"We were being erased": The woman who saved California’s Black history
February 23, 2023 · 35 min
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,” 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. Check out photos and links related to this episode here: https://eastbayyesterday.com/episodes/we-were-being-erased/
This episode is supported by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. I highly recommend checking out their new podcast, “Revolutionary Care: An Oakland Story,” a series about the history of treating sickle cell anemia: https://www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org/sickle-cell