64 episodes

East Bay history podcast that gathers, shares & celebrate stories from Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and other towns throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

East Bay Yesterday East Bay Yesterday

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9, 251 Ratings

East Bay history podcast that gathers, shares & celebrate stories from Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and other towns throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

    “How you organize that rage”: Challenging the police before Black Lives Matter

    “How you organize that rage”: Challenging the police before Black Lives Matter

    Massive protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death have brought unprecedented attention to the intertwined issues of police violence and structural racism, but the legacy of challenging police abuse in the East Bay goes back many decades. This episode explores several pivotal confrontations in the long struggle to hold police accountable for brutality against people of color. To read more about this story and see additional images, visit The Oaklandside: https://oaklandside.org/2020/07/24/oaklandside-east-bay-yesterday-police-violence-oakland/

    This episode features interviews with:
    Xavier Buck, Deputy Director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation
    Andrea Benavidez and Veronica Salazar, sisters of Barlow Benavidez
    Tony Valladolid, attorney
    Brenda Payton, retired journalist
    John Burris, civil rights attorney

    • 1 hr 17 min
    EBY Q&A Live: Opening up about oysters

    EBY Q&A Live: Opening up about oysters

    Oysters may seem like a simple creature at first glance – they can’t even move on their own – but their presence can determine the health of an entire ecosystem. Just like tree rings hold clues to Earth’s history, oyster shells can reveal much about past millennia. In the San Francisco Bay, studying the rise and fall of oysters illuminates Ohlone culture, the Gold Rush era, industrialization, public health, and much more.

    Today’s episode, which was originally recorded as a virtual event, explores the history of Bay Area bivalves with Casey Harper, deputy director of Wild Oyster Project. Although local oyster populations were nearly wiped out following decades of pollution and habitat destruction, a few survivors were discovered in recent years, leading to a surge in restoration efforts. Despite challenges ranging from invasive predators to ocean acidification, groups like Wild Oyster Project are hopeful that these projects will grow to provide shelter for marine life, filter pollutants out of the water, and eventually mitigate sea level rise more effectively than concrete barriers.

    Listen now to hear all about the past (and potential future) of Bay Area oysters. Thank you to Daniel Wolfe of Creative Mornings Oakland for organizing this virtual event and to Christie Goshe from Tiny Oak Media for recording it.

    East Bay Yesterday can’t survive without your support. Please donate to keep this show alive: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

    • 49 min
    A town within The Town: Oakland Army Base workers on its rise and fall

    A town within The Town: Oakland Army Base workers on its rise and fall

    From World War II until Desert Storm, the Oakland Army Base was the U.S. military’s largest seaport West of the Mississippi. This site had been a sandy marsh the previous century, and for millennia before that, but at its peak during the Vietnam War, it grew into “the largest military port complex in the world.”

    Situated at an industrial confluence of roads, rails, and shipping lanes, it served as a supply hub for the entire Pacific. Although hundreds of thousands of service members passed through en route to overseas assignments, most of the day-to-day workers at this “town within The Town” were civilians. For decades, burly ILWU members hoisted a nonstop stream of cargo, college girls working as part-time secretaries filed mountains of paperwork, determined clerks climbed the ranks of civil service, and countless others staffed the Base’s grocery store, morgue, bowling alley, night club, and other facilities.

    After the Base was decommissioned in 1999, during a wave of closures that wiped out the Bay Area’s formerly substantial military presence, UC Berkeley’s Oral History Center spoke with dozens of people (military and civilian) about their connections to this site. The interviews, compiled in “The Oakland Army Base: An Oral History,” span topics ranging from an astonishing tale about President Roosevelt’s visit to resentments still lingering over the Base’s unexpected termination and controversial redevelopment process. In these stories, whiskey flows, fists fly, foundations are driven deep into mud, careers flash by, trust is earned, orders are disobeyed, victories are celebrated with songs and parades, roads crumble, and cold, wooden coffins are draped with American flags.

    Instead of contextualizing these memories with narration, per this podcast’s usual format, I’ve decided to present these voices as an audio collage, assembled in roughly chronological order. Hearing these interview tapes felt like time-traveling and my goal was to create an episode that captures the feeling of taking a four-dimensional guided personal tour through the kaleidoscopic history of this sprawling complex. If you want the full, immersive experience of tasting the salty wind while you listen, head down to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park (which is adjacent to the former Base site) or the path that parallels Burma Rd. Social distancing shouldn’t be a problem – truck drivers far outnumber pedestrians in this flat, grey stretch of far West Oakland. I wouldn’t recommend walking along Maritime St, the main drag that cuts through the heart of the Base site, due to the constant flow of noisy semis and gritty construction dust, which tends to get in your eyes during the often gusty days. To see images related to this episode, visit: https://eastbayyesterday.com/

    Special thanks to Oral History Center’s project team: Martin Meeker (director), David Dunham, Vic Geraci, Lisa Rubens, Ann Lage, Robin Li, Jess Rigelhaupt, and Julie Allen. Additional thanks to the interview subject whose voices are heard in this episode: Eleanor Bollinger, Mark Braly, George Bolton, George Cobbs Gordon Coleman, Steve Darrow, Grant Davis, George Gabler, Aliza Gallo, Thomas Galvin, Margaret Gordon, Fred Gowan, Jim Johnson, Robert Lippincott, Janice McDonald, Rose Medina, Mary Meyers, Monsa Nitoto, Bob Nordan, Leo Robinson, Stan Rudney, Lee Sandahl, Sydney Santos, Robert Taylor, Davetta Thibeux, Michael Thomas, Queen Thurston, and Cleophas Williams. Here’s a link to additional biographical information and full interview transcripts: https://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/projects/oab/transcripts.html

    East Bay Yesterday can’t survive without your support. Please donate to keep this show alive: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

    • 1 hr 8 min
    From war to love: My grandma remembers the Oakland Army Base

    From war to love: My grandma remembers the Oakland Army Base

    I never planned to make an episode of this podcast about my own family history, but I’ve been spending more time thinking about my relatives, who are scattered across the country, ever since the coronavirus pandemic started. In particular, I’ve been worried about my grandmother (I call her Oma), who has been isolated in a Florida nursing home that banned visitors more than a month ago.

