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Visions of Paradise: The Migration to Oakland and Community Development Efforts of African Americans, 1900-1940
Advisorde Jong, Greta
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The rapid transformation of Oakland into an industrial power during the early twentieth century was accompanied by a steady increase in the African American population as a result of the Great Migration. Several factors contributed to Oakland’s popularity as a West Coast destination and by 1940 the city contained the second largest Black population in the state. Upon arrival, African American migrants shaped their community through racial uplift, with women at the heart of these efforts. White Oakland residents challenged Black residents through overt intimidation tactics and the consolidation of political power. Black activists at all levels—local, state, and national—experimented with tactics in Oakland, developing strategies that, while limited in their success in the pre-World War II era, were foundational to later movements. The decades leading up to World War II were instrumental for the development of the African American community and shaped Oakland’s transformation in the twentieth century.