As part of the Black Liberation Walking Tour launch celebration, attendees were invited to vote between several proposals for a new mural. This was the winning entry, and features Ruth Beckford, C.L. Dellums, St. Augustine’s Church, the California Hotel, and more.
Press play to hear Andre Jones, the founder of Bay Area Mural Program, describe his approach to creating community art and the collaborative process behind this mural. As you listen, contemplate the power of what it means for a community to determine what they want on their walls.
As you stroll through the Hoover-Foster neighborhood on the Black Liberation Walking Tour, you’ll notice a vast collection of vibrant and ever-changing art. Just as stories can be passed down through generations by stories and songs, many of these murals celebrate the rich legacy of this area. “One of my favorite things about this neighborhood is the cultural affirmation I feel from the street art,” said tour organizer and local resident David Peters.
The mural that you’re looking at right now is the result of a collaboration between artists, activists, and community members. After reaching out to gather ideas about what images should be represented on this wall, the Bay Area Mural Program, which has its headquarters down the street in the California Hotel, created this collage celebrating themes of Black and Indigenous power.
In the upper left corner, you’ll see a painting of legendary dance teacher Ruth Beckford, who grew up in Oakland and helped launch the Black Panthers’ Free Breakfast Program at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church. Below her is C.L. Dellums, who lived only a few blocks from here while he was leading an effort to organize the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, America’s first nationwide Black union. Throughout the rest of the mural, you’ll find an iconic image from 2020’s Black Lives Matter uprising, and various other depictions celebrating the beauty and resilience of Black liberation.