Oakland's famous and vibrant arts heritage is known throughout the country, but many people are unaware of the extent of this city's contribution to the national stage in terms of music, dance, visual arts, and literature. Black Artists in Oakland celebrates this amazing story over the past half century through vintage images, from the early days of Slim Jenkins's nightclub to the changing styles of Esther's Orbit Room and the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts. More than 200 photographs lift the curtain on many inspiring artists--masters in their chosen aesthetic and neighbors to the community. Among the artists highlighted in these pages are Ruth Beckford, Raymond Saunders, Alice Walker, and E. W. Wainwright.
Jerry Thompson is an accomplished violinist, playwright, and poet. He is the coauthor of Black Artists in Oakland, and owned Black Spring Books, an independent bookstore. He is the coeditor of Oakland Noir.