Saturday February 11, 2017 from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM PST
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Peralta House Museum
2465 34th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601

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Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park

Black History Month Tour with KALW Radio Journalist Chris Hambrick

Chris will return to Peralta Hacienda to share the memories and history of Oakland's Black Community in the amazing first-person audio stories and art exhibit she helped create: "What I Hear, I Keep, Stories from Oakland's Griots."

Peralta Hacienda House Museum of Community and History will come alive through a magnificent visual and audio art installation featuring the voices of a group of African American Oaklanders who recorded the stories of their lives through the Griot Initiative of StoryCorps, a national nonprofit oral history project. The word “griot” (pronounced gree-oh) comes from the West African tradition of storytellers who perpetuate the oral tradition and history of a village or family.

The griots, in this case, are the gifted storytellers of Oakland's African American community. Their voices emanate from a gigantic horse glowing from within, designed and built by African American sculptor and landscape architect, Walter Hood, inside the 1870 Victorian house at the site. Holly Alonso designed the audio for all 30 stories which will cycle over a three-hour period. Visitors will attach their messages in response to the audible personal memories of identity, connection with others and distances traveled. 

The interviews tell about the pluses and minuses of segregation, rituals to commemorate the Black Holocaust, combating racism in major league baseball, the De Fermery Recreation Center community, the heyday of KJAZ, the Black Native community, the Black Panthers, and many other iconic Oakland events and figures. Malcolm Westbrooks, one of the featured griots remembers what it was like to grow up here as a child born after World War II, “The best part [of my neighborhood] was that sense of community …at 8 or 9 years old I could leave Saturday morning and go play on the railroad tracks or in the creeks, and we were safe.”