    From 1971 until 1975, my grandfather, Col. Jim Driscoll (I called him Opa), was stationed at the Oakland Army Base and during that time Oma volunteered there. I interviewed her a while ago about her East Bay years, but I never listened to the conversation until recently. Hearing it now, during this time of isolation and uncertainty, was a powerful experience. We discussed the improbability of finding love amidst war, the challenges of balancing military service with family, and the unexpected ways that life can spontaneously intersect with historical events.

    I’ll admit that revealing so much about my family make me anxious, but I hope that hearing my Oma look back on her tumultuous life with the kind of amused serenity that comes with old age will provide some solace, or at least a momentary escape, for everyone struggling with the surreal horrors and grinding frustrations of present reality.

    Another motivation for releasing this episode – and I say this with as much humility as possible – is that I’m hoping that it might inspire some of you to talk with your elders. Or, if you are an elder, to talk with the young people in your family or community. With loneliness spiking during this time of social distancing, what better remedy than dusting off that old treasure chest of distant memories and bonding over the process of unpacking them (and recording them)? If this prospect sounds intimidating, UC Berkeley’s Oral History Center has shared some tips for getting the most out of these kinds of conversations.

    Throughout my years of interviewing people about their lives, one thing I’ve realized is that the first few minutes are always the most awkward. People who have never been interviewed before are often self-conscious or shy about unearthing long-buried memories. With a bit of patience and encouragement, however, tiny trickles of recollections will inevitably start flowing together and a flood of stories will eventually pour forth. You just have to be willing to listen.

    East Bay Yesterday can’t survive without your support. Please donate to keep this show alive: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

    • 32 min
    “We were being erased”: The woman who saved California’s Black history

    “We were being erased”: The woman who saved California’s Black history

    Delilah Beasley didn’t have much education or money, but when she saw that African Americans were being ignored by history books, she knew she had to do something. Beasley ended up spending nearly a decade interviewing elders and digging through crumbling archives to compile “The Negro Trailblazers of California,” a book that rescued dozens of notable Black figures from historical oblivion. However, Beasley didn’t just focus on the past. Her weekly Oakland Tribune column, “Activities among the Negroes,” documented the East Bay’s Black community at a time when positive portrayals of people of color in the media were almost nonexistent.

    This episode explores Beasley’s life as a historian and journalist through a conversation with the authors of “Trailblazer: Delilah Beasley’s California” (Published by Clockshop), a new work by Dana Johnson and Ana Cecilia Alvarez. We discuss Beasley’s motivation, her impact, and why her work still remains so valuable. To see more about this episode, visit: https://eastbayyesterday.com/episodes/we-were-being-erased/

    East Bay Yesterday can’t survive without your support. Please donate to keep this show alive: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

    • 32 min
    EBY Q&A: The Bay and beyond with Chris Carlsson

    EBY Q&A: The Bay and beyond with Chris Carlsson

    Since I’ve had to postpone my boat tours due to the Coronavirus crisis, I’ve decided to move the discussion about Bay history to the podcast. My guest is Chris Carlsson, who also leads boat tours on the Bay and just published “Hidden San Francisco: A Guide to Lost Landscapes, Unsung Heroes & Radical Histories” (Pluto Press). Our conversation begins with the arrival of the Spanish in 1776 and then explores how subsequent waves of newcomers radically impacted native people and ecosystems, often in devastating ways.

    Although we take a critical look at colonization, we don’t dwell exclusively on tragedies. Since the rise of the Save the Bay movement, an activist campaign spearheaded by three Berkeley women, the Bay has transformed from a vast cesspool of human and industrial waste to the site of dozens of restoration projects that are expanding marsh habitats and enticing great numbers of fish, birds, and marine mammals to return. Against the backdrop of our current economic turmoil and political uncertainty, we look back at the Bay as a contested space, and try to find lessons in its ebbs and flows. To see more about this episode, visit: https://eastbayyesterday.com/episodes/eby-qa-8/

    East Bay Yesterday can’t survive without your support. Please donate to keep this show alive: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
251 Ratings

251 Ratings

rabinabo ,

Great podcast for East Bay locals

I just moved to East Bay recently, and I’ve found this podcast fascinating. It has helped me understand the role that this area has played in the Bay Area and the country in general. It makes driving around much more interesting, as I see landmarks mentioned in some episode. Keep up the great work!

natm94 ,

Bay to the universe

I’ve lived here all my life and I appreciate the expansion of my Bay Area history and knowledge via this podcast! Thank you for your work

Samulations d'Cornpone Jr. ,

A Podcast for homesick Oaktown transplants

East Bay Yesterday is a trip -literally. It will transport you back to your East Bay roots, no matter where you are on the planet. I moved to Dallas in April of 2004, but, as to modify a cliché, you can take the boy out of Oakland, but you can't take the Oakland out of the boy. Liam O'Donahugh journey's through the city's history like a gondolier, guiding us into the lives of people and history of places. Interesting to anybody, but also a wormhole back to this Oakland castaway's past.

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Listeners Also Subscribed To