A podcast about history

That's not stuck in the past


For the past year, I’ve been part of a team developing Rooted in Richmond, a free app that allows visitors to take a self-guided tour through the city’s history. The tour covers 16 locations over 6 miles and includes maps, photos, videos, 3D renderings of historic objects, and more. Topics range from sacred Ohlone shellmounds to the formation of environmental justice groups in the wake of a toxic industrial accident. 

Now that the app has launched*, I wanted to share a preview of the oral histories I gathered to accompany various tour stops. In this episode, you’ll hear audio clips featuring:

Shirley Ann Wilson Moore on how Black residents stood up against a front yard cross-burning

Flora Ninomiya on what happened to flower nurseries owned by Japanese-Americans during World War II

Melinda McCrary on saving a long-long treasure from a flooded basement

Ahmad Anderson on how Martin Luther King Jr’s visit inspired a generation of Black political leaders

Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez on the remarkable transformation of a trash-strewn lot into a community oasis

-Bonus segment: Shirley Ann Wilson Moore on why so many blues clubs were run by women

Joining me on today’s episode is Desiree Heveroh, a born and raised Richmondite who is currently the innkeeper at Point Richmond’s historic Hotel Mac and also a live-in caretaker aboard the SS Red Oak Victory, the last surviving vessel manufactured at the Kaiser Shipyards during World War II. Desiree is also the former director of the Richmond Museum of History and Culture and she spent the first 14 months of the pandemic living in Richmond’s oldest building, the East Brother Light Station, which was built on a tiny island in the Bay in 1873. 

Click any of these links (Apple, SoundCloud, Spotify) to stream the podcast or listen wherever you get podcasts. [*Updates to the app are ongoing; a Spanish-language version of the audio narration should be coming out within the next few days.]

East Bay Yesterday can’t survive without your support. Please donate to keep this show alive:www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

Rev. Booker T. Anderson (l), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy (r) outside of Easter Hill United Methodist Church in Richmond. Photo courtesy of the Anderson family
This detail from Victor Arnautoff’s “Richmond: Industrial City” mural depicts a gathering of dockworkers. Arnautoff, a protege of Diego Rivera, wove symbolic meaning throughout this 1941 masterpiece, which is now on display at the Richmond Museum of History. [Photo courtesy of Richmond Museum]
Artist Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez depicted real people from the surrounding neighborhoods on her massive mural entitled “Richmond Dances and Grows.” While she was painting, she watched Unity Park transform from a lot filled with garbage and hazardous wasted to a place overflowing with native plants and fruit trees.
Want to know what it’s like to live aboard the Red Oak Victory? Listen to the podcast to hear Desiree Heveroh describe some of the thrills and challenges. [Photo: Elizabeth Sy]
Mexican-American dance group at grand opening of Richmond Civic Center in 1950. To hear an interview with city manager Shasa Curl about the restoration of the Civic Center, which was designed by renowned architect Timothy Pflueger, download the Rooted in Richmond app.
[Photo courtesy California State Library]
The Hotel Mac was opened in 1911 to serve the many passengers arriving on the Santa Fe line of the Transcontinental Railroad, which ended at Point Richmond ferry terminal. At the time, the Bay Area had one of the busiest ferry systems in the world.

To hear more episodes related to the topics discussed on today’s show, check out this interview with longtime Rosie the Riveter Park Ranger Betty Reid Soskin, this story about Japanese resistance to mass incarceration during World War II, and this episode about the ongoing resurgence of Ohlone culture.

East Bay Yesterday can’t survive without your support. Please donate to keep this show alive:www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

Topics: Richmond

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