A podcast about history

That's not stuck in the past


Delilah Beasley didn’t have much education or money, but when she saw that African Americans were being ignored by history books, she knew she had to do something. Beasley ended up spending nearly a decade interviewing elders and digging through crumbling archives to compile “The Negro Trailblazers of California,” a book that rescued dozens of notable Black figures from historical oblivion.  However, Beasley didn’t just focus on the past. Her weekly Oakland Tribune column, “Activities among the Negroes,” documented the East Bay’s Black community at a time when positive portrayals of people of color in the media were almost nonexistent.

This episode explores Beasley’s life as a historian and journalist through a conversation with the authors of “Trailblazer: Delilah Beasley’s California” (Published by Clockshop), a new work by Dana Johnson and Ana Cecilia Alvarez. We discuss Beasley’s motivation, her impact, and why her work still remains so valuable. Listen here: Apple / SoundCloud / Spotify.

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

The original cover of Beasley’s book, published in 1919.
In “Trailblazer,” author Dana Johnson asks: “What on earth would possess a woman of no means, no academic or historical training, to obsessively collect the histories of black people? To insist on their rightful place in our country’s endless, ongoing narrative?” Listen to the new episode to hear the answers.
This grainy newspaper clipping is one of the few remaining photos of Delilah Beasley. After she died in 1934, she was laid to rest at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Oakland.
Delilah Beasley lived in this house on 34th Street. Although much of her personal life remains a mystery, her legacy has proved invaluable to future generations of historians.

East Bay Yesterday can’t exist without your support! If you enjoy the episode, please donate: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

“We were being erased”

The woman who saved California’s Black history
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