More Resources from West Oakland

This page provides more information about the redevelopment challenges in Oakland profiled in our 2010 podcast series, Rebuilding Healthier Neighborhoods.


Bruce Beasley
Sculptor Bruce Beasley moved to West Oakland in 1962 and has lived and worked there ever since. He has been involved in numerous community efforts, including bringing streetlights and sidewalks to the neighborhood and fighting to end the use of eminent domain. He now serves on the West Oakland Project Area Committee, or WOPAC, which oversees how redevelopment funds are spent in West Oakland.

San Francisco Chronicle profile of Margaret Gordon
Margaret Gordon is a longtime community activist. She serves on WOPAC with Bruce Beasley, in addition to many other community-based organizations. In 2000, she co-founded the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, which monitors pollution from the port and other sources and works to improve air quality in West Oakland.

Mandela Foods
This full-service grocery store is located in a new, mixed-use development on 7th Street, across from the West Oakland BART station. In addition to bringing healthy food to a neighborhood that has long lacked sources of fresh produce, the store is run by nine worker-owners, most of whom live in West Oakland. It was created by and for local residents, with the support of WOPAC.


West Oakland Redevelopment Project Area
This redevelopment area encompasses 7th Street and the neighborhood around the post office and West Oakland BART station. WOPAC advises the Oakland City Council on redevelopment projects in this area, and has approved funding for streetscape upgrades along 7th Street, improvements to the facades and interiors of commercial spaces, transit projects, and environmental cleanup.

Remembering Seventh Street
This online simulation recreates the 7th Street of the 1940s and 1950s, before development projects like BART, the Cypress Freeway, and the post office transformed the neighborhood. In addition to the virtual world, the website features historical photographs, music from the era, and information about the neighborhood's struggles during the post-war period.


The Black Panther Party
The Black Panther movement began in Oakland in mid-1960s partially as a response to years of massive redevelopment efforts in African-American neighborhoods.

The Fillmore
The history of San Francisco's largely African-American Fillmore District mirrors that of West Oakland. This PBS documentary tells the story of a vibrant neighborhood —once called "The Harlem of the West" — as residents struggled against massive redevelopment campaigns during the 1950s and 1960s.

Public Agencies

Oakland Community and Economic Development Agency
CEDA oversees redevelopment in the city, including efforts to remedy blight, create jobs, build new homes, and spur private development.

Alameda County Public Health Department
The county health department is working with the redevelopment agency to improve residents' health.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
The official history of BART's construction tells the story from a different perspective and shows how wealthier communities successfully fought to put BART trains underground, so the rail line would have less impact on those neighborhoods. The official history doesn't include the impact BART's construction had on neighborhoods like West Oakland.

Additional Resources

African-American Museum and Library at Oakland
This museum has been documenting the African-American experience in Oakland and the East Bay since 1946. Its archives include many photographs of West Oakland, before and after major transportation and redevelopment projects transformed the neighborhood.

The Second Gold Rush: Oakland and the East Bay in World War II by Marilynn S. Johnson

American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland by Robert O. Self

No There There: Race, Class, and Political Community in Oakland by Chris Rhomberg