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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Oakland in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Liberty Hall

 
 
Liberty Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 24, 2014
1. Liberty Hall Marker
Inscription. Built in 1877, Liberty Hall embodies the many layers of West Oakland history. It is an outstanding example of mid-Victorian commercial architecture, with octagonal turrets, ornamental brackets and window hoods. It was operated as the Western Market by its original owner Harry A. Zeiss, who lived upstairs, and later by another German family, that of Johan Breiling. Early West Oakland was famed as a “melting pot” with large, strong ethnic communities, among them German, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Slavic, and African-American. In 1925 Oakland Branch No. 188 of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) bought the market building and renamed it Liberty Hall after their headquarters in Harlem. The largest mass movement of African-Americans in history, the UNIA had over 1.000 chapters in 40 countries. In Oakland its membership grew to over 500. Garvey believed African-Americans could achieve economic power by owning their businesses. In the mid-1930s Liberty Hall was used by the Peace Mission of Father Divine, an African-American minister who organized 160 mission throughout the country. The Oakland Peace Mission offered Depression-era banquets for a few pennies per meal, a dormitory, and a furniture repair shop in the now demolished stable. The movement began to decline after the start of World War II, but
Liberty Hall and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 24, 2014
2. Liberty Hall and Marker
the Oakland branch was listed in the telephone directory at this location until 1956. From the closing of the Peace Mission until the early 1970s, Liberty Hall was occupied by several African-American churches. By 1985 it was abandoned and scheduled to be demolished. Through the vision and leadership of Sister Pat Sears, CSJ, Sister Joanna Bramble, CSJ and many others, Jubilee West bought and renovated Liberty Hall to house its services to the neighborhood. It became an Oakland Landmark in 1987 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
 
Erected by Oakland Heritage Alliance. (Marker Number 107.)
 
Location. 37° 48.391′ N, 122° 17.732′ W. Marker is in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. Marker is at the intersection of 8th Steet and Chester Street, on the right when traveling east on 8th Steet. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1485 8th Street, Oakland CA 94607, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Music They Played on 7th Street (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Seventh Street (about 800 feet away); Food & Ships (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Pardee House
Liberty Hall image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 24, 2014
3. Liberty Hall
(approx. one mile away); First Unitarian Church of Oakland (approx. one mile away); Jefferson Square Park (approx. one mile away); Lafayette Square Timeline (approx. one mile away); Preservation Park (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oakland.
 
Also see . . .
1. Western Market Building - Oakland Wiki. Liberty Hall has been in the news lately, as the building was facing foreclosure. Ayori Selassie is the head of a group that has been fighting to fight the foreclosure and a group recently bought the building. (Submitted on March 4, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 

2. Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association - National Humanities Center. Proclaiming a black nationalist "Back to Africa" message, Garvey and the UNIA established 700 branches in thirty-eight states by the early 1920s. While chapters existed in the larger urban areas such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Garvey's message reached into small towns across the country as well. (Submitted on March 4, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. African Americans
 
Liberty Hall image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 24, 2014
4. Liberty Hall
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 4, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 397 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 4, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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