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Coverage of speech given 49 years ago today by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.in San Pablo

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The Richmond Museum of History notes online that it was 49 years ago today that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Contra Costa College in San Pablo.

Here is the Oakland Tribune’s coverage of his talk, in which he declared that segregation was in its final throes, had praise for the (Byron) Rumford Fair Housing Bill and the national Civil Rights Bill being debated, and said that “We have come a long way and we still have a long way to go.”

‘Segregation Is On Its Deathbed’

SAN PABLO-’Segregation is on its deathbed, but it remains to be seen how costly the segregationists will make the funeral.”

In an address before 2,300 at Contra Costa College, Dr. Martin Luther King, the Southern integrationist, called for “legislation, non-violent direct action and love” to enhance “the American dream.”

His talk was highlighted by accolades for California’s Rumford Fair Housing Law, which he termed “a great step forward.”

King said, “It would be a real tragedy if California went on record for repeal of its fair housing law.”

He referred to the Civil Rights Bill now before the Senate as “the greatest tribute to John F. Kennedy” and called on lawmakers to gird themselves for victory over an expected filibuster in the upper house.

At a brief press conference earlier in the day at San Francisco International Airport, King revealed that his Southern Christian Leadership Conference may attempt to cope with such a filibuster with “another march on Washington.”

He was one of the leaders of the huge civil rights parade in the nation’s capital last August.

King summed up the three basic attitudes toward progress in race relations, stating that he favors a “realistic position” in favor of “extreme optimism and extreme pessimism.”

King took the stand that “we have come a long way and we still have a long way to go.”

He included in signs of progress the end of the poll tax in federal elections, a rise in the number of registered Negro voters to 2 million, and a 12-fold increase in Negro income in the past 15 years.

King said there are still 6 million unregistered voters because of threats of “economic reprisal, physical violence and the literacy test.”

He told of one literacy test question in Mississippi which asked: “How many bubbles are there in a bar of soap.”

Forty-two per cent of the Negro population earns less than $2,000 a year and 20 per cent less than $1,000, King pointed out. He said the corresponding percentages for whites are 17 and 6.

The Nobel Peace Prize nominee also pointed to housing and health facilities as areas where much progress is needed. “Presdent Johnson’s war on poverty must be supported,” he said.

“If democracy is to live then segregation must die,” King remarked, “because segregation relegates persons to the status of things.”

He termed the theory that legislation cannot solve race reations a “myth,” adding that a law can’t make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me. Legislation changes habits, and habits change hearts.”

The Negro leader flew out of the Bay Area last night for five more speaking engagements in Los Angeles and Hawaii.

Posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2013
Under: Contra Costa County, El Cerrito, History, Politics, Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »

Christmas in Richmond organizers need help providing for the needy on Dec. 25

Christmas in Richmond is a tradition that since 2005 has delivered food, presents and warm clothing to the city’s destitute on Christmas day.
The effort, which now has nonprofit 501(c)(3) status, was started by Burgundie Spears, then a college student who wanted to give back to her community.
Spears, her mother, Edna Campbell, and sister, Aaliyah Washington, have continued the tradition of devoting their Christmas to helping others, but they are making a last-minute appeal for community assistance to make this year’s event possible.
This year’s distribution will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North Richmond Senior Center and at the Nevin Community Center.
Christmas in Richmond has the following wish list for anyone who can lend a hand:

Bicycles
Blankets
Toys For All Ages​
Gift Cards
Gift Wrapping Paper
Clothes (new and/or slightly worn)
Shoes (new and/or slightly worn)
Non-perishable food
Toiletries
Roller Racks
Roller Bags
Backpacks
Gift Bags
To Go Food Containers (1000)
Eating Utensils
Napkins​
Hand Sanitizer
Bottle Water (40 cases)
Cups
Foil
Donations can be brought to the Courtyard Mariott Hotel at 3150 Garrity Way by Hilltop mall from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, or Spears can be reached at 510-932-6817 for more information. The Christmas in Richmond website is www.christmasinrichmond.org.

Posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2012
Under: El Cerrito, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »

“(Not) A Christmas Carol,” modern adaptation of Dickens classic, today and Saturday at Contra Costa College

Prolific East Bay playwright Kathryn McCarty is at it again with “(Not) A Christmas Carol,” a modern adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, on stage at 8 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8 at the Knox Center for the Performing Arts at Contra Costa College in San Pablo.
Read about it in the official news release:

Ring in the Yuletide spirit with Contra Costa College Drama Department’s production of “(Not) A Christmas Carol,” a modern adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. Written and directed by drama professor Kathryn G. McCarty. Running December 5-8 at CCC’s John and Jean Knox Performing Arts Center on the San Pablo campus.
McCarty, who has taught at the college for over a decade, is a prolific playwright. Her most recent noted works have included “RIVETS!,” which enjoyed several runs aboard the SS Red Oak Victory in the Rosie the Riveter National Park in Richmond, and “The Ladies Quintet,” which played in Chicago and Los Angeles theaters.
McCarty sees “(Not) A Christmas Carol” as unlike most other theatrical adaptations of the holiday favorite. “I’ve integrated a lot of comedy in modernizing the story,” she said. Adapting the classic was no easy task said McCarty, explaining that she wanted to create a comedy that was easily accessible to audiences, and that still held true to the story and meaning of what Dickens wrote.
“I kept wondering, how would Dickens incorporate world events if he were writing his story in 2012?”
According to McCarty, in 1843, the year Dickens penned the classic, many holiday traditions were established. “In that same year, the Christmas card was invented and England’s royals introduced the Christmas tree to holiday events,” she said.
The show’s main character, Ebeneezer Scrooge (played by Mark Hinds), is the leader of the world’s first “Oil and Bank Consortium.” Hinds is a guest artist at CCC, having recently graduated from UC Berkeley. McCarty pointed out that she has worked with Mark on several projects, and “so respects him for following his dream of earning his degree. After his five children graduated from college, he decided it was time to complete his education, which had been interrupted by the Vietnam War. I think he is an incredible role model for all college students.”
“No other author has more of an influence than Charles Dickens on how we celebrate Christmas,” said McCarty. “He used the holiday to examine society as a whole. The amazing thing is that we are still battling the issues of poverty and greed that Dickens wrote about nearly 200 years ago.”

Tickets at the door are $15 general, $10 students and seniors, free for children under 8.

Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2012
Under: Art and entertainment, Richmond, San Pablo | 1 Comment »

When Phyllis Diller appeared in Richmond in 1983

Ronnie Schell remembers Phyllis Diller in his latest edition of the Macdonald Avenue Spanker.

Comedian, actor and Richmond native Ronnie Schell is also a journalism fanatic who publishes his own newsletter from Los Angeles called the Macdonald Avenue Spanker, a missive for the folks back in his hometown.
In the latest issue of the Spanker, Schell, 80, recalls the 1983 fundraiser appearance in Richmond his fellow Bay Area comedian and longtime friend, Phyllis Diller, who died in Aug. 20 at 95.

The date way Saturday night, Oct. 2 1983.
It was a big comedy night sponsored by the Brookside Medical Center in San Pablo and was held at the Richmond Auditorium to an overflow crowd.
Many stars showed up to roast yours truly and the biggest star there way my longtime personal and professional friend, the late Phyllis Diller.
And she didn’t stop with the one Richmond visit. She came back to the Richmond Auditorium two years later to do her one-woman show with singer Kay Starr for another Brookside-sponsored, sold-out performance.
When Phyllis passed away last month at 95, it ended one of my longest and closest relationships with another performer.
I met Phyllis when I first started playing the Purple Onion in San Francisco. She was the headliner and we became very close friends, which encompassed over 55 years.
We worked together many times in clubs and on television and maintained a long personal relationship with her family and mine over the years.
She was truly a comedy legend and I will miss her.

Posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Under: Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »

Chevron Richmond refinery fire as it happened


Posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »

Free apple and cherry trees will be distributed Tuesday in Richmond

Fruit trees. Tomorrow. Distributed 5-6 p.m. Tuesday in the parking lot at Civic Center Plaza on Macdonald Avenue.
Free.
The trees are being given out by the group Self-Sustaining Communities (www.self-sustainingcommunities.org), which has distributed almost 10,000 trees in the East Bay since 2009.
Most recently, there were 400 trees handed out at Richmond’s compost giveaway on Saturday.
The group was started in El Cerrito and is now based in Richmond and most of the trees have been directed to low-income communities in West Contra Costa as a way to help people provide for themselves.
The trees are donated by growers in the Central Valley.
This time there are no qualifications and almost 900 trees that need homes and may bear nutritional fruit with the proper care.
Here is the announcement from group founder Linda Schneider.

We were unexpectedly given 1308 apple and cherry trees, somewhat at the last minute. They are all bare root.

They are Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji apples, and Bing, Rainier, Van and Brooks cherries.

Thanks to Jennifer Ly with the City of Richmond, Eduardo Martinez and Tony Wolcott, 400 trees total were given out Saturday with the compost giveaway.

The City is having another giveaway between 5:00 and 6:30 in front of the Richmond City Hall, in the parking lot, tomorrow, Tuesday. Because we have so many, and time is of the essence, we would like to get these out as quickly as possible.

This will be open to all — the goal being we want as much local food and greening throughout entire neighborhoods as possible, and because it also creates meaningful social activity and community. These are not for resale or business.

Thank you so very much.

Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
Under: El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Pinole, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo | No Comments »

West Contra Costa Science Fair award winners

The 55th annual West Contra Costa Science Fair awards ceremony was held Feb. 9 at Contra Costa College in San Pablo.
Of the 186 entrants, 65 middle school and 16 high school students won a total of 88 awards.
The eight West Contra Costa Unified schools participating in the fair were Juan Crespi, Lavonya Dejean, Helms, and Portola Middle Schools, Elizabeth Stewart and Mira Vista K-8 Schools, as well as El Cerrito and Pinole Valley High Schools. There were about 50 judges participating from the Alameda County CA Superior Court, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Chevron Corporation, Chevron Oronite, Cisco, Contra Costa College, CSU Northridge, Northwestern University, Synopsys Outreach Foundation, UC Berkeley, UC Extension, USDA Western Regional Research Center, and the West Contra Costa Unified School District. The judges evaluated the projects in the categories of Behavioral, Biological, and Physical Sciences for seventh through twelfth grades.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, February 20th, 2012
Under: El Cerrito, Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Schools | 2 Comments »

Richard Bean and Sapo perform “Suavecito” in San Pablo in 2009

San Pablo and its music promoter, Kentara Padron, have staged some nice events in the past few years, including the summer series on 23rd Street this year and the annual Fourth of July celebration at the El Portal soccer field.
Here is video of two numbers by Sapo, featuring Richard Bean, composer of the radio classic “Suavecito,” originally recorded by Malo. The video here has an early number, followed by an elongated and much more rocking version of the the original hit.

Posted on Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
Under: San Pablo | No Comments »

Richmond: Watch the reenactment of the launch of the SS Red Oak Victory

Richmond Councilman Tom Butt introduces former Rosie and retired teacher Marian Sauer, a 91-year-old Richmond native, chosen to play the wife of the mayor of Red Oak, Iowa in the reenactment Friday of the launch of the Red Oak Victory in 1944. Nov. 11, 2011.
Marian Sauer is a 1937 Richmond Union High School graduate who worked during the war at the Standard Oil of California refinery in Richmond.
A former music teacher, she is still active playing the weekly tea dance at the senior center in San Pablo with the Huey White Show Band.
The Regional Oral History Office at UC Berkeley conducted a 2002 interview with Sauer (scroll down) on her experiences before and after the war and her experiences playing in an all-woman swing band.

Richmond Councilman Tom Butt and Marian Sauer at the relaunching ceremony for the SS Red Oak Victory on Veterans Day.

Posted on Friday, November 11th, 2011
Under: Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »

Halloween festivities for all ages set in West County

Here is a roundup of Halloween events in West County:

East Bay Waldorf School presents Wanderers’ Way, a seasonal event on Friday that will take children 10 and under and their families on a journey through the decorated grounds of the school at 3800 Clark Road in El Sobrante.

A guide will take visitors (no scary costumes, please) on the pumpkin-lit paths to see storytellers, fanciful creatures, and ethereal music, with small treasures offered along the way to children and refreshments available at the end.

The tour is $5 per person over age 2. Guided groups leave every 10 minutes from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and reservations are required. To reserve a time slot, call 510-223-3570, ext. 2101.

* Children age 4 to 7 can come in costume to the Hercules Halloween Fest from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday at the Teen Center, for a non-scary tour of the haunted house, followed by arts and crafts, activities, games, and more. Admission is $7 (residents) or $21 for a family of four. Proceeds benefit the Hercules Teen Youth Council.

* Weigh of Life is hosting Spooky Fun Raiser at 6 p.m. Friday at the Veterans Hall, 968 23rd St. in Richmond. The evening includes food, a DJ, performance and dancing. Proceeds from the $45 admission benefit Weigh of Life, a program promoting fitness and healthy eating in underserved communities. Details: 510-323-3052.

* San Pablo Recreation will hold its free Haunted House and Pumpkin Patch from 6:30 to
8:30 p.m. Friday at Davis Park, 1665 Folsom Ave. Brave visitors can walk through the Chamber of Doom, and all ages are welcome at the Pumpkin Patch for storytelling, crafts, face painting, and more. Details: 510-215-3204

* The Pinole Youth Foundation presents its Halloween Carnival and Haunted House from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Fernandez Park, 595 Tennent Ave. Along with the free costume parade and crafts there will be jumpers, face painting, balloons and carnival games for a fee, with proceeds benefiting youth programs. A mega pass is available for $5.

* Richmond presents its Hauntatorium from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Memorial Auditorium, 403 Civic Center. Admission for those who dare to step inside to find Pumpkin Face is $5. A less-scary matinee version for children 10 and under is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

* An Adult Costume Ball will be held by Richmond PAL at its Hal Holt Gymnasium, 2200 Macdonald Ave., from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday. The gala evening will feature dancing, appetizers, drinks, games and prizes for best costumes. For tickets call 510-621-1221.

* El Cerrito’s Halloween Carnival and Haunted House is 2:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane. The carnival will have games and prizes for all ages, with ticket sales ending at 6:30 p.m.
The Haunted House (admission $4) has a preschool, lights-on version from 3 to 5 p.m. and the scary, lights-off version from 5:15 to 7 p.m. Affordable food and beverages will be sold.

Canines can get in on the fun at the third annual Dog Parade and Costume Contest at 5 p.m. at Cerrito Vista Park at Moeser Lane and Pomona Avenue. Admission is $5 and there will prizes for entrants and winners.

* Downtown Rhythm and DVC Rock Rhythm and Review headline the Halloween Dance Fundraiser at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pinole Senior Center, 2500 Charles Ave. Come in costumes or casual/night club attire for an evening includes a cash bar. For tickets send an email to mickeyconnors@sbcglobal.net.

* Come in costume to a Halloween Bike About Town starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Solano Avenue Cyclery, 1554 Solano Ave. in Albany. The Recreation Department and Albany Strollers & Rollers will lead an eerie ride around town in the dark and a limited number of front bike lights will be available for free, first come first served. At ride’s end a vote will be held for best bike-theme costume and best costumed family.

* County Supervisor John Gioia invites families to trick or treat at his office, 11780 San Pablo Ave., Suite D in El Cerrito, this week for alternatives to candy and other sugary sweets.
During open hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed noon to 1 p.m.) this week, A sample bag will be distributed, one per household, while supplies last. For details contact Luz Gomez at 510-374-3231 or Luz.Gomez@bos.cccounty.us.

* The dental office of Dr. Linh Cao-Chan will hold a Halloween Candy Buy Back from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Nov. 2 at 10110 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito. The office will pay $1 per pound of unopened candy “and throw in a goody bag with good stuff for teeth.”

Collected candy will be donated to Operation Gratitude (www.operationgratitude.com) to send to troops overseas, and donations of other care package items are welcome. Details: 510-526-4747.

Posted on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
Under: Albany, El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »