rare items include a leaf from…

The Oakland History Room is located in the Main Branch of the Oakland Public Library. Its collection includes books on Oakland and California history, photo archives, newspaper clippings, genealogical resources, oral histories, and a map room. A…

The Oakland Library Association started as a subscription-based library in 1868. Following the Rogers Free Library act of 1878, which allowed cities to levy taxes for the support of public libraries, the Oakland library association transferred its…

“These pieces of our past act as points of comfort for our collective memory” – Marilyn Handis, project director at the AAQGO The African American Quilt Guild of Oakland was created in 2000, developing from classes taught by master quilter